Yoga is an exercise practice which involves a series of postures and stretches which build strength and flexibility. The word yoga translates as union, a reference to the connection between mind and body which come from a yoga class.


Many practice yoga to build their stamina and strength but also for the balance between mind and body it brings as well as the sense of relaxation and clarity. The most important element of yoga is breath, by becoming aware of the breath we can bring peace to out mind and in turn our bodies.


Each pose completed in a yoga class focuses on bringing strength and flexibility to a different part of the body. Poses can be completed quickly, to increase physical fitness or in a slower fashion to place emphasis on strength.


What to Expect from a Yoga Class


Yoga classes will take place in gyms, studios and the outdoors. A class will usually last from between sixty and ninety minutes. Some places will supply a yoga mat to use but others will require you to bring your own, you may like to call ahead to find out.


Classes begin with a few warm up stretches. You will then move on to more difficult postures. A class may have a set series of postures to work through, or have a more casual feel where the instructor takes you through a series of exercises. Some exercises like sun salutations are aimed at increasing strength. Others like tree pose are aimed at increasing balance.


At the end of the class you will conclude with a short relaxation session which the instructor will lead.


Bikram Yoga


In recent years Bikram Yoga has increased in popularity. Bikram yoga takes place over a ninety minute class in which a series of twenty six postures are completed. What makes Bikram yoga unique is that the class is completed in a room which is heated to thirty eight degrees. The heat is thought to cleanse the body of toxins, increase circulation, avoid injury and allow maximum flexibility. Power Yoga too has become a favorite of many yoga devotees.


What Are The Benefits of Yoga?


After completing your first yoga class you can expect to feel full of energy. Many people do yoga to help reduce stress, in fact if you complete your yoga practice in the morning you will benefit from a sense of clarity and energy all day long.


Yoga also brings many physical benefits. You will over time experience increased flexibility and strength in your muscles. Your core will get stronger, your back will be properly supported and less likely to suffer injury. Yoga improves strength and muscle tone, encouraging the long lean look.