Asanas are a sequence of poses designed to increase strength, flexibility and endurance. Each pose is linked in a continuous flow of movement. Poses are held for variable lengths and are modified based on the participant’s level of experience.
Breath is one of the most important components of Yoga classes. All asanas -poses- are connected with the breath throughout yoga practice. Ideally one breath per movement is recommended to either energize or calm the body.
Ujjayi (Victorious Breath)
A type of pranayama -breathing- in which the lungs are fully expanded and the chest is puffed out. To begin Ujjayi Breath, breathe through your nose slightly deeper than normal. With your mouth closed, exhale the breath through your nostrils while constricting your throat muscles. If you are doing this correctly, you should sound like Darth Vader.
Savasana (Deep Relaxation)
Asanas were originally practiced to prepare the body for stillness during seated meditation. Although some aspects of this theory remain true, yoga practice has evolved throughout the years and now the physical practice is considered just as beneficial for health as the meditation itself. Every Yoga class ends in Savasana, which involves participant lying on the back with eyes closed. The purpose of this pose is to “absorb” the relaxation benefits of the practice and to provide a sense of calmness and tranquility to the mind in order to promote a longer and more meaningful meditation.
Namaste is commonly said at the end of yoga class by the instructor and the students as a respectful greeting. Nama means bow, as means I, and te means you. Therefore, namaste “I bow to you.”
Most Yoga classes include a short period of seated meditation either before or after the yoga practice. If you are new to yoga, meditation will be typically guided by your instructor. One of the end goals of meditation is to promote relaxation and internal peace.
Now grab your yoga mat and go enjoy your first yoga class. Namaste!
Yours in Health,