Inspiring Yoga Class
On Friday our teacher Elizabeth held a yoga class. Many students were excited about it and signed up.
Yoga is a group of physical, mental, and spiritual practices or disciplines which originated in ancient India and aim to control (yoke) and still the mind, recognizing a detached witness-consciousness untouched by the mind (Chitta) and mundane suffering (Duḥkha).
For many people, learning yoga postures is about getting fit and in shape. While there are undeniable physical benefits to yoga, the true purpose of yoga goes far beyond losing weight, putting on muscle or becoming flexible. Yoga postures, or asanas, have a much deeper impact on you.
“If you observe yourself, when you are angry, you sit one way. If you are happy, you sit another way. If you are depressed, another way. For every level of consciousness or mental and emotional situation you go through, your body tends to take certain postures. The converse of this is the science of asanas. If you consciously get your body into different postures, you can elevate your consciousness. Understanding the mechanics of the body, creating a certain atmosphere, and using the body to drive your energy in specific directions is what yogasanas are about.” – Sadhguru
Yoga offers tremendous possibilities, but it also demands discipline and precision. Improper yoga could cause more harm than benefit. Those looking for basic yoga asanas, may want to begin with what is called Upa Yoga (literally pre-yoga) which comprises of easy yoga postures for beginners that give you physical and mental benefits.
How to Practice Yoga:
Yoga is typically performed in bare feet on a sticky yoga mat with optional yoga props. The yoga movements and poses require clothes that can stretch and move freely with your body. You can purchase clothing specifically designed for yoga practice, but you can probably put together a comfortable outfit from your existing wardrobe to get started.
Yoga classes may use additional props, the most common being straps, blocks, blankets, and bolsters. You don’t need to purchase these right away as you can easily substitute these items with scarves or neckties, a stack of books, and pillows. If you take classes at a yoga studio, they will provide everything that you need.
Three Yoga positions for beginners:
1. Cat and Cow
One of the most essential and easiest yoga poses for a beginner to learn is cat pose and cow pose. It involves moving the spine from a rounded position (flexion) to an arched one (extension). Each movement is done in conjunction with either an inhalation or exhalation of the breath, making this a simple vinyasa (linking breath to movement).
2. Easy Pose
Easy Pose — Sukhasana — is a basic seated yoga posture. It is depicted in some of the oldest images of ancient yogis in India, some of which are at least 2,000 years old. Also sometimes called “Simple Cross-Legged Pose,” Sukhasana is intended to be comfortable and calming.
3. Downward-facing Dog
Downward Facing Dog stretches the hamstrings and calves, and it strengthens the arms and legs. The pose also helps increase the strength of the external oblique abdominal muscles.
Three Benefits of Yoga
1. Increased muscle strength and tone
Those who practice yoga are actually quite strong. Society today thinks that that only pumping iron along with a heavy cardiovascular workout will give you strength. But the control needed in the various combinations of poses, or when you use straps, bolsters, and balls are just as toning and strength building, as weights because with yoga you are often holding your weight. With regular training, and being able to keep yourself in positions, you will strengthen the muscles in your core, back, arms and legs.
2. Increased flexibility
Practicing yoga increases your flexibility. You are essentially stretching your muscles, the more you stretch, the longer they become. Most people will be aware that a tight muscle is an angry muscle. Stretching and having the ability to elongate the muscle is very beneficial. It frees up tension and blood flow, reduced the risk of a headache or stress and increases your range of motion. These exercises also do not overwork the muscle as it is primarily about repetition and control. With regular practice, you will see improvement in your flexibility.
3. Energy levels
As far as the body’s energy levels go, if you are low on a hormone called Cortisol, then you are low on energy. What is so impressive about yoga is that it can actually help to increase Cortisol levels, which then reduce fatigue. Practicing yoga is essentially detoxing the body through exercise. When you stretch the muscles you are massaging your internal organs, rinsing toxins from the body. Your energy levels are boosted straight away, is receiving new oxygen and revitalizing your body on the whole.
If you want to learn more about yoga click here.
Learn English in Byron Bay. Lexis English students study General English, IELTS, FCE, CAE, and English plus Surfing in a friendly and professional school right in the heart of Byron Bay and only 15 minutes from the beach.