Growing up, I loved competitive sports (basketball and cross-country).  If I wasn't practicing with the team or competiting in a tournament, you would undoubtedly find me at the fitness center.  Although I never really liked working out at the gym, I loved what it did to my physique.  I've always aimed for a vigorous yet short workout that would get the results I wanted in the quickest time possible.  Naturally, I was never interested in exercises like Yoga.  Despite being a skeptic, I decided to give it a try after having heard so many positive reviews of the free group exercise class.  

What is Yoga? 

Yoga is a free group exercise class offered at the YMCA of Greater Boston.  It is both a physical and mental exercise that is perfect for everyone of all fitness abilities.  The goal of Yoga is to make you more aware of your body by connecting the two through strategically planned transitions of poses and breathing exercises.  The exercise not only reduces stress mentally, but physically as well by realigning your body.  

What should you Wear to Yoga? 

  • Fitted T-shirt/Tank Top: I like a top that fits me, but isn't too loose or tight.  In yoga, you're in all kinds of twisted positions and the better your clothes fit, the easier it is to hold those poses without worrying whether you're getting tangled up in your giant t-shirt or trying to pull down your tight-fitted top.
  • Long Pants/Yoga Pants: I prefer long pants or yoga pants because once again, you're in all kinds of twisted positions.  Gym shorts aren't going to let you focus on what you should be focusing on; your form opposed to wondering whether you're still covered up. 
  • No Shoes: No shoes necessary here!  In fact, no socks either. 
  • No Accessories: I like to have as little distraction as possible in Yoga. 

What Should You Bring To Yoga?

  • Yoga Mat: If you don't have a Yoga mat, some branches have extra mats available for your use.  

Yoga Etiquette

  • Please make sure your cell phone is turned off. 

Tips for first-time Yoga Participants

  • Use supports. Some of the poses can be difficult if you're not the most flexible person in the world.  The good news is that your yoga instructor will give you alternative poses or supportive equipment to make the pose doable.  
  • Clear your mind of all distractions.  I've noticed that I am able to hold my poses better if I'm compeltely relaxed and not worried about what I'm going to do once the class is over.  Focus on what you're doing and where you are, not what you're going to do and where you will be.  Personally, it also helps to look at the ground opposed to other people in the classroom.  When I see other people wobbling to try and hold their poses, I tend to lose my balance as well. 

Why I love Yoga

My favorite Yoga class is the 8:00 pm session at the West Roxbury YMCA.  It's the perfect way to release all my stress mentally and physically.  As soon as I enter, the instructor turns on some soothing music to set the tone, dims the lights and has us lay down flat on the ground.  For the first few minutes, she says amazing things like, "The truth is already within you," or "Forget all your worries, you will find a way."  

Once my mind is relaxed, the instructor moves into the physical aspect of the class, instructing us how to transition from one pose to the next.  She also gives us tips on how to make the poses more or less difficult based on our abilities.  The instructor will go around the room and give individual feedback as well.  You will immediately feel your body lengthen as you complete pose after another.  

Once the class is over, your whole body and mind feels rejuvenated, even better than a 60-minute massage.  Personally, this 8:00 pm Yoga session is so crucial to my regimen because I'm an insomniac.  It helps me rid me of all my stress, understand that I need to sleep opposed to stressing out about every worry as I lay in bed.  However, it's a great way to start your day, completely rejuvenated and ready to tackle the day; or a great way to revive your producutivity mid-day.  Great thing that the YMCA of Greater Boston offers free Yoga classes scattered all throughout the day for members!   

Now it's time for you to try a class!

 

Author: Robin S.

 

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