Yoga has been predominantly viewed as difficult or a trend for decades in the U.S. That couldn’t be farther from the truth.
Yoga is a practice that dates back to India in 2700 B.C.E. and spread across the globe as people realized the myriad of benefits it offers. As of today, yoga is the #7 top fitness trend in America, according to the American College of Sports Medicine.
It is common for people to think that yoga is difficult or that you have to be very healthy or fit to practice yoga. Neither of those are true.
If you are wanting to try yoga, no matter what age you are, what your weight is or for whatever reason, you should. It doesn’t matter if you’re above your ideal weight, not very flexible or even feel like you aren’t strong enough. With one of our yoga classes, you get to do it at your own pace.
More about the class
Yoga is more than just a fitness class. The word “yoga” means means “unity” or “yoke” in the Sanskrit language. For centuries, yoga has been practiced as a way to be mindful and live well.
Traditional yoga is made up of eight practices (though all eight are not generally practiced in the West):
Asana – The physical limb which means “seat” or “pose”.
Yamas – Social principles such as “do no harm”
Niyamas – Philosophical principles for self-care, like cleanliness and observing your thinking habits
Pranayama – Intentional breathing practices
Pratyahara – Withdrawing to your inner self
Dharana – effortful concentration on the path to meditation
Dhyana – Concentration becomes more effortless and soft
Samadhi – Meditation, stillness, and connection to the universe
Of course, yoga has been adapted and comes in many forms in the American gym. Typically, you can find introductory classes that will help get started more easily.
What to expect in a yoga class
A class will generally start with poses that help you connect with your breath and your intentions. These can be breathing or mindfulness exercises, as well as ones to get your body ready for the workout.
Then, you’ll move through different poses and sequences of poses, often repeated.
Most people will arrange their mats in rows. This helps to ensure there is room for everyone. So, take note of how others are placing their mats before you get on yours.
As the class progresses, you may find that you aren’t able to fully do each pose. This is common and will improve over time with practice. So, it isn’t anything you should be stressed about.
If there is a physical reason you’re unable to do certain poses, just talk with the instructor. They will be able to provide advice on how you can modify poses to suit your needs.
Once class is over, you will most likely be a little sore. This is natural. Yoga will work muscles that you aren’t used to working. However, if you have pain in your joints or ligaments, you may have injured yourself. You should have a doctor look at it.
Feelings of intimidation or anxiety are actually counter to what yoga is meant to help you accomplish. So, if you feel things like that, try to focus on letting go of self judgement. Give yourself permission to do this new thing and accept that mastery comes with time and practice.
Before your first yoga class
Choose clothes that are comfortable and form-fitting. You’re going to need to be able to move easily, so leggings and comfortable, form-fitting t-shirt is fine. Also, you’ll not need special shoes, as yoga is performed barefoot or with rubber sole socks.
Make sure you introduce yourself to the instructor. If you’ll let them know that it’s your first time, they’ll be able to guide you.
Bring a yoga mat, towel and a bottle of water to stay hydrated.
Most yoga classes will be places of peace and quiet. So, leave your phone outside or silence it.
Be on time, so as not to interrupt the quiet or class flow once started.
Ask questions if you’re unsure about how to do something. If you educate yourself, you’ll not only get more benefit, but you’ll also have a much better experience at home practice and in class.
Have a look at the class schedules for our 5 Knoxville locations to see when a yoga class is available.