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Yoga for Dummies?

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  • Yoga for Dummies?

    I want to start doing yoga but there are so many kinds and I'm getting confused researching them. There are no classes at my gym. I'm willing to follow along with videos or take classes but I don't know what the kind I want to do is called. I'm interested in what I guess you might call old-school yoga? The kind that was always shown on PBS in the 90s. Not power yoga or bikram or yoga where you move and bounce around a lot (I think I don't want those....). I want to do the slow, meditative, stretching sort of movements. And probably not in a hot room, at least not to start out. Or is that good? What should I be looking for? I'm pretty strong and would really love to work on grace and flexibility a bit. I'm already doing some barre work and think supplementing that with yoga would be a good mix.
    be the hair that knots with my hair
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    primal since oct. 1, 2012

  • #2
    If possible I would seek out a yoga "course" first so you learn the basics. It sounds Hatha or flow is what you're looking for. It's always best to find a place where there is a clearly an "intro" class as opposed to jumping into a class with multiple levels. It's easy in those cases to do the poses wrong and hurt yourself.
    Take a look at Free Online Yoga Videos - Classes and Poses |
    I really like this site and there are lots of options for difficulty, length, type and teacher. I would start with a few beginner, short classes.

    Another thing to remember about yoga is it's ALL about the teacher. So if you find a class locally, go up to the teacher before class and let them know you are a beginner and would appreciate any helpful instruction or pose iteration for newbies. Most teachers welcome this type of exchange and will gladly accomodate. Also, if you go to a class and don't like it, try a new style and/or teacher. I took many many classes before finding a teacher I really loved. It's trial and error.

    But the main thing is don't push it! Take it easy, ease into yoga like any exercise.

    have fun!


    • #3
      Os, so this isn't an exhaustive list, but hopefully it helps. Based on what you are looking for, here are the key words at my yoga studio I would look for-
      Words to look for: beginner, flow or mixed-flow, hatha, yin
      Words to avoid: power (anything), bikram, sculpt, ashtanga, rocket.

      Some notes on yoga-
      Your instructor absolutely can make or break a class (as melo pointed out). You will probably have to try several teachers before finding at least one that you really enjoy. If you don't like the instructor don't go back! You can deal with a teacher you don't like in many disciplines, but not in yoga. I think it is because yoga is so meditative and inward in nature, having a teacher you don't like really interferes with that (or does for me, anyway).

      Bikram is "hot" yoga. The room is set to ~100 degrees, and very humid as well. Some people love it. Like really love it. I am not those people. I can't think of anything worse than doing yoga in a sauna. Ok that's a lie, I can think of worse things, but not many. I've been told it is great for flexibility, and of course the usual "sweating out toxins". My toxins haven't killed me yet, so they can stick around. Give it a try if you have the chance, it may be your thing. Take a mat, beach towel, and lots of water.

      Yin is my favorite style- it focuses on the joints and connective tissues, and you hold poses for much longer than normal. It is fantastic for the hips and shoulders especially, two areas I have flexibility issues with. Although you don't get much teacher-led meditation in yin (at least not in mine), because you are holding poses for a long time I find yin is very inward, in that you are lost in your own thoughts for long periods of time. Some people are comfortable with that, others get fidgety.

      Look for a groupon for local studios. This will let you try multiple class styles and instructors inexpensively. See how much the instructors watch the students and offer corrections. Sit up near the front so you can see the instructor demonstrate moves, and so the instructor can see you. Some instructors will physically touch you to move you into the right alignment, however they should all be respectful of your wishes if you are not comfortable with that.


      • #4
        oh and i almost forgot about restorative!!!

        ah, restorative. some people think it's hocky. i don't care cause before i relocated i found a sunday night candlelight restorative that changed my life (only slightly dramatic here). for me, it was important to tap into a yoga class where i was focusing more on "being" as opposed to "doing". this really fit the bill. it was one time during the week that i took for myself where i didn't "do" that much of anything...but the poses.
        poses in restorative are held for up to 10min but are 'restful' and relaxing using props or bolsters. it is seriously relaxing and i highly recommend it.

        and i also love yin although i find it more intense.


        • #5
          Yup: Hatha, Yin and Restorative are the most relaxed Yogas. (Apart from the one I teach, Tantra, but it's pretty unlikely you'll find someone teaching it )

          Also, if you can find a Yoga Nidra class, I really recommend that! It's an amaaaaaazing mediation! I guarantee you'll be blissed out by the end
          "I think the basic anti-aging diet is also the best diet for prevention and treatment of diabetes, scleroderma, and the various "connective tissue diseases." This would emphasize high protein, low unsaturated fats, low iron, and high antioxidant consumption, with a moderate or low starch consumption.

          In practice, this means that a major part of the diet should be milk, cheese, eggs, shellfish, fruits and coconut oil, with vitamin E and salt as the safest supplements."

          - Ray Peat


          • #6
            Yoga is just the perfect way of getting back into requires no space and equipments and is effective more than any sort of exercise..


            • #7
              Thanks so much for all of the very helpful replies! I'm excited. I'm going to search using some of these terms and see if I can find a class near me.
              be the hair that knots with my hair
              - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
              primal since oct. 1, 2012


              • #8
                I think "hot" yoga must vary, because the hot flow class I take is quite bearable. I never would have taken it if there were alternatives at a time that worked for me. I took another hot class at the same studio, different instructor and it was hotter and harder. I couldn't tell from the description that it was going to be worse, lol.

                Definitely go for an hour or less. An hour is plenty while you're learning. Or while you're trying out a new instructor.
                50yo, 5'3"
                CW-125, part calorie counting, part transition to primal
                GW- Goals are no longer weight-related


                • #9
                  This might sound kind of silly but I actually do a video that is prenatal yoga. I can't take classes so I went to the library and checked out a bunch of videos to try. The prenatal one was the most relaxing and I actually could tell I was improving with my stretching.