If the idea of living a Zen, stress-free life, gaining muscle strength and improving flexibility sound appealing, yoga classes may be the way to go as part of your healthy living lifestyle.
Yoga, like other exercise classes, is a great way to stay motivated through a group setting, especially if you make friends who attend the same sessions as you. This practice is always beneficial if you're looking for a total body workout while also increasing flexibility in your muscles.
Whether you've been a practicing yogi for a while or you're just getting started, following these tips will help ensure that you get the most out of each class you attend:
Set an intention: Yoga is as much a mental exercise as it is a physical one. It can be beneficial to set an intention at the start of each class, giving you a goal to work toward with each pose. The instructor may set a group intention, but always feel free to choose one for yourself as well. This can be as simple as "be kind," "think about gratitude" or "stay focused." Whatever you need for that class, making it known will help you achieve it. Perhaps you really beat yourself up after your last session because you couldn't master a pose. This time, be intent on being kinder to yourself, especially when you get to more challenging asanas.
Take it easy: Whether you're new or experienced, there are certain poses that will always create a challenge for you. It's important not to push yourself too far or you risk injury. Instead, try taking it easy and allow yourself to gradually come into a pose. Eventually, something will click and you'll be able to conquer it and move on to another exercise. Until then, don't stress out about your inability because yoga shouldn't be a competition, whether it's internal or with your classmates.
But continue to challenge yourself: While it is important to take it slow, especially in the beginning, it's also necessary to feel like each workout is a challenge. The only way to see results is to put pressure on your body and force it to adapt. If you feel comfortable attempting a more complicated version of a pose, go for it. You just might surprise yourself!
Use your breathing: A large part of yoga is using your breath as you move through each pose, as well as connecting the motion to the breath. Focusing on inhaling and exhaling helps calm you down and reduces stress levels, so you leave class feeling much better than when you walked in. It can also help you work through tougher portions of the workout. If you breathe through challenges, it can make them easier and you may be able to push yourself further than last time.
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