More people than ever before, from all walks of life, and across all age groups are realizing the benefits of a regular yoga practice.
A thriving industry, the data reveals significant growth. Nearly 37 million people in the US alone are attending yoga classes, and the numbers continue to increase. Up from 20 million in 2012, interest in yoga has nearly doubled in just a few years. To put the numbers into perspective, this correlates to about one in ten people attending yoga classes.
Along with this growth comes a wider variety of classes offered at studios and gyms across the country. As a master yoga instructor I am regularly asked by family, friends, and strangers alike, how to choose a yoga class.
If you are new to yoga, you will find that you have many options to choose from. With so many styles of yoga and varieties of hybrid classes being offered, selecting the best one for you will be a personal choice.
Classes that are labeled beginner, basic, or gentle are generally suitable for all and a great place to start. To get the most benefit and enjoyment, it’s important to try different classes to see what suits your fitness level and goals.
At first, you may not even know what you’re looking for until you try several different classes. Be mindful of how your body feels during and after class; paying attention to the emotional and physical aspects you experience. The best indicator of a good fit is that you will be excited to attend the class again.
The individual teacher will have as much to do with your level of comfort as the yoga class itself. It’s important to tune into and listen to your inner voice and decide if they are a good fit for you.
Every teacher will have their own unique style based on their personality, fitness background, and with whom they trained. Look for someone you can relate to. Choose someone who inspires you and encourages you, someone who has an understanding and compassion for where you are in your journey to well-being.
A genuine teacher does not seek to impress you with their greatness, but impress upon you that you possess the skills to discover your own.
Yoga encourages involvement in your own healing and offers many vital physical and mental health benefits. Some physical gains, like increased energy and circulation, better posture and muscle control, and improved balance and coordination are noticeably evident. Other mental health benefits, such as a reduction in stress levels, anxiety, and irritability; improved focus, creativity, and mood; elevated self-esteem, self-confidence, and self-control may be subtle but they are just as effective.
Yoga allows you to be who you are and gives you considerable control of how you interact with the world around you. Practiced regularly, you will experience steady growth; you will be blown away by how good your body feels and how your mindset shifts in a positive direction.
While this may seem like a no-brainer, the most important aspect of your practice is to attend the class! If the location of the studio, scheduling, or cost are going to keep you from attending regularly it will be difficult to receive the benefits of this ancient modality.
If you don’t have the time or the money to go to a studio or a gym to take a yoga class, it can easily be done in the comfort and privacy of your home. Try some different yoga styles by viewing DVD’s you can check out from your local library, watch one of the many shows on TV, or search online for free videos to follow along with.
With technology being what it is today, there’s no excuse for not being able to begin a yoga practice right in your own home.
When choosing a yoga class, it’s most important that you feel comfortable there. Be sure to select a teacher that is supportive and a class that is the appropriate level for you. As well, find a studio or gym that offers an inclusive atmosphere; you should be given the space to explore your practice without feeling judged.
Follow these guidelines on how to choose a yoga class and you’ll be well on your way to a happy and healthy practice.
I am a corporate wellness consultant. As a master yoga instructor, I support in-house wellness programs, seminars, trade shows and executive retreats. I help business leaders build and maintain physical and mental well-being. If you would like to learn more about offering a health and fitness program to your busy management team contact me at [email protected] or 386.871.0582
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