Yoga is the newest exercise discipline that I have chosen to study.
My first teacher was very encouraging and supportive. She taught all of the basic moves and over the course of a few months kept gradually adding to the repertoire of moves. She also came around and made adjustments which fixed my poses or helped me get deeper into a pose. Kristi Duke taught at my gym and referred me to other teachers and yoga studios that could offer me more advanced classes. I have had classes in very small, dark, candlelit dance studios where they turned up the heater and had a sauna environment. And I have been to serene studios with advanced teachers. As well as the classes at my gym where I started out and still go. Now I go to one of my teacher’s homes for semi-private lessons to further my practice. Two other good teachers I have been with are Leeza Snyder, Sara Vantuinen, Suzi Gill, and Steve Rogers.
For those new to yoga
Go buy a mat, at first they are kinda slippery, but once they are broken in they help stabilize you and give you a place to exercise that is portable and practical.
Buy pants or shorts that are loose and allow you to stretch out in every direction. I use martial arts pants, but many women wear stretch pants and an athletic top.
If you are not very limber than the blocks can help stabilize you in certain poses. I don’t use them now, but I have before and found them helpful for some of the twisted poses.
Don’t worry if a pose is too hard or challenging at first, just go back to child’s pose and wait for the next pose called out by your teacher. Or try a modified pose that allows you to stay in the modified version of the pose until you build strength or flexibility needed for that pose. There are still many poses that I cannot do, and others that I have learned over time. Just the attempt will help build your body towards a pose in the future. And as the teachers say the pose is not as important as the breathe.
The breath in and out the nose is the key to building strength and stability, and flow through each pose. If you stop breathing it is difficult to keep up with the class. If you concentrate on your breathing you will find that the poses get easier over time. The breath generates oxygen to the muscles and strength and endurance for your body.
Yoga has done a lot for my body. I have lost a couple inches around the waistline and I seem physically stronger, and my face looks better to me too. I think overall it has helped me trim my body and maintain a level of flexibility. I do other exercises as well, but yoga has a relaxation component to it that I do not find in other forms of exercise. Plus we always meditate at the end of class and that helps clear my mind of stress. And I know I can hold poses longer and in stronger positions than when I started so I am definitely changing my body chemistry, and muscular ability. Most of the teachers I have met have strong bodies, which I attribute to their yoga practice.
by Ronald Panlilio 1996