Yoga complements any other health care and exercise system and those that choose to practice yoga find many benefits, including stress relief, pain relief, better breathing, flexibility, strength, weight management, improved circulation, cardiovascular conditioning, focus on the present moment and inner peace.
Yoga is a big part of my life; I’ve been practicing for many years and teaching for the last 10. I went to my first yoga class aged 12 with a friend of my mum’s to help with the back pains I was experiencing and I never looked back! I found out later that I was suffering from scoliosis (curvature of the spine), I managed this with Yoga and it never got any worse thanks to the strength training Yoga provides. I’ve found that it gives a sense of well-being and calm that has helped me with many difficult phases in my life, as I’m not naturally a calm person.
Are all Yoga Classes the Same?
Not at all! Over the years, I’ve attended many different classes, with many different styles of yoga and found that they all have their place at one point or another during our lives. Personally, when I’ve lived through various phases of my life, I craved a more meditative practice, such as Yin Yoga, and some where I needed the fiery and intensity of Ashtanga Vinyasa. When preparing for and recovering from childbirth, I needed a good steady Hatha practice with my lovely teacher, Mary Rosier. I managed the birth of my 2 children with minimum pain relief, thanks to better stamina and breathing techniques acquired from a solid yoga practice.
The three styles that I practice and teach are:
Ashtanga Vinyasa is fast, energetic, demanding and moderate to challenging in intensity. Emphasis is placed on the movement sequences; we do the main postures, designed to progressively stretch and strengthen the body, after warming the muscles with a flowing sequence called the Sun Salutations. Postures are executed with great attention to core stability, mental focus and breath.
Yoga Flow is similar to Ashtanga Vinyasa, but much less dynamic and more "chilled out"! It is gentle to moderate in intensity, though those with more energy can work harder and those with less energy will be shown more gentle options. I tend to practice this if I’m feeling less energetic or need a calmer practice.
Yin Yoga (the gentle path) is from the Taoist tradition for releasing the lower back and hips in very gentle postures which are held much longer than in Flow.
What are the benefits of Yoga?
When practiced regularly, the benefits of Yoga are long-lasting and include all components of fitness, such as increased energy, lung capacity, strength, stamina, flexibility, posture correction, bone strength and a greater resistance to injury. In addition to the physical benefits, it has many benefits for reducing stress and anxiety; it helps improve sleep patterns and to generally cope better with life. It hasn’t turned me into Mother Teresa, but I’m much more in tune with my body, emotions and mind than when I don’t have a steady yoga practice. In fact I’d be a holistic wreck without yoga!
Is this Ashtanga Yoga suitable for everyone?
Working through conditions and injury like….
…you would benefit from a more gentle practice, like Yoga Flow or Yin.
Why not try the Yoga Flow? This has the benefits of Ashtanga, is less intense and is suitable for all abilities.
Connie Chapman - Yogamill Studio, Sowerby Bridge.
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