1. Yoga Flexibility
Am I Flexible Enough to Do Yoga?
Absolutely! Flexibility has been greatly overrated as an essential or necessary quality for a yoga teacher – or any yoga practitioner. Equally, or more important, are mindfulness, breath awareness, balance, strength, controlled movement, interoception and proprioception, to name some other valuable benefits. Our program is based on The New Yoga: From Cult and Dogma to Science and Sanity, by training director Rob Walker, which emphasizes the many proven benefits of yoga beyond flexibility.
2. Yoga Style
What is the best style of yoga to learn?
We recommend starting with an alignment-based style of yoga, sometimes called Hatha Yoga. One form of Hatha Yoga, Iyengar Yoga, has the most emphasis on alignment. You could start there and use it as a foundation to branch out into trying other styles such as Vinyasa, Hot Yoga or Ashtanga. Each has its attractions and limitations. Beware of getting caught up in the belief that any one style is perfect for you or everyone, or has all the answers. Some, such as Ashtanga are physically challenging and the repetition involved may lead to repetitive-stress injuries.
3. Yoga Online or In Person
Which is best? Doing yoga online or in person?
Doing yoga online has really taken off since Covid arrived, and it may be safer for those concerned about social distancing. From a learning point of view, you will adopt correct alignment far better, and avoid developing bad habits at an in-person class where the teacher gives general and individual feedback based on what they see in class. Make the effort to drive to a good in-person class. Avoid in-person classes with teachers who stand at the head of the class and talk you through poses with no feedback!
The Pros of In-Person Classes:
- You can ask the teacher questions and get immediate answers
- You can share info and get support from other students and make friends.
- You will receive immediate in person feedback from the instructor and other students
The Cons of In-Person Classes:
- You must drive or walk to the location of the teacher and studio
The Pros of Online Classes:
- Can be done anywhere with an internet connection
The Cons of Online Classes:
- Physically and temporally separated from the instructor and fellow students
- Harder to get feedback and answers to questions
4. Yoga Frequency
How Often Should I Practice?
Doing yoga once a week is better than nothing, but ideally you should practice three to five times a week. Doing yoga once a week is treading water and you will not progress much. One option, if finances are tight, is to take a class once a week and practice several times on your own. Also, think of yoga as a lifestyle choice: stay aware of your breath, posture and balance as you go about your daily activities. Do a few yoga poses at your desk every half hour or so.
A 2012 survey of 4,200 yoga practitioners at 15 Iyengar studios in the U.S. showed that people who practice at least five times a week have the best results in terms of overall health, sleep, low fatigue levels, and general sense of wellbeing.
5. Yoga for Back Pain
Is Yoga Good For back Pain?
Many people start yoga because it is recommended by their doctor to help their back pain. In fact, as many as one half of all working Americans admit to having back pain symptoms each year. So, the good news comes from researchers Arthur Klein and Dava Sobel, who interviewed 492 back pain sufferers. These interviewees experienced more than 100 different health modalities. Yoga was “the most successful of all approaches for non-incapacitated backpain sufferers.” Fifty one per cent reported dramatic long-term help and 42 per cent, moderate long-term help. Calming the mind and reducing stress was as important as the physical help.