Thursday, February 7, 2013

Getting Started with Yoga

by Daisy Villa

Yoga has been around for over 5,000 years and is gaining worldwide popularity. People are seeking out yoga classes and buying DVDs and books about this ancient discipline and exercise. The translation of yoga is to “join,” “yoke” or “union” of mind, body and spirit. Yoga includes the postures or asanas, meditation, breathing techniques and philosophy.

What considerations should a person have when starting yoga?

It is interesting that before a person begins yoga, one thinks about physical goals, one’s physical condition and even how much time to allocate to practicing yoga. When I started yoga, I thought about these considerations. But as I began my practice, none of these things seemed important after a while because yoga became an important part of my lifestyle. I was dedicated to attend classes and before I knew it, I realized physical, emotional and spiritual benefits.

Should you have a physical exam before you start yoga?

A physical exam will give you useful information whether yoga is right for you. Once you have the peace of mind that yoga is a discipline in line with your physical condition, you can continue cultivating self-awareness and your inner self.

Make sure you make your yoga teacher aware of any physical limitations. A yoga teacher will be able to provide modifications to a student’s routine and practice. This medical information will help you to avoid any injuries.

Should you learn yoga at home or go to classes?

While DVDs and books abound about yoga, it is important to work with a good teacher. A good teacher will be able to refine postures or asanas, meditation and breathing techniques.

Nothing substitutes for human interaction. Research yoga classes that are available in your community before making a final decision.

Choosing the right yoga teacher is important. The right yoga teacher:

* Talks to you and other students with mutual respect.

* Allows students to feel at ease to ask questions.

* Does not show an air of superiority.

* Assists students with problems of alignment and posture form.

* Is able to give verbal cues during practice.

* Does not act dogmatic.

* Is not overly concerned with power, fame or money.

* Should have certified teacher training.

* Should embody qualities of compassion, peace, kindness, joy and equality. Even though we are all at various stages of our personal physical and spiritual journey, it helps to look at a teacher’s ethics and character.

* Beware of a teacher who watches the clock and just wants to get the practice done.

There are different styles and types of yoga. Hatha yoga is the most popular today. Some other types and styles that are gaining popularity are Ashtanga, Kundalini, Iyengar and Bikram. Try different classes before deciding on the style of yoga you feel matches your needs and wants.

When choosing a yoga teacher or class, it is important to pay attention to your good judgment and intuition. Not every class or teacher will meet your needs, even if others find a teacher or class just right for them. Some teachers are more nurturing than others. Some focus more on spiritual aspects of yoga. Some perform adjustments during a practice. And some are overly zealous. It is important to listen to your body and know that not all yoga training is equal. And not all teachers are equal in all areas.

As you continue yoga, you will probably find that you may want to take from different teachers or move from your first teacher to another.

Never feel that you are disloyal if you want to expand or move on. Remember, yoga is about your personal growth.

Daisy Villa is a certified Yoga Teacher  by YogaSteps LLC

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