Skip to main content

Yoga For Beginners

Nov 22, 2010 09:49PM, Published by Anonymous, Categories: The Look




Recent surgery on my foot that required two weeks of enforced bed rest propelled me to further explore yoga to see whether it could offer me more than just stretches and relaxation. I’d heard that there was a spiritual side to yoga, and that it could be vigorous and demanding, but so far both these aspects of the discipline had eluded me. Now I was on a quest—to see what it could offer me as my foot healed.

So here I was, massaging my toes and regarding them with new respect.

Vinyasa yoga turned out to be a good place to start. The flow involves moving in rhythm with your breath from one pose—or asana —to another, in time to music. The goal is to eventually memorize the sequence so that your attention can turn inward. I struggled to follow the teacher as she took us through the classic Sun Salutation and other poses with names like Cobra, Warrior 1, and Warrior 2. By the time the class was finished I was starting to enjoy myself.

I decided to try some other types of yoga and related classes.

Iyengar yoga holds a respected place in the world of yoga. Based on the teachings of the yogi B.K.S. Iyengar, this style is primarily concerned with bodily alignment, or the precise way your body should be positioned to obtain the most benefit and avoid injury.

Before class the teacher told me that Iyengar emphasizes the creative use of props—blocks, bolsters, blankets, chairs, and even the wall. Practitioners also hold poses for longer periods than in some other styles of yoga instead of moving quickly from one pose to the next.

During the class the instructor moved among the students and made small adjustments to our poses. I discovered how small shifts in my weight could make a difference in the effectiveness of the pose.

My mood lightened even more when the instructor shared some insight: the longer you work and persist, the less effort is required.

Hmm. I was starting to understand a little bit more of the mystery.

 



Next, I was ready for something gentle and focused, something more meditative. Kripalu [pronounced kruh-pol-o] yoga was ideal. It’s a style of yoga that incorporates breathing, philosophy, and meditation. The teacher read a short piece about being positive to use as our inspirational focus. At the beginning of the class I noticed how she emphasized the breath, when to breathe in and when to breathe out, but it was hard to keep up with the rhythm.

There are eight limbs to yoga, we were told, and the poses are only one. The others are the yamas and niyyamas (dos and don’ts), the breath, stilling the mind, concentration, and meditation, all of which lead to samadhi, or a state of oneness.

If I was looking for help with stilling my mind, tai chi seemed a logical next step. This ancient Chinese practice teaches mental focus while emphasizing coordination and balance. The goal is to cultivate and transform the chi energy inside us. At its core is the principle of yielding softness on the outside with strength and power on the inside. It’s all done standing up—with no floor work.

Although you move slowly in tai chi you are moving continuously over an extended period of time, explained the instructor at a Friday evening class. There are definite aerobic benefits. You focus on how your body moves, so it becomes a form of moving meditation. This crowds out any distractions, so for people who find meditation difficult, tai chi is a great way to still the mind.

Unlike yoga classes, where the participants are mostly young females, there were equal numbers of men and women at the tai chi class, and a mixture of ages. We gathered, barefoot, on the padded red carpet and were led through some gentle warm-up exercises—shaking our hands and swinging our bodies around. So far, so good. “This is easy,” I thought.

But as we began the movements—with exotic names like White Crane Spreads Its Wings and Cloud Hands (the classic gestures of the hands that you see in the movies)— I soon realized there were not going to be any breaks or rest periods. By now the continuous exertion was beginning to take its toll. My hands began to feel strange, as if they were moving through silky water instead of air. I had to stop a couple of times to rest.

Halfway through the class we divided into advanced and the rest. Naturally, I joined the rest. The advanced group went through a full cycle of movements, 72 in all, moving together in unison—like Chinese line dancing. My group performed a shortened version of 18 movements. We were assured that even though the moves were difficult for beginners, once we had mastered them we would feel an urge to do more and would be eager to move on to “the 72.” This seemed to me as remote a possibility as climbing Mount Kilimanjaro naked.

Now I was ready for something even more challenging: hot power yoga. This vigorous style of yoga is conducted in a room heated to 95 to 100 degrees Fahrenheit. Warm muscles can stretch further than cooler ones can. And the high temperature promotes profuse sweating, which supposedly helps to rid your body of toxins. This style of yoga was developed by Bikram Choudhury, an India-born teacher from Beverly Hills, and is so new and different that it’s still somewhat controversial in the yoga world.

I found a local hot power yoga class that turned out to be the most physically challenging of all the classes I had been to so far. I barely managed to keep up with the group as they went through a vigorous routine of advanced poses. The teacher was gently encouraging, even as I flapped around like a fish around the bottom of a boat. Twice I started to feel faint and had to briefly leave the room to cool down.

After the class I sat outside in the relative cool of the midmorning shade with a couple of the other students. The thing was—I felt terrific! Alison, a composed young woman I met there, told me how yoga had changed her life, helped her face personal challenges, and brought her equilibrium. “It worked for me,” she said.

Yes, I thought. It’s working for me, too. I wiggled my toes. They still couldn’t move separately, but I was going to keep trying.



thrive


  • Raspberry and Strawberry seasons have begun! Come pick your own at Linvilla Orchards!  General H...


  • David Rogers' Big Bugs at Tyler Arboretum

    08/21/2017
    09:00AM — 06:00PM

    Exhibit opening day: June 3, 9 am - 6 pm Exhibit continues until August 29 They’re BIG, they’...


  • Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage School of Real Estate prepares each student not only to pas...


  • Join the fun and learn what the "RAVE" is about. Turning Leaf Wellness Center, LLC offers a week...


  • Kids can cook! One week cooking camp!

    08/21/2017
    09:00AM — 12:00PM

    Join the fun and learn what the "RAVE" is about. Turning Leaf Wellness Center, LLC offers a week...


  • Turning Leaf Wellness Center, LLC offers a weeklong cooking camp from 9am-noon for children ages ...


  • Emily's Produce Farmer's Market

    08/21/2017
    09:00AM — 06:00PM

    Enjoy local farm fresh fruits, vegetables, dairy, meat, eggs & more! Enjoy a homemade lunch or b...


  • Two Paths

    08/21/2017
    09:00AM — 04:00PM

    The Galleries of Quiet Waters Park will host an exhibition featuring the watercolors and drawings...


  • Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage School of Real Estate prepares each student not only to pas...


  • ‘En Blanc et Noir’

    08/21/2017
    09:00AM — 11:00AM

    As beautiful as a color-laden photo can be, there is something to be said about removing the dist...


  • Log Canoe Racing: Photographs by Morris Ellison

    08/21/2017
    09:00AM — 05:00PM

    Opening in conjunction with the 30th annual Antique & Classic Boat Festival, Log Canoe Racing: Ph...


  • Summer Group Show

    08/21/2017
    09:00AM — 05:00PM

    Our Summer Group Show includes a large variety of styles & media with work by new artists & Galle...


  • Toddler Time

    08/21/2017
    09:30AM — 10:30AM

    Children ages 18 to 36 months (with caring adult) enjoy a variety of developmentally-appropriate ...


  • Babies in Bloom

    08/21/2017
    09:30AM — 10:30AM

    Babies from birth to 18 month (with caring adult) enjoy songs, action rhymes and playtime while b...


  • Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage School of Real Estate prepares each student not only to pas...


  • James Bond Wore the Quartz Revolution

    08/21/2017
    10:00AM — 04:00PM

    James Bond Wore the Quartz Revolution—a brand new exhibit—will challenge what visitors think they...


  • Toddler Time

    08/21/2017
    10:00AM — 11:00AM

    Children ages 18 to 36 months (with caring adult) enjoy a variety of developmentally-appropriate ...


  • Backyard Birds & Birdhouses

    08/21/2017
    10:00AM

    Opening reception May 20 in conjunction with the Delmarvalous Festival The beauty of nature is j...


  • Revival

    08/21/2017
    10:00AM — 05:00PM

    In celebration of NMWA’s 30th anniversary in 2017, Revival presents contemporary sculptors and ph...


  • Patriot Nations: Native Americans in Our Nation’s Armed Forces tells the remarkable history of th...


  • River Arts Photo Club Show

    08/21/2017
    10:00AM — 05:00PM

    Recent works of the local photographers.


  • Ken Karlic Exhibit

    08/21/2017
    10:00AM — 05:30PM

    Meet the Artist: Ken Karlic Enjoy a live Painting Demonstration! Live guitar music by Tim ...


  • Creepy Crawlers Preschool Gardening

    08/21/2017
    10:00AM — 11:15AM

    Hands-on environmental education for our youngest crowd!  Creepy Crawler gardening classes are op...


  • In the Tower: Theaster Gates

    08/21/2017
    10:00AM — 05:00PM

    Over the past decade, American artist Theaster Gates (b. 1973) has explored the built environment...


  • Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage School of Real Estate prepares each student not only to pas...


  • June Schwarcz: Invention and Variation

    08/21/2017
    10:00AM — 05:30PM

    June Schwarcz (1918–2015) is considered one of the most innovative enamelists working in the late...


  • President John F. Kennedy’s administration coincided with a golden age of photojournalism in Amer...


  • Weekly Fine Art Classes

    08/21/2017
    10:00AM

    Chesapeake Fine Art Studio offers top-quality art classes in a variety of media every week. Study...


  • Plein Air Judges, Unite Exhibit

    08/21/2017
    10:00AM — 05:30PM

    Troika Gallery will exhibit the paintings of two Plein Air Judges, West Fraser and Kenn Backhaus,...


  • Under One Sky

    08/21/2017
    10:00AM — 05:00PM

    In this joint exhibit, Carol Donahue and Gail Higginbotham, reveal their artistic similarities an...


  • Matthais Mansen: Configurations

    08/21/2017
    10:00AM — 05:00PM

    Matthias Mansen is a contemporary Berlin-based artist (b. 1958) whose work advances the long trad...


  • Nicolas Party: Sunrise, Sunset

    08/21/2017
    10:00AM — 05:30PM

    Sunrises and sunsets are among the only moments in the day when we are reminded, as the sun appea...


  • Representational Ambiguity

    08/21/2017
    10:00AM — 05:00PM

    Ken Karlic's watercolors can best be described as sophisticated chaos, as an accurate drawing giv...


  • Equilibrium: Fanny Sanin

    08/21/2017
    10:00AM — 05:00PM

    This exhibition explores her methodical process through a selection of some the artist’s earliest...


  • Ai Weiwei: Trace at Hirshhorn

    08/21/2017
    10:00AM — 05:30PM

    One of China’s most provocative living artists, Ai Weiwei has spent nearly four decades exploring...


  • Parallax Gap

    08/21/2017
    10:00AM — 05:30PM

    Parallax Gap transforms the Renwick Gallery’s Bettie Rubenstein Grand Salon into a visual puzzle....


  • Retrievers: The Hunter’s Best Friend

    08/21/2017
    10:00AM — 05:30PM

    The Retriever in its many breeds–Golden, Labrador, Chesapeake, Flat Coated, and more–have been th...


  • "Ken Karlic: Watercolor Expressions" Show

    08/21/2017
    10:00AM — 05:30PM

    In honor of the 27th Annual Art Walk McBride Gallery is hosting a watercolor painting exhibition,...


  • The Academy Art Museum is pleased to present its Annual Members’ Exhibition. This exceptional tra...


  • Four Centuries Walking Tour

    08/21/2017
    10:30AM — 12:45PM

    A period dressed guide in colonial attire will lead you through Annapolis’ historic district and ...


  • Toddler Time

    08/21/2017
    10:30AM — 11:30AM

    Children ages 18 to 36 months (with caring adult) enjoy a variety of developmentally-appropriate ...


  • DISCOVER ANNAPOLIS TOURS

    08/21/2017
    10:30AM — 03:00PM

    Join us on a trolley tour to explore the back streets, marinas, and points of interest in Annapol...


  • Preschool Storytime

    08/21/2017
    11:00AM — 12:00PM

    Children ages three to five (with caring adult) build the early literacy skills needed for school...


  • New York Artists' Guild

    08/21/2017
    11:00AM — 04:00PM

    Exhibition will be held in the Studio Gallery.


  • Harbor Queen Cruises

    08/21/2017
    11:00AM — 04:00PM

    Watermark immerses people in the history, culture and fun of the Chesapeake Bay region and Harbor...


  • Eighth Annual Crab Week

    08/21/2017
    12:00PM

    Let’s get crackin’! Join Hyatt Regency Chesapeake Bay Golf Resort, Spa and Marina for the resort’...


  • Open Portrait Studio

    08/21/2017
    01:00PM — 03:30PM

    Mondays, 9:30 a.m. - noon The group meets weekly with a live model. Model fee collected weekly....


  • Four Centuries Walking Tour

    08/21/2017
    01:30PM — 03:45PM

    A period dressed guide in colonial attire will lead you through Annapolis’ historic district and ...


  • Schooner Woodwind Solar Eclipse Viewing Cruise

    08/21/2017
    01:30PM — 03:30AM

    Sail away and watch the event being called the “Great American Eclipse”. While we are not in the ...


  • PAWS TO READ

    08/21/2017
    03:30PM

    Practice your reading by reading to a visiting therapy dog! Please call the library to book a 15-...


  • Spa Creek Tour on Miss Anne

    08/21/2017
    03:30PM — 08:30PM

    This 40 minute Annapolis boat tour is for those who want to get close to the water on a smaller, ...


  • Phillips Early Bird Special

    08/21/2017
    04:00PM — 05:00PM

    Catch the early bird each day at Phillips for special savings on our buffet and menu dining at Ph...


  • Chicken & Rib Night

    08/21/2017
    05:00PM — 10:00PM

    Get a free draft beer and special sauces only available Monday nights! Smoked Fried Chicken: ...


  • Girls’ Woodshop Program

    08/21/2017
    05:30PM — 07:30PM

    The Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum in St. Michaels, Md. is hosting an evening Girls’ Woodshop pro...


  • Yoga en Español

    08/21/2017
    05:45PM — 06:30PM

    Yoga en Español Práctica Suave . Mujeres Sólo Todos los Lunes 5:45pm - 6:30pm Precio: $10 9...


  • Book Club

    08/21/2017
    06:00PM — 07:30PM

    We will be discussing A Man Called Ove by Swedish author Fredrik Backman. This feel-good story ab...


  • Waxahatchee

    08/21/2017
    07:00PM

    Out in the Storm, Katie Crutchfield’s fourth album as Waxahatchee and her second release with Mer...


  • August Wine Dinner

    08/21/2017
    07:00PM

    Summer dishes paired with prophecy wine! Welcoming wine: Pinot Grigio First Course: Mexican shr...


  • Mainstay Monday

    08/21/2017
    07:00PM — 08:30PM

    Join us for another Mainstay Monday! These eclectic evenings happen every Monday night. Each is h...


  • Come out to Camden Yards to cheer on your favorite Baltimore Orioles as they play the Oakland Ath...


  • Come to Prince George's Stadium to cheer on the Bowie Baysox as they play the Reading Fightin Phils!


  • Join host Norm Amorose every Monday at the Market Street Public House at 7:30 p.m. for a fun-fill...


  • Brett Dennen

    08/21/2017
    08:00PM

    That notion is at the heart of Por Favor, Dennen's intimate and revealing new album that Elektra ...


  • Federal House Bar & Grille Acoustic Shows!

    08/21/2017
    08:00PM — 12:00AM

    Tuesday, August 1st - Jordan Sokel - Acoustic Solo Wednesday, August 2nd - Kajun Kelley - Acoust...


  • Lunes Latino

    08/21/2017
    08:00PM — 11:00PM

    Every Monday night, guests can enjoy live Latin music to salsa dance to. Want to learn? Come e...


  • Every Monday night at Stan and Joe's on West Street in Annapolis join Kevin "The Hurricane" Lebli...


  • Timmie Metz

    08/21/2017
    10:00PM — 01:00AM

    Enjoy music from Timmie Metz every Monday at 10 p.m.


  • Few festivals last 25 years, even fewer last that long with a committed devotion to excellence an...


  • With tons of summertime fun for the whole family, and lots of seasoned crabs, the eighth annual C...


  • CRAB Regatta

    08/19/2017
    12:00PM

    The most fun regatta on the Bay will be the Boatyard Bar & Grill CRAB Regatta to benefit Chesapea...


  • With tons of summertime fun for the whole family, and lots of seasoned crabs, the eighth annual C...


  • Sixth Annual Puppy Plunge

    08/20/2017
    12:00PM — 04:00PM

    Join the SPCA of Anne Arundel County for their sixth annual Puppy Plunge on Sunday, August 20th, ...


  • Anchors Away! Sunset Cruise

    08/23/2017
    06:00PM — 09:00PM

    Join the Wellness House of Annapolis for Anchors Away, a sunset cruise on the Severn aboard Water...


  • Maryland State Fair

    08/24/2017
    10:00AM — 10:00PM

    Celebrating its 136th year, the unFAIRgettable Maryland State Fair returns Thursday, August 24th ...


  • On Saturday August 26th, 11 a.m., the historic Christ Church Port Republic will hold the 151st Ca...


  • Jim Breuer

    08/26/2017
    06:30PM

    With over 20 years of stand-up comedy experience, Jim Breuer remains one of today’s top entertain...


  • Jim Breuer

    08/26/2017
    09:30PM

    With over 20 years of stand-up comedy experience, Jim Breuer remains one of today’s top entertain...


  • The 42 annual Annapolis 10 Mile Run, presented by the non-profit Annapolis Striders, is scheduled...


 

 

Towne Social