About eight weeks ago, I decided to try a beginners Iyengar yoga class. It was on a whim and I had no idea what to expect.
My Experience In A Beginners Yoga Class
There are usually around 12 people in my class and it takes place in a large dance studio with mirrored walls. The first time I went, I introduced myself to the teacher and told her that I was an absolute beginner but I’m generally fit with no specific injuries, concerns or limitations. I told her that I get general lower backache though, something that niggles away more days than not.
The class I go to takes place on a Monday lunchtime and lasts for 45 minutes. Because of the timing, around half of the class are of post-retirement age, the rest range from mid-twenties to early sixties.
All equipment is provided including mats, belts, bricks and blocks. The belt, (or strap), helps posture and is an to aid getting into certain positions. The foam bricks, effectively bring the floor closer, or length the arms I suppose! In other words, if for example, you can’t reach the floor when bending over, you can use the brick to lean on instead. The blocks are also made of foam and they are used as support under the back in a lying position and also to rest the knees on when sitting cross-legged. Our teacher tells each individual how many he or she should use, something which depends on height and flexibilty.
Iyengar yoga emphasises detail, precision and alignment in the performance of posture (asana) and breath control (pranayama). The teacher demonstrates each pose or position and we copy. Often she comes around to check and to ensure we are doing everything correctly. In very very simple terms, I would describe it as a series of long, stretches. It takes a lot of focus and concentration to get them right. Because of this, it’s a very mindful exercise. It takes the full attention, so it’s wonderful for temporarily setting those busy thoughts aside.
This particular type of yoga is gentle- I don’t get hot or need water during the class. Afterwards, I feel relaxed yet invigorated and ready to tackle the afternoon’s work. It’s made me much more aware of my general posture and stance and I now incorporate some of the yoga stretches into my post-gym cool down too. I absolutely love it!
Yoga At Home?
There are numerous apps, books and videos which enable one to practice yoga at home. In the first instance though, I would definitely recommend going to a beginners class, to be sure that the basic foundation positions, poses and posture are correct. I’m lucky to live a short walk through a park, (which is where Ian took these photos of me), to the leisure centre where my class takes place, another reason for going to a class. I find too that because we have to book the class the previous week, I will definitely go. I’d be much more inclined to “let myself off” if I was doing it under my own steam at home. But that’s just me!
What To Wear For Yoga
There is a lot of bending and stretching involved. It’s important therefore to wear clothing with a lot of stretch and that won’t reveal more than you want!
I wear stretch leggings rather than joggers or yoga pants for two reasons. One, it’s easier to see my body position/shape in the mirror and two, they stay put and don’t ride up when lifting the legs.
I wear a vest top with internal support and straps that cross at the back, so they don’t fall down. A sports bra and a fitted top is another option.
On cooler days, I wear this Asquith navy top too. I love Asquith and have several pieces of their organic yoga/leisure clothing, including this gorgeous shell pink top and grey bottoms. It too stays in place because of the rushing at the sides. It’s super soft and feels lovely against the skin.
Just to show that everything stays in place…
Have a lovely weekend!
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