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Yoga For Everyone

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Getting into yoga may seem like a daunting prospect, but it doesn’t have to be! The Mumbai Mix Team breaks it down for you on International Yoga Day

You may have heard about the wondrous benefits of yoga and how it can help, even when medical science cannot. But, getting into it is no small task, and it can be extremely beneficial for you. It will work muscles and muscle groups that you never knew you needed! So, today, as the world celebrates International Yoga Day, we bring you a guide to help you stay the course. We ask trainers what you need to know before you take it up and what to expect. And, if you’ve got all that down and want to look good while you work out, we’ve got a few must-have yoga wear options and items that can improve your yoga sessions.

HUMBLE BEGINNINGS

  • Breath control is crucial Don’t push yourself to get into a pose at the expense of your breathing. If you can’t breathe normally, it’s better to try something easier. Yoga is not just about getting into twisted pretzel-like poses.
     
  • You aren’t going to ace it instantly Taking up anything new can be a challenge — including yoga. While it may initially seem difficult, almost impossible even, you will get the hang of it. You don’t have to get the poses 100% correct or hold them for the longest time; at least not when you’re just starting out.
     
  • Yoga is all about practice Yoga may involve a lot of theory, and you will need to know some of it, but K. Pattabhi Jois, a yoga teacher who established the Ashtanga Yoga Research Institute in Mysore, spoke of his yoga style, saying that “yoga is 1% theory and 99% practice”. Be patient; yoga will grow on you.
  • Don’t skip the Savasana This pose may seem like a waste of time at the end of your yoga class, but it acts as a cool down exercise and helps your body to relax.

BEFORE YOU BEGIN
Here’s what you should know before you take your very first yoga class:
 

  • Wear loose clothing Tight clothing can be restrictive, while loose, comfortable clothing allows for easy movement.
     
  • Don’t be too full Make sure that you eat something at least two hours before you start your session. Remember, yoga is a form of exercise, and practising it on a full stomach will leave you with an uncomfortable feeling.
     
  • Rest when you need to There is no ‘one size fits all’ solution when it comes to yoga.
     
  • Don’t compare Yoga is about focusing on yourself. If you’re taking a group session, don’t compare yourself with the rest of the class.
     
  • Try and switch off Check your busy thoughts at the door. Yoga is about relaxation and mindfulness.
     

HOW TO NURSE A YOGA ACHE
If an asana is causing certain muscles in your body to become sore, it could be delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS). Try not to work on those areas two days in a row. Instead, do asanas that focus on other parts of your body, and give your muscles time to heal. The worst thing you can do is to think that all pain is gain. It’s better not to risk further injury. Gently massage sore muscles with oil or take a hot bath (mix some Epsom salt in your bath water) to relieve the pain. Don’t hesitate to talk to your instructor, or a doctor for medication, if the pain is too much to bear.

YOGA WEAR WE LOVE
Just as with any other activity, it’s important to wear the right clothes for yoga. In fact, of late, a lot of science often goes into making the perfect yoga wear. So, to give your yoga sessions the boost they need, here are a few brands that you should check out.

EveryWear
If you’re looking for good quality, as well as affordable yoga wear, EveryWear should be your pick. The best thing about their collection is that their clothing is seamless — no more unsightly lines! We’re just happy to have comfy attire that makes doing difficult yoga postures a piece of cake!
Price range Rs 199 to Rs 1,699

Forever Yoga
This brand adds to the concept of comfort wear for your yoga sessions. Say goodbye to body-hugging clothes or loose T-shirts and pyjamas. Forever Yoga has a solution for those who want to keep it loose too — yoga dhotis! Who said you have to compromise on comfort for performance?
Price range Rs 799 onwards

Proyog
Their trademarked HYPERBREATHE fabric will change your yoga experience. The brand makes apparel that’s free from plastic, but don’t expect neon colours, because it includes just earthy, subtle hues. Now, who wouldn’t love ethical yoga wear? We do!
Price range Rs 1,899 onwards

INSTRUCTOR SPEAK
We let five yoga experts around the city tell us what made them choose this line of fitness and why you should hop on to the yoga bandwagon (if you haven’t already).

The mind-body balance
Integrative and lifestyle medicine exercise physiologist, Luke Coutinho, tells us that the main reason he chose to go the yoga way is because it relaxes his mind and strengthens his body — from head to toe. Yoga improves flexibility and circulation, which in turn aids nutrient assimilation and digestion. His advice to those who are just starting out: “Take it easy, don’t try to mimic difficult poses/ asanas. Yoga is about gently moving into an asana. Enjoy it, involve your mind and breath, connect it to each movement and try and stick to traditional yoga (and not power yoga). It has to be a mind-body connection with movement. It’s difficult for beginners, but the more you do it and the more disciplined you are with your practice, the easier it gets.”

The power to change your life
Nikita Solanki of Wellintra Fitness, took to yoga because she wanted to restore her health, relieve pain and feel better. She found that yoga has the power to dramatically change your life. “I believe that yoga is one of the most effective ways to treat your body and mind simultaneously, reducing stress and increasing flexibility, muscle strength and concentration, and inducing a general sense of well-being,” she says.

Get in touch with your inner self
Yoga, movement and wellness therapist, Samanta Duggal, tells us that having been a professional dancer for 15 years and also involved with other avenues of fitness, yoga was a natural progression for her. She explains, “Yoga not only has huge physical, physiological and endocrinological benefits, it also works on our minds. I would encourage beginners to find good teachers to know more about yoga as a holistic discipline and practice, taught as a way of life and philosophy, without only focusing on physical posture. The goal is to meditate and be still. It is an injury-prone practice, so learning from books, DVDs and YouTube (which all have their place when one is more experienced) is not recommended! Also, view yoga as a preventive alternative healing method rather than a curative one. Start now and be patient; the results will crop up sooner than you think.”

You don’t have to be super flexible to do yoga
Yoga instructor Mansi Mahajan didn’t choose yoga; it chose her. If you let it, yoga can become a huge stepping stone to higher possibilities. She personally recommends taking up yoga because at a physical level, it helps strengthen the neuro-muscular system, but more importantly, it creates the possibility for a deeply transformative experience in your life if you practice it with subtlety and awareness. “Yoga isn’t a workout. It’s a ‘work-in’. So, it is important to remember that it isn’t just an exercise; it’s a tool to bring you back to reality. Yoga isn’t a competition, especially not against yourself. In fact, it’s the anti-thesis of it. Let go of preconceived notions, judgments and thoughts, and step on to the mat with steadiness in body and breath,” she says.

With yoga, patience is key
Personal yoga instructor Alisha Mistry has always been into sports and her journey towards yoga has been particularly interesting. In school, she participated in field events such as running and high jump, and played a lot of football. The football continued into college and before she knew it, she was representing a football club in the women’s league. She eventually played for Maharashtra state for five years. She was studying psychology in college and decided to pursue a career combining the two, so she took yoga classes and grew so fond of it that she decided to get a teachers’ certification. It gave her physical fitness and helped her find good balance in life. Eventually, she took it up as a career and has been teaching for four years. Her advice to beginners is that no matter how boring or uninterested you may find the initial few minutes of meditation practice, try to continue it every day just for a couple of minutes, because in the long run, the benefits are tremendous and your way of perceiving life may change drastically for the better.

YOGA YOUTUBERS WE LOVE
The struggle between wanting to do something and not having the time is real; this we know. But, all thanks to technology, this can be resolved in a jiffy! And, since we all know that YouTube is the platform to broadcast your talent, we’ve conjured up a list of a few talented Yoga YouTubers so that you can log on for a yoga session at any time.

Yogasync.tv
Yogasync.tv is an interactive yoga training channel and website that features a range of quality yoga material. They cover several topics including yoga during pregnancy, relaxation techniques and warrior poses. They also have a mix of male and female instructors to offer different perspectives.

LiveStrongWoman
If you’re a busy yogi who has little time during the day, this is the channel for you! LiveStrongWoman has a collection of 12-minute-or-less yoga videos that feature everything from beginner levels and advanced poses to pain-relief courses. You could also use their relaxing yoga playlist by Tara Stiles to spruce up your workouts.

Fightmaster Yoga
Home to the Yogafix 90, Fightmaster Yoga is a 90-day programme that aims to create a healthy habit with a daily 15 to 40-minute video of different types of courses. From strength building to flexibility and stretching, this channel covers everything from gentle yoga and meditation to advanced and intermediate programs.

Bad Yogi
Started by Erin Motz, this channel is dedicated to all the ‘bad yogis’ who struggle to get yoga right. Bad Yogi aims to teach you how to do yoga even if you haven’t mastered the perfect form. It also has a four-week yoga challenge with a 20-minute video that could help you get in shape if you’re up for it!

YOGA ON THE BEACH
Practice calming ashtangas and meditation on the beach and break your monotonous routine. A class that is planned and structured to give you a full body and mind workout and infuses you with energy and good vibes. What better way to start your morning? Dig your toes into the sand and relax to the sound of the waves crashing on the beach with an exciting new morning routine. The fee for 12 sessions is Rs 3,200, while single walk-in sessions cost Rs 300 each.
When Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, from 7am to 8am
Where Sun & Sand Beach Front, 39, Juhu Beach, Juhu
Contact 9820401592/ [email protected]

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