Face Your Fear This Yoga Awareness Month And Try Yoga!
Ninety percent of Americans are aware of yoga, and 75% agree it’s good for you. Yet, only 28% have participated in a class, according to the 2016 Yoga in America Study.
September is National Yoga Month, a time to promote the health benefits of yoga. But, that may still not be enough for some whose fears and misconceptions are keeping them away.
“They are not sure what they will be doing in a yoga class and not sure if they are able. They don’t want to feel singled out or embarrassed,” explained WHF Yoga instructor Nicole Evans, who earned her 200-hour registered yoga teacher (RYT) certification in 2015.
The Benefits of Yoga
Regularly practicing yoga provides numerous benefits, as John Hopkins Medicine reports, including:
Improved strength, balance and flexibility
Relief from back pain and arthritis symptoms
Improved heart health
Can boost your energy and mood
Stress relief and better sleep
Yoga, much like aerobic exercise, also has a positive impact on the brain, according to the findings of the 2019 study “Yoga Effects on Brain Health: A Systematic Review of the Current Literature, ” published in the journal Brain Plasticity.
If you haven’t tried yoga before, have no fear. It truly is for everyone, WHF Yoga instructors agreed. Any level of experience is welcome in their classes. “I do believe that anyone of any age can benefit from yoga,” said WHF Yoga instructor Christy Cheever. Since earning her 200-hour RYT certification in 2006, she has helped young children up to those in their 80s learn yoga.
How To Start Your Yoga Journey
If you are new to yoga, there are a few key things you can do to get off to a good start. “I always tell people it’s sort of like dating, you have to find the class type (there are different kinds of classes) that is suited to your goals and needs, and you also have to find an instructor you gel with,” Evans said.
Do Your Homework
WHF Yoga Instructor Angela Cherill advised beginners to start with an introductory class. But, you don’t have to, she said. “Be open to trying something new. Be open, and you may surprise yourself,” said Cherill, a 500-hour RYT.
If you’re not sure what style of yoga best suits your needs, call the yoga studio beforehand for input or do some research on your own. “There are so many great resources, even online, if you want to look around and see what’s out there first,” Cheever said.
Be The Early Bird
Talking to the instructor before class about any health conditions or concerns is also a good idea if it’s your first time doing yoga. “Get there a few minutes early and let them know your goals and your fears,” Evans advised.
Don’t Let Yoga Intimidate You
Two of the biggest misconceptions about yoga is that you have to be fit or flexible, Evans said. “The most important parts are just breathing, more so than flexibility. Focusing and listening to your body -those two things are all you need for a yoga class.”
Another mistake people make is thinking they can’t do yoga because of pain or stiff joints. Yoga can help. Many physicians have even advised that patients with injuries use yoga as a starting point to get back to their usual activities, Cherill said.
Yoga improves your range of motion, which helps with arthritis, Evans said. “Movement is known to be good for arthritis,” Evans said, adding, “The benefit of yoga is you’re moving your body in all directions, and a lot of activities don’t address all of the directors your body can move in.”
You won’t feel left out in WHF Yoga classes, which are limited to ten participants. Cheever makes poses accessible to everyone by using props and providing multiple options. “I feel like I can give everyone something useful to work on, all in the context of a group class, so that’s helping people with the chronic pain issues or mobility issues because they are in the flow with everyone else,” Cheever said.
WHF offers a variety of hour-long yoga classes, from beginner to advanced. If you are a newcomer, your first class is free. So drop in and celebrate Yoga Awareness Month with us!