UNDERSTANDING YOGA By Jamie Isaac
Yoga is extremely popular in Fuerteventura and there are many places that specialise in different styles, including yoga on the beach. It has become a globally popular method of keeping fit and healthy whilst also achieving mental balance. Many fitness trends come and go, but this ancient art continues as strongly as ever. The origins of Yoga lie in the Hindu religion, but its ability to bring focus to the mind and promote wellbeing have led to it becoming popular within many religions and cultures across the world.
Hatha Yoga is the most commonly known and practiced style and is generally recognized as being the root to all other styles. However, these days you can choose from a variety of styles ranging from the esoteric Kundalini, to the more dynamic and powerful yoga’s such as Ashtanga. You can even enjoy Hot yogas, Acro yogas, even Naked yoga, the secret is to find the style that works for you.
WHAT IS YOGA? – At the heart of yoga are poses of varying difficulty that are held called asanas. As well as helping with ailments these postures promote suppleness, flexibility, endurance and strength, as well as improving concentration. Pranayama, or control of the breath, is essential to progressing in yoga, and this brings the calming and focused effect.
GETTING STARTED – Find an experienced instructor to guide you safely and bring an open mind with you. A lot of people have the wrong idea, and think it is hippies sitting in lotus pose chanting. Actually there is something for everyone and whatever your level of fitness or spiritual beliefs, there is a style of yoga that will suit. Try a few classes, and look for an instructor lights your yogic fire!
THE BENEFITS – You’ll feel an improvement to your overall health and resistance to disease and sickness, as well as improved flexibility, strength, suppleness and endurance. Yoga can give you a refuge from stress, and the benefits are as much in the mind as in the body, and those who practice will often stand out by their air of serene calmness, lack of worries and philosophical outlook on life.
THE BASICS – The practice of yoga involves the combining of postures and movement with breath. The breathing promotes tranquillity and the ‘mind over matter’ attitude that is at the heart of many Eastern exercise regimes. Even if you’re sceptical about the theories of energy flow and chakras, get started and you can learn this as you progress.
The most well recognized pose is the lotus position, but other poses include the half lotus, the cobra, the cow, the tree and the corpse. Each pose is accompanied by a breathing technique and the two should be practiced together. When learning the guidance of a trained teacher will be invaluable, as simple mistakes in posture are easy to make and can cause injury. Once you have learnt the asanas, you can then practice them at home.
The following guidelines are worth bearing in mind before starting a yoga session:
· Empty stomach – leave 2 hours without eating before your class.
· Listen to your body – Yoga takes practice, so only go as far as your body is able.
· Control the breath – The benefits of the asanas increase if the correct pranayama (breathing technique) is used.
· If your body feels stress or fatigue, perform the corpse pose.
· Keep an open mind -. You’ll be surprised at what you are able to achieve.
· Pack a towel -You’ll be surprised at how yoga can make you sweat!
· Be motivated – Find a teacher who encourages and inspires you,
· At the end of a session enjoy a deep final relaxation.
· Be present – turn off your phone and try and forget about your day to day worries.
· Get advice – listen to the professionals to avoid injury.