Friday, January 16, 2009
I have always been a big fan of Yoga, even though I am not the most flexible person in the world or even very good at doing the different poses, I enjoy the way my body feels after I do a few poses or a whole routine. I began doing yoga with my mom when I was a child and have continued to practice on my own. I always enjoyed getting into a difficult pose and then holding it for as long as I could. It stretched my muscles to new lengths and warmed up my entire body. I have a yoga mat that I roll out across my bedroom floor so that I can stretch out and then do some meditation to reduce my stress, wake myself up or to relax.
Unfortunately when stress levels increase due to my everyday life I often neglect my body and my mind. When I know that I am going to be in my room all day, I try to roll out my mat before I even get started. This helps me to remember that my body and mind need to take breaks from learning and working. I try to take short breaks so that I don’t get overwhelmed and exhausted.
There are many different types of yoga and many classes are available all over Ithaca. Ithaca College offers a variety of different classes at different difficulty levels and many classes are available around the community as well. To find more information on different types of yoga and availability of classes, check out the links at the bottom of the page. I have tried a few different classes through the Ithaca City Health Club and I tried Bikrim’s Yoga this last fall.
Many types of yoga include a mixture of breathing, meditation, and poses. Some classes repeat the same routine and some do a mixture of different types. I have tried a relaxation yoga class, an intermediate class and a Bikrim’s yoga class.
The relaxation class that I tried made me feel truly relaxed at the end. It took place in a dimly lit room that was very warm. Each participant had a stack of yoga blankets that they sat or lay on. The instructor led the class through each pose at a very slow pace and would walk around the room adjusting and guiding each person. The last ten minutes was a guided meditation that helped each of us to focus on breathing, thoughts and muscle relaxation. I recommend this type of yoga for periods of great stress. A guided relaxation period can benefit each of us greatly from time to time and remind us of the importance that our mind plays in our health.
Intermediate Yoga was a bit tough for me since I was still very much a beginner the first time that I took the class. I was able to attempt all of the poses and the teacher modified some of the more difficult poses to help the participants that were obviously struggling. I made it through the class and definitely worked out every muscle in my entire body. I felt rejuvenated and had a huge boost in confidence after making it through (there were a few points where I felt like I might just fall over). I only went once to the class but hope to have time and money to enroll in a class soon.
This last fall a friend of mine and I signed up for the trial at Bikram’s Yoga. The deal is that you can go to as many classes a day for ten days for ten dollars. Bikram’s Yoga is the process of performing 26 asana’s or poses in a specific order in a very hot room. You complete each asana twice and the whole process takes over an hour and allows you to do things you did not know you could do. The teachers instruct the class in a very strict and almost military way, pushing the participants to keep going, stretch farther, and hold the pose longer. I went a total of five times throughout the ten days and felt great after each class. Many of the members go twice a day and some go three times. The heat was very intense and even through I felt empowered and amazing at the end of each class, a membership can be very expensive and it takes a great time commitment.
Yoga can be done with people of all ages, I started as a child and it became part of my lifestyle. It can be taught in Physical Education Class as well as Health Education Class. This can help students to manage their stress, be physically active, and bring the components of a healthy body and mind together.
I recommend that you try different types of yoga and see which one works best for you and fits into your life. Share what you learn and try with other people in your life. Everyone can benefit from yoga no matter what their age or ability level. It has helped me to be more flexible, relaxed and to reduce my overall stress.
More information on Yoga:
Types of Yoga- http://www.matsmatsmats.com/yoga/yoga-disciplines.html
Ithaca College Yoga- http://www.ithaca.edu/sacl/recsports/group_exercise/yoga.php
Bikram’s Yoga in Ithaca- http://www.bikramithaca.com/main.html
Create your own routine- http://www.yogajournal.com/poses/finder/browse_categories
Sunrise Yoga Studio- http://www.sunriseyoga.com/Steven/index.html
AHIMSA Yoga Studio- http://www.ithacayoga.org/
These are just a few, look up “yoga classes in Ithaca NY” to find more