Yoga is a physical, mental and spiritual practice that originated in India, probably around the 6th and 5th centuries BC. It has been practiced in the West since late Victorian times, and in the 1980s became popular across the west as a system of physical exercise.
In Indian traditions, yoga has more of a meditative and spiritual core. In the West, it tends to be more associated with physical posture work. How much an individual engages in the physical benefits and how much in the spiritual aspects is a personal choice. Often people are introduced to yoga as a fitness exercise but become more interested over time in the mental benefits and the lifestyle issues associated with it.
Read more below, and if you're new to yoga, you might appreciate this starter FAQ
1. STRESS RELIEF: Yoga reduces the physical effects of stress on the body. By encouraging relaxation, yoga helps to lower the levels of the stress hormone cortisol. Related benefits include lowering blood pressure and heart rate, improving digestion and boosting the immune system as well as easing symptoms of conditions such as anxiety, depression, fatigue, asthma and insomnia.
Be practical! Yoga is not always the gentle activity many think it to be (although it can be). It can be very aerobic and it can get hot. If the class has dynamic, hot, power, astanga, or yoga flow in its name, you are going to sweat! Sports-style clothing – leggings, shorts, tracksuit bottoms, vests, fitted t-shirts – is strongly advised.
It’s best not to wear baggy t-shirts as they will get caught up in a posture and will fall over your face, not only dangerously blocking your vision but – especially in an upside-down pose – baring rather a lot.
Leggings or fitted shorts are really helpful for the teacher to be able to see that your body has the correct alignment.
We don’t wear socks in a yoga class as it could be dangerous. Socks are too slippery and we want to take care of you. Also, it helps to develop the sensitivity in our feet so barefoot is the way to go!