Getting healthy is top of mind this time of year. As we attempt to detox from the sweets and excesses that we often consume during the holiday season, popping into a yoga exercise class can be the solution to our post-holiday health quest. If you are considering adding a yoga exercise class to your fitness routine, you’re not alone. The practice of yoga has been growing worldwide. Check out some of the latest statistics on yoga practice trends:
- Between 2012 and 2016, yoga grew by 50% among Americans.
- Approximately 36 million Americans are currently practicing yoga (300 million worldwide).
- One in three Americans reports attending a yoga class at least once.
Choosing the right yoga exercise class can be confusing for the newbie yogi. No need to worry, it’s all packaged here in a quick guide for beginners or experienced yogis looking to branch out and try something new.
Yoga Exercise Classes Guide – Everything You Need to Know Before You Go
Yoga 101 – If you are completely new to yoga, you might naturally be wondering what to expect from a yoga class. Your first yoga exercise class, no matter which variety, will use breathwork and body postures called Asanas. This creates a connection between the mind and body. Yoga can help with flexibility, relieve sore muscles and joints as well as alleviate stress and other emotional conditions.
Yoga Exercise Class Names – Understanding the name of your yoga class will help you choose the exercise class that best fits your goals and fitness levels. So, let’s unpack some of the most common yoga class names.
- Gentle Yoga – Gentle yoga, as the name implies, moves at a gentle, easy pace. It would be a perfect choice for the yogi who is recovering from an injury, suffering from extreme stiffness or arthritis or a beginner who wants to develop a strong foundation for his or her yoga practice. They can do so by using breath and movement to increase flexibility, balance while reducing stress.
- Hatha Yoga – Hatha yoga uses the combination of the breath and poses or asanas to increase flexibility and strength. Meanwhile, movements and breathing also improve stress and mindfulness. Your hatha yoga class will move at a moderate to slow pace and is suitable for advanced, intermediate or beginner yoga practitioners.
- Yogilates – Yogilates combines hatha yoga practices with mat pilates for a complete body exercise class. Your yogilates session will work your core, improve your strength, increase flexibility and even help you de-stress. You’ll gain the best of yoga and the best of mat pilates all from one hour in this high intensity but low impact class.
- Vinyasa Yoga – Vinyasa yoga classes are choreographed flows that combine breathwork with physical movement. You’ll become physically stronger through your vinyasa yoga practice and connect your breath to the movement to offer a multitude of health benefits. This includes stress reduction to improved flexibility. Vinyasa is great for all levels, but come prepared to move and flow.
- Power Yoga – Power yoga is the perfect yoga exercise class for experienced, strong yogis looking to improve the physicality of their practice. During your power yoga session, you’ll hold poses longer, try challenging poses while stretching and strengthening your body.
- Chair Yoga – Chair yoga is the perfect yoga group class for those with limited mobility, poor balance or injuries. Using a chair as the foundation, the chair yoga class will move through yoga poses to help improve strength and create the mind-body connection through inner focus and breathwork.
How Yoga Can Affect You
Yoga exercise classes are an excellent choice for those who are seeking to get physically and mentally stronger. The practice of yoga can be traced back to its origins in Northern India over 5,000 years ago. The benefits of a consistent yoga practice impact many important areas of overall fitness and health. Adding a yoga exercise class to your fitness routine a few times per week can offer a multitude of benefits that include:
- Improved strength (especially in the core and the muscles that support the spine)
- Increased flexibility
- Better immune system
- Improved respiration, energy and vitality
- Increased in metabolism (which could lead to weight reduction)
- Cardio and circulatory health (including better lung capacity)
- Improved athletic performance
- Protection from injury
Yoga exercise has also been shown to improve mood, combat fatigue and even decrease depression and anxiety. For all these reasons and more, adding a routine yoga class to your schedule is more than just a good idea. It can change the quality of your life! Now that you speak the lingo, it will be easy to determine which yoga exercise class is perfect for your needs.
Book your yoga exercise class today with the YMCA of South Florida.