Yoga Basics

Reviewed Feb 24, 2017

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Summary

  • Basic types: hatha and ashtanga (power) yoga
  • Find an experienced instructor.
  • Check with your doctor first.

Perhaps you’ve heard that yoga is great for the mind and body. It is. In addition to increased strength and flexibility, the benefits of yoga include improved:

  • Sleep
  • Stress management
  • Mood
  • Chronic health conditions
  • Eating habits and weight management

For one or more of these reasons, you may consider trying a class. The following information can help you choose a class and get started.

Types of yoga

Before taking a class, it helps to know what to expect. There are several types of yoga. Most yoga classes fall under the heading of either hatha or ashtanga yoga.

Hatha yoga

When people think “yoga”, they generally picture what the hatha style offers. Hatha classes typically involve a slow-paced series of poses that you hold with your body, focusing on correct alignment and controlled breathing. John Piller, mind/body director at the ACAC health club in Charlottesville, Va., recommends hatha yoga for beginners because of its gentle pace and the static nature of the movements involved. Piller, a certified yoga instructor with more than 10 years of experience, also advises someone new to yoga to look for introductory or beginner classes.

Under the heading of hatha classes, you may notice the option of iyengar yoga. Iyengar classes add to the poses the use of props, such as belts and blocks, to assist the postures.

Ashtanga yoga

Ashtanga yoga, also called power yoga, involves a fast-moving series of complicated postures. This type of yoga offers a full body workout. It is often performed in a very warm room to help keep the muscles warm. Piller suggests that you observe an ashtanga yoga class before you venture into one, to see if you think it’s right for you.
 
Finding a class

Once you’ve decided which style of yoga you’d like to try, it’s time to locate a class. Look in your phonebook and online to see whether classes are offered that suit your schedule and your budget. Some places to try are:

  • Local gyms and health clubs
  • Private studios
  • Spas
  • Community recreation programs

Another way you might eventually enjoy yoga is with a video or book, but beginners should train first with an experienced instructor. The instructor can help correct your form and decrease the risk of injury.

When you look for classes, make sure you know what, if any, equipment you will need. Some programs may require you to bring your own mat, for example.

Yoga instructors

Your choice of instructor will be limited to who is available at times and locations that are convenient to you. If you have the luxury of shopping around for a yoga class, look for an instructor who:

  • Has experience
  • Teaches a class you enjoy and that leaves you feeling both energized and calm
  • Addresses your questions and concerns
  • Is certified, if that is important to you (most health clubs require at least a group exercise instructor certification for their fitness teachers, although not necessarily a yoga instructor certification)

Exercise cautions

Before you try yoga, keep a few things in mind. As safe as yoga generally is, it is not for everyone. Certain conditions may make many versions of exercise not right for you, including yoga. Check with your doctor before starting yoga.

You also need to know that even the gentlest hatha yoga class may have poses and movements that you simply cannot do at first. Be patient and allow yourself time to become stronger and more flexible. Never force a yoga pose! Ask your instructor for suggestions, modifications, or alternative moves. In time you will see great improvement.

Piller applauds you for adding something so beneficial to your total wellbeing—what he considers “the best exercise you will find that brings a physical, mental, and spiritual balance to your being.” 

Resource

Yoga Journal
www.yogajournal.com

By Laurie M. Stewart
Source: John Piller, certified yoga teacher and mind-body director, ACAC, Charlottesville, VA; Yoga 4 Beginners; "Yoga Styles Overview", Yoga Online; "Yoga: Fight Stress and Find Serenity", Mayo Clinic, www.mayoclinic.com/health/yoga/CM00004

Summary

  • Basic types: hatha and ashtanga (power) yoga
  • Find an experienced instructor.
  • Check with your doctor first.

Perhaps you’ve heard that yoga is great for the mind and body. It is. In addition to increased strength and flexibility, the benefits of yoga include improved:

  • Sleep
  • Stress management
  • Mood
  • Chronic health conditions
  • Eating habits and weight management

For one or more of these reasons, you may consider trying a class. The following information can help you choose a class and get started.

Types of yoga

Before taking a class, it helps to know what to expect. There are several types of yoga. Most yoga classes fall under the heading of either hatha or ashtanga yoga.

Hatha yoga

When people think “yoga”, they generally picture what the hatha style offers. Hatha classes typically involve a slow-paced series of poses that you hold with your body, focusing on correct alignment and controlled breathing. John Piller, mind/body director at the ACAC health club in Charlottesville, Va., recommends hatha yoga for beginners because of its gentle pace and the static nature of the movements involved. Piller, a certified yoga instructor with more than 10 years of experience, also advises someone new to yoga to look for introductory or beginner classes.

Under the heading of hatha classes, you may notice the option of iyengar yoga. Iyengar classes add to the poses the use of props, such as belts and blocks, to assist the postures.

Ashtanga yoga

Ashtanga yoga, also called power yoga, involves a fast-moving series of complicated postures. This type of yoga offers a full body workout. It is often performed in a very warm room to help keep the muscles warm. Piller suggests that you observe an ashtanga yoga class before you venture into one, to see if you think it’s right for you.
 
Finding a class

Once you’ve decided which style of yoga you’d like to try, it’s time to locate a class. Look in your phonebook and online to see whether classes are offered that suit your schedule and your budget. Some places to try are:

  • Local gyms and health clubs
  • Private studios
  • Spas
  • Community recreation programs

Another way you might eventually enjoy yoga is with a video or book, but beginners should train first with an experienced instructor. The instructor can help correct your form and decrease the risk of injury.

When you look for classes, make sure you know what, if any, equipment you will need. Some programs may require you to bring your own mat, for example.

Yoga instructors

Your choice of instructor will be limited to who is available at times and locations that are convenient to you. If you have the luxury of shopping around for a yoga class, look for an instructor who:

  • Has experience
  • Teaches a class you enjoy and that leaves you feeling both energized and calm
  • Addresses your questions and concerns
  • Is certified, if that is important to you (most health clubs require at least a group exercise instructor certification for their fitness teachers, although not necessarily a yoga instructor certification)

Exercise cautions

Before you try yoga, keep a few things in mind. As safe as yoga generally is, it is not for everyone. Certain conditions may make many versions of exercise not right for you, including yoga. Check with your doctor before starting yoga.

You also need to know that even the gentlest hatha yoga class may have poses and movements that you simply cannot do at first. Be patient and allow yourself time to become stronger and more flexible. Never force a yoga pose! Ask your instructor for suggestions, modifications, or alternative moves. In time you will see great improvement.

Piller applauds you for adding something so beneficial to your total wellbeing—what he considers “the best exercise you will find that brings a physical, mental, and spiritual balance to your being.” 

Resource

Yoga Journal
www.yogajournal.com

By Laurie M. Stewart
Source: John Piller, certified yoga teacher and mind-body director, ACAC, Charlottesville, VA; Yoga 4 Beginners; "Yoga Styles Overview", Yoga Online; "Yoga: Fight Stress and Find Serenity", Mayo Clinic, www.mayoclinic.com/health/yoga/CM00004

Summary

  • Basic types: hatha and ashtanga (power) yoga
  • Find an experienced instructor.
  • Check with your doctor first.

Perhaps you’ve heard that yoga is great for the mind and body. It is. In addition to increased strength and flexibility, the benefits of yoga include improved:

  • Sleep
  • Stress management
  • Mood
  • Chronic health conditions
  • Eating habits and weight management

For one or more of these reasons, you may consider trying a class. The following information can help you choose a class and get started.

Types of yoga

Before taking a class, it helps to know what to expect. There are several types of yoga. Most yoga classes fall under the heading of either hatha or ashtanga yoga.

Hatha yoga

When people think “yoga”, they generally picture what the hatha style offers. Hatha classes typically involve a slow-paced series of poses that you hold with your body, focusing on correct alignment and controlled breathing. John Piller, mind/body director at the ACAC health club in Charlottesville, Va., recommends hatha yoga for beginners because of its gentle pace and the static nature of the movements involved. Piller, a certified yoga instructor with more than 10 years of experience, also advises someone new to yoga to look for introductory or beginner classes.

Under the heading of hatha classes, you may notice the option of iyengar yoga. Iyengar classes add to the poses the use of props, such as belts and blocks, to assist the postures.

Ashtanga yoga

Ashtanga yoga, also called power yoga, involves a fast-moving series of complicated postures. This type of yoga offers a full body workout. It is often performed in a very warm room to help keep the muscles warm. Piller suggests that you observe an ashtanga yoga class before you venture into one, to see if you think it’s right for you.
 
Finding a class

Once you’ve decided which style of yoga you’d like to try, it’s time to locate a class. Look in your phonebook and online to see whether classes are offered that suit your schedule and your budget. Some places to try are:

  • Local gyms and health clubs
  • Private studios
  • Spas
  • Community recreation programs

Another way you might eventually enjoy yoga is with a video or book, but beginners should train first with an experienced instructor. The instructor can help correct your form and decrease the risk of injury.

When you look for classes, make sure you know what, if any, equipment you will need. Some programs may require you to bring your own mat, for example.

Yoga instructors

Your choice of instructor will be limited to who is available at times and locations that are convenient to you. If you have the luxury of shopping around for a yoga class, look for an instructor who:

  • Has experience
  • Teaches a class you enjoy and that leaves you feeling both energized and calm
  • Addresses your questions and concerns
  • Is certified, if that is important to you (most health clubs require at least a group exercise instructor certification for their fitness teachers, although not necessarily a yoga instructor certification)

Exercise cautions

Before you try yoga, keep a few things in mind. As safe as yoga generally is, it is not for everyone. Certain conditions may make many versions of exercise not right for you, including yoga. Check with your doctor before starting yoga.

You also need to know that even the gentlest hatha yoga class may have poses and movements that you simply cannot do at first. Be patient and allow yourself time to become stronger and more flexible. Never force a yoga pose! Ask your instructor for suggestions, modifications, or alternative moves. In time you will see great improvement.

Piller applauds you for adding something so beneficial to your total wellbeing—what he considers “the best exercise you will find that brings a physical, mental, and spiritual balance to your being.” 

Resource

Yoga Journal
www.yogajournal.com

By Laurie M. Stewart
Source: John Piller, certified yoga teacher and mind-body director, ACAC, Charlottesville, VA; Yoga 4 Beginners; "Yoga Styles Overview", Yoga Online; "Yoga: Fight Stress and Find Serenity", Mayo Clinic, www.mayoclinic.com/health/yoga/CM00004

The information provided on the Achieve Solutions site, including, but not limited to, articles, quizzes, and other general information, is for informational purposes only and should not be treated as medical, health care, psychiatric, psychological or behavioral health care advice. Nothing contained on the Achieve Solutions site is intended to be used for medical diagnosis or treatment or as a substitute for consultation with a qualified health care professional. Please direct questions regarding the operation of the Achieve Solutions site to Web Feedback. If you have concerns about your health, please contact your health care provider.  ©2017 Beacon Health Options, Inc.

 

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