22 September 2021

Yoga is a discipline that incorporates breath control, meditation, and body postures.  It is practiced to improve health and for relaxation.  Working with a yoga therapist, individual plans can be developed to recover from surgery or deal with a chronic condition.

It offers slow movements combined with controlled breathing that will increase blood flow and help the muscles become more flexible.  The person will hold a pose for a prescribed period of time which will help with strength and balance.  Standing in the middle of the floor on one leg with arms twisted will take all of your concentration.  That means there is no room for the problems of the day.  It can be a refreshing change of pace from weightlifting or running.

There are some conditions that yoga is often recommended to help.  For people with back pain, the basic stretching will help increase mobility and has shown to help relieve discomfort.  Arthritis takes a number of forms but generally creates stiffness and pain in joints.  Gentle yoga and appropriate poses will help increase movement and decrease discomfort.  People with cardiac problems are often urged to reduce blood pressure, lose weight, and decrease stress.  Guided yoga positions can help in all of those areas.

People report that their sleep improves, energy is boosted and they feel more alert with fewer negative thoughts.  Overall it can promote better self care.

Yoga - Finger Lakes Connected

If you are now interested in pursuing this endeavor, there are some basic questions to ask yourself.

  • What do I want to accomplish?  There are a number of different types or styles of yoga.  If you are interested in building core muscles, that is one thing; if you want something more meditation oriented, that can be a different type of session.  Each class should have a written description.  Ask if you can observe a class.  Not all teachers offer individualized attention, especially in larger class sizes or ongoing classes.
  • What are the facilities and instructors like?  If the place or area of the city leaves you uncomfortable, move on.  See if you can talk to a teacher and ask if they are certified in any way.  Find out what you will need to bring, i.e. mat, towels, etc.
  • Understand the etiquette.  Leave your phone or other electronics, as well as valuables, locked away.  Noise levels are usually pretty low so expect quiet.  Note where others have placed their mats and allow enough personal space as well as room for the teacher to move around.  Out of respect for the instructor and fellow classmates, be on time.

Sessions may be offered in a number of different types of facilities.  That includes dance studios, gyms, community centers, and yoga studios.  Don’t be afraid to try other disciplines or teaching styles.  Ask for recommendations especially from your healthcare provider.  Social media is sometimes helpful because there can be photos.

As a final comment, if you try it but don’t like it, don’t feel bad.  Not all forms of exercise appeal to everyone.  To learn more about Yoga or check out classes, you can contact Grounded by Yoga, a local sponsor with Finger Lakes Connected.

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