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Thread: Please tell me about yoga

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    Senior Member rosarugosa's Avatar
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    Please tell me about yoga

    I am thinking about taking a yoga class with my sister and a friend. I sort of like the idea of yoga, at least as I understand it. I think it is exercise, physical discipline, bodily awareness with an element of meditation rolled in. I think I could get into that. I've been super diligent about walking, but it's probably a good idea to incorporate something other than walking into my so-called fitness routine, such as it is.
    Here is my concern. I think I will be really turned off if there is a lot of mystical bullsh!t rolled into it. I can already feel some attitude forming about some of the language used (e.g. "dig deep and leave it all on the mat" WTF is that really even supposed to mean, sounds like BS to me), and I know if I go into it with a bunch of attitude I am unlikely to get anything out of it. Any thoughts on whether it is worth a try or something that sounds like a poor fit? I know some of you are experienced with yoga and could possibly share some insights. Thanks in advance!

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    Senior Member herbgeek's Avatar
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    A lot will depend on the type/style of yoga you select, and the instructor. Don't give up if the first one doesn't fit you. Most of the yoga for beginners doesn't have a whole lot of woo woo to it- that usually comes later.

    for what its worth: I've done a few styles including anusara-based, flow yoga and just hatha yoga. Iyengar focuses a lot on alignment- so I'm guessing less spiritual (but I haven't taken it so who knows). My favorite is svaroopa yoga, harder to find as its not as popular. Svaroopa focuses on lengthening the spine- there's a lot of relaxation and being on your back on folded blankets. Its very soothing, and great for older people as its not "vigorous". The "spiritual" part of it is listening to a reading at the end of class, after you have done savasana. I usually find the readings fairly practical and not too out there.

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    I didn’t like it as I am not very coordinated and the instructor would come around and try to put you into position. I think I went a few times a week for 3 weeks until I quit. My son loves it. I liked Tai Chi but I threw my back out from all the slow twisting and it took me a month to recover with lots of chiropractor visits)

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    I like doing yoga at home with dh. We focus on balance and flexibility and it has helped with my core strength and some joint issues.

    i didn’t like it very much when we used to go to a group class. I am very not into all the “breathing together” stuff. But I went for dh and for the physical benefits. I did tell the instructor ahead of time that I did not want to be touched. She was very respectful of that.

  5. #5
    Senior Member catherine's Avatar
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    In theory I should adore yoga because of its holistic benefits: strength, flexibility, toning, spirituality, mindfulness, community, variety. For some reason I've never been able to stick to a program.

    I did the best with Iyengar. I had a terrific teacher who was very experienced, and I definitely made progress, but it's very slow. as herbgeek said, the focus is on alignment so every position had to be perfect, which again, in theory, I liked as I am somewhat of a perfectionist in certain areas. I didn't want to just do yoga half-a$$ed and wind up hurting myself.

    I have also done Hatha Yoga which is a great all-round practice. And I was really good at disciplining myself with home videos--I belonged to MyYogaOnline for a while and they had a "21 Days of Yoga" or something like that and it provided very helpful structure. Otherwise, I think my problem with it is there is TOO much choice. Every day I had to figure out did I want this teacher or that? Flexibility or core strength? 20 minutes or 40 minutes? Too much brain work, which is one thing I love about running. You put on your sneakers, walk out the door and run. No big decisions to make.

    However, I think it's a fantastic practice and discipline. I wish I could get more into it.

    Regarding concern about "mystical BS"--some teachers are more new-agey than others. I haven't seen that with the teachers I've had. Yes, spirituality is a part of it, but you can definitely find teachers who keep that aspect subtle.
    "Do any human beings ever realize life while they live it--every, every minute?" Emily Webb, Our Town
    www.silententry.wordpress.com

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    Senior Member razz's Avatar
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    I tried, really tried to stay in the one group class that I attended but I cannot stand still that long. Never could hold one position so it was not a good fit for me. I've got to keep moving unless I am reading a book.
    Gandhi: Happiness is when what you think, what you say and what you do are in harmony .

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    Senior Member Geila's Avatar
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    I took yoga a few times at the Y and liked it for the relaxation aspect; I always felt relaxed afterwards. But I didn't see any changes to my body - no real difference in flexibility or strength. And my brain is too active so after a while I just got bored. There was no spiritual stuff that I remember except for the namaste at the end of the class. You'll probably know after the first session if the class is a good fit for you. I took a pilates class at the community college and really liked that. It was much more focused on building core strength and I did see a big difference in flexibility and strength from that class. It felt safer in that the poses were very deliberate and structured. I found yoga to be a bit more loosey-goosey which I was worried about causing injury or a pulled muscle.

    I don't have access to pilates now, so I enjoy swimming for many of the same benefits, plus I feel very relaxed afterwards.

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    Senior Member Simplemind's Avatar
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    My husband and I took a chair assisted yoga class for balance after he had his stroke and had balance issues. We loved it. Even if we didn't feel like going we went and always felt so much better when we left. I still don't think I have the strength and definitely don't have the flexibility to take a regular class.

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    Senior Member iris lilies's Avatar
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    Would Thi Chi be better? Making “ beautiful lady hands” was fun in the one intro class I had.

  10. #10
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    Rosa, I take a Gentle Yoga class at the senior center 2x/week for free. My friend's daughter calls it "old lady yoga" (!) It's drop-in so you're not committed to any number of classes. We don't do any floor work, it's all sitting in the chair on standing by a wall or your chair.
    It's been good for stretching, posture, and most importantly to me, balance. I used to think I had good balance but it's surprising how quickly that aging can start to make you just a bit more wobbly and at risk for falling. So I'd say if you get a good low-key instructor who lets you go at your own pace that would be valuable.
    Of course, my doc pooh-poohs the idea of this as "exercise" - it's certainly not cardio - but it would be a great addition to your walking.

    Another side benefit has been how absolutely nice the attendees are. Everyone chats before the class, most know almost everyone's names, and I can see how easy it would be to make a friend or two from the regulars. One example: one of the oldest women in the class is quite debilitated and needs to stay in her chair the entire time but is very friendly and does what she can. Last week she said to the instructor before class, I'm not feeling so well so I don't think I can do much today. The instructor said, that's okay, just you being here with your positive energy will be enough. Really touched me.

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