Attending a yoga class

I have started attending yoga classes again. I hadn’t attended yoga classes in 30 years. When I was raising my children, I did practice at home a few asanas (yoga poses) on and off, along with some ballet stretches. Now, as a chiropractic assistant, I am familiar with the main yoga poses. So taking part in a yoga class again is not like a brand new experience. It just feels like something I shouldn’t have waited 30 years to start again. 

Focusing on your breathing

As explained in Yoga for Rejuvenation by Nergis Dalal, “Without pranayama – the science of the control of the breath – there can be no yoga. Every asana has its own breath pattern and breathing forms the basis for all yoga practice.” The first yoga class I attended this month was focusing on very simple poses, reinforcing the importance of deep breathing. Box breathing, that I have described in 4 Easy Breathing Exercises for Relaxation, was practiced as well. What a nice way to start the morning!

Core strength, balance, and flexibility

The second class I attended covered traditional yoga poses: tabletop position, to cat/cow, to child’s pose; warrior II and warrior III poses, downward dog, plank, cobra, and mountain pose, among others. Along with paying attention to your breathing, this set of poses reinforces your balance, flexibility, and the importance of building adequate core strength. Still according to Nergis Dalal, “The alternate stretching and contracting movements of the asanas help muscles to retain their tone and keep bones strong and lung tissue healthy. The heart is strengthened and made more resistant by being subjected to alternate pressures, thus improving the circulation of blood to the body.”

In summary

Maintaining muscle tone and flexibility, improving balance and breathing skills, strengthening how organs can function through various poses, all these are good reasons for practicing a few yoga asanas every day if you can. Yoga helps reduce daily stress too. What else is there to say? Is there something you haven’t done in 30, 20, or 10 years that you would like to start again?

Nergis Dalal. Yoga for Rejuvenation : Revitalizing Techniques of the Yogis. New York, Thorsons Publishers, 1984, pp. 11–17.

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