Be Free to Run and Run to be Free! Namaste~
New with Yoga.
Never want to stop.
Will taking classes at a gym benefit me.
Is that a good beginning.
Can gym classes offer the same as a studio?
Welcome to the world of Yoga! Just like you, I never want to stop. Too much greatness comes out of the regular practice of Yoga to ever turn back.
Taking classes at the gym will definitely benefit you. I have found the Yoga classes in gyms tend to me a bit more focused on the “physical” aspect of Yoga while some studio classes may get more into the the “meditative” side of the practice. That is not an absolute, just my own personal observation. I say try as many classes as you can and find the ones that work best for you. I have found some of my favorite instructors in the gym setting so I’m a big fan of that environment.
Keep it up and please keep me posted on your progress! Be sure to visit my website at http://www.yogirunner.com/ and sign up for the Mailing List to receive tips, recipes and great deals!
Marnie Hawkins wrote,
How long do you believe you need to hold a headstand to receive these benefits? I LOVE this article and am now getting them in daily, but I sit there holding it every time wondering….how long do I need to be here? I’m sure it’s like anything where any amount will reap rewards. I was just wondering if you have heard a recommended time. Thanks! 🙂
Great question, Marnie Hawkins! I think it’s terrific you are getting your Sirasana in daily. From what I understand, 3 minutes is a good goal. This is roughly the amount if time I try to hold mine when practicing on my own- but in all honesty, I’m usually not watching the clock (nor counting the seconds) when I’m practicing the pose. Like you said, any amount of time will surely produce some benefits. Next time we do this pose in class, let’s time it to see how long our beloved instructors keep us there. 🙂
HI!! New to yoga. I appreciate your article on “To Breath or not to Breath”. Spoke to my intimidation to the practice, misunderstanding of the expectations, and confusion with the language. I am looking forward to the article about the differences between the types of yoga classes. You mentioned Power yoga. Being tight from head to toe do you think I should try a yoga class focusing on flexibility then move to a strength based or do you think starting with the power/strength the flexibility will happen along with strength?? Ive been doing weights only to find I am getting “thick” and not toned. Does yoga help with tone and definition? What about the strength level? In my 1st Hot Yoga class notice people spraying their towels before class??? Ok…that’s a start! :o)
Thank you for taking the time to read “To Breathe or Not to Breathe.” Every time I get intimidated or start struggling, I try to remember that it really is just about the breath.
Since you are new to Yoga, I recommend trying all kinds of different classes. You will probably quickly discover which classes best suit your needs. There will always be variations from one Power class to the next since so much depends on the instructor. Before you go to a class, read the description so you have an idea of what you are walking into. Keep an open and positive mind-set and remember that every class has a purpose and no class is a waste of time. You will learn something from every class you attend.
Like you, I use to spend a lot of time lifting weights. This tended to produce more of a “bulky” muscle tone because most forms of strengthening exercises tend to shorten the muscles.
Yoga is unique because it strengthens and lengthens the muscles. Yoga tends to use more eccentric contraction (lengthening the fibers as they fire), as well as isometric contraction (holding them as they fire) – providing the unique opportunity to lengthen the muscles while you build them. I’ve spent many years in the fitness industry and have never been able to achieve the lengthened musculature I have experienced through the regular practice Yoga.
It is very common to use a Yoga towel over a mat in a Hot Yoga class. The towel can help you avoid slipping and sliding once you start sweating. People spray the towel (usually where the feet and hands land in Downward Facing Dog) to help the towel stick to the mat. The sweat produced in class will achieve the same result, but people often spray the towel before class to keep it secured to the mat before the sweating begins!
I hope I have answered your questions. For more information please visit my website at http://www.YogiRunner.com. Be sure to sign up for the mailing list for tips, recipes and great deals!
Thank you, Sherry. 🙂
I’ve been reading “Light On Yoga” and came across this information about headstands:
“The time limit for Sirsasana depends upon individual capacity and the time at one’s disposal. One can hold it comfortably from 10-15 minutes. A beginner can do it for 2 minutes and go up to 5 minutes.”
Hope that answers your questions. “Light on Yoga” is a great resource. You can purchase it by clicking here: http://astore.amazon.com/yogirunner-20/detail/0805210318
So here we are 40 minutes deep into a session of hot vinasya. All in concentration focused in on ourselves and our personal journey while transitioning from position to position. Room is serine with calming music, scent of lavendar and warm with heat and moisture. We just finished a series of this and that and dropped into a downward dog. I, still being a novice, was trying to stare down my heels who are deathly afraid of the ground. When all of a sudden out in the parking lot in front of the windows ran by a traditional New Mexican roadrunner!! Your dear friend (me) who has a child like love of all thing that can independently move on their own (except cockroaches) spoke out in pure glee “HELLO there Mr Roadrunner!!!!” while in the downward dog position. When i realized i used my vocal voice instead of my inner head voice i became soooooo embarrased! I collapsed into peaceful warrior until i regained my composure! :). True spirit of yoga!
I love it! Thanks for sharing this experience. 🙂
Question…how much of your journey with yoga has/is physical and how much is spiritual?
What a great questions, Sherry. Every individual is going to have their own journey with Yoga. For me personally, it started with a big emphasis on the physical. I went in hoping to cure a running injury so I could return to racing as quickly as possible. To my surprise, an amazing spiritual transformation started occurring and before I knew it, the dynamic had flipped and I found my journey to be mostly spiritual with those physical benefits as an added bonus.
When I started, I had no intention of becoming a “yogi”, but once I had a taste of that peace that could be attained from working from the “inside out” – I went forward full force and am SO happy that I did.
Tell me how your journey is playing out…..?
I found something I am REALLY good at! Tripod headstand! Who knew I had a flat hard head!
When did your “flip” from physical to spiritual happen? My journey so far is physical but do enjoy dedicating the energy to something or someone! I’m so tight everywhere that I spend most of my time focusing on trying to get my short hamstrings to stretch out, my heels to get closer to the ground, or my shoulders down from around my ears. I asked because I watched a documentary last night about a new yogi on a journey to define yoga. It of course had everything from strictly physical to absolute internal enlightenment. I was thinking about you and wondered where you were on the spectrum.
Question, the short quick breaths they do sometimes? What are the trying to accomplish? Is it all from one really deep breath or are you supposed to be inhaling and exhaling with each “shush, shush, shush…”. 🙂
I am so glad you feel so comfortable in the headstand. There are so many benefits to inversions. I truly try to get at least one inversion in a day for the stress relief and calming of the mind alone. On top of that, inversions also improve circulation, balance, body awareness and strengthen the core. And of course, they are just fun to do!
I imagine the type of breathing you are asking about is the Breath of Fire, known to be a cleansing and energizing breathing technique.
There are are many benefits to Breath of Fire. It is said to increase digestive power, cleanse the energy pathways in the body, awaken the life force of the physical body and so forth. With each breath, one expands a bit faster and contracts a bit faster until without expanding or contracting completely, a rhythm is felt, and you let that rhythm take over.
You asked when the flip from physical to spiritual occurred for me. I can tell you with 100% certainty, it was when I started focusing on the breathing! Once I made the connection that all poses start with the breath and it is the breath that takes us through all poses – a light was ignited and Yoga took on a whole new meaning to me.
So I invite you my friend, to focus on the breath in your next few practices and see what happens. And please, don’t forget to share right back here!
Have a beautiful week. <3
Thank you for explaining the breath of fire to me. You mentioned in yoga you started working “from the inside out”. Did that come from when you started to focus on the breathing? I guess I’m still working from “outside in” and am trying to figure out what working from the inside out is. I have heard others in yoga practice say that as well.
So update. I have completed month 1 and can say I am now aware how tight I am, even in areas I didn’t realize. But can say the first thing I have noticed is getting some of my flexibility in my shoulders. They are no longer around my ears! Heels, well, they are ever afraid of the ground. If I could get my ankle joints to relax (and wrist for that matter) it would help. Also have started to regain some enjoyment in my little runs again.
Congratulations on the new role with wellness!!!
Sounds like you are making real progress, Sherry! Keep it up – you will soon understand what it means to work from the inside out. Attack Yoga with your spirit rather than your body and you will get there. 🙂
Keep me posted!
Question…last month, after 6weeks of focusing on yoga, I was unable to to do yoga for 3 weeks straight. During that time I had a loss of a dear friend(emotionally draining), traveled out of town for a conference (mentally draining), came back with head cold followed right into stomach flu (physically draining) into a very hard and long stretch at work. I found myself getting “scattered brained”, was edgy and short tempered, and feeling deprived of my grounding center of exercise. I went back into yoga and running after this lull and feel over all better on all fronts. So the question is, have you taken a longish break from yoga or exercise, if so did you go thru this type of transition out of a balanced stated to confusion back into a balance state? I’m still trying to understand the “spiritual journey” part of yoga (still see it mostly as physical).?
The good news about your entire scenario is that you are keenly aware of the benefits of a regular Yoga practice. That “confused state” you felt when you stopped practicing is a sign that you are further along the “spiritual journey” withYoga than you may think. If you were truly still just in the “physical” practice, the break you took would have merely produced some physiological set-backs. From what you described, your break produced more mind/spiritual set-backs than anything else. Now that you are back to your routine, enjoy the ease you feel and pay close attention to see if you feel less scatter brained, less edgy and more grounded. If you do, that’s a great sign that Yoga is doing far more than you are giving it credit for!
Ok, so again I’m trying to understand the full concept of yoga. Saw another documentary about how there is a physical side to yoga used mostly to make one more aware of physical self in order to move deeper to spiritual self. You decribed that the light went on for you when you started focusing on your breathing. In the film it also describes a light or “internal radiance” that appears with the transition. For now for me still more physical. So leads me to ask, how much of your practice is going thru the positions vs meditation sessions when you are still (physically)? Do you do any chanting sessions? Are you able to meditate when doing physical yoga? Also, can you recommend any books…not on the “how to’s” but stories about other peoples journey?
The progression into experiencing Yoga as a spiritual practice from a physical practice varies for everyone. For some, Yoga will always remain a physical practice – and that’s OK. But for those seeking it to be more of a spiritual practice, will eventually find it to be such. The intention of your practice will always produce the result.
I have personally come to a point where almost every Yoga session has the intent of “calming the mind.” It is what I seek and crave from my Yoga practice. “Nailing” poses is not necessarily my goal, but I’ve found that as long as I stay focused on the breath and dig deep within, the asanas come.
Reading “Autobiography of a Yogi” by Paramahansa Yogananda provided me with some real insight and significantly changed the intention of my practice. Although you will not find a word about the asanas of Yoga in this book, you will develop a better understanding of the origins of Yoga and learn about the amazing journey of a man whose life’s quest was to merge the Eastern and Western ways. This book is available at the YogiRunner Amazon Store for purchase: http://astore.amazon.com/yogirunner-20/detail/0876120834
Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *