What to expect from a yoga class
Yoga is all about discovering more about you. Your interest in yoga can start from many places and you may have done none, very little, or lots before. Most people find that once they have the right teacher and continue to practice, they feel the benefits of other aspects, too. For example, you may start because you want to improve something physical like your strength or balance, but find yourself enjoying the reduction in stress that comes with it. I believe in exploring each student's needs, whatever their starting point, and helping them understand how to meet them.
The best way to find out if you like it is to to give it a try!
One class will give you a flavour, but I recommend trying at least 3 or 4 sessions to allow yourself time to get used to the physical postures and begin to see benefits.
Classes usually start and finish with a short period when we begin to withdraw from our usual daily concerns and sensations and concentrate on the internal world. Meditation is a skill that once mastered, can have profound beneficial effects for the physical body as well as the mind. Chanting, mantras or mandalas are sometimes used to enhance the experience.
Most people in the Western world think of the postures when yoga is mentioned and they form the larger part of most classes, including mine. Yoga poses have many physical benefits like increasing flexibility and strength and improving balance. They can help prevent injury or aid recovery. They can massage internal organs, improve tone and, just as mental states like stress can make us physically unwell, some poses can help overcome emotional problems.
pranayama - breathing
All classes include at least some element of breathing practice. We all associate different breathing patterns with emotions: a sharp intake of breath or a sigh of relief. In these cases the breath explains the emotion, but the opposite is also true since altering a breathing pattern can change the emotion we feel.
Conscious breathing control is a fundamental element of yoga and leads to chemical changes in the physical body with a range of different effects. This article explains more.