By Elizabeth Henshall

Lead or Self Taught Yoga Sessions?  That is the Question!

Having a yoga instructor can really help to boost your yoga practice. They will demonstrate the asanas (postures) so you can really see what you need to be doing and they will help you by watching what you do and making small corrections to keep your body aligned and safe. However Yoga is a wonderful tool for stress management that you can learn on your own with the help of a DVD or book. It all depends on you and your learning style. Think first – what way have you learnt best in the past. Do you like to experience something by actually doing it and then you learn it well? Do you like to read something about the topic and that helps you learn best? Do you like to see something being done by someone else and then copying it which is where DVD’s are so helpful?

We each have our own best method of learning and the way you learn Yoga will be no different. Of course it can be nice to combine some of these and, for instance, go to a class and also read up on it. Or go home and do your daily yoga practice with a dvd to guide you. Yoga instructors come in all shapes and sizes and with their own preferred style. Typically yoga instructors are young women and they love what they do so you can expect an enthusiastic, warm and lovely class. Also fairly typical in the yoga instructor field are old women or men who have had some background in dance or sports and who then turn to yoga. These instructors can be very suitable for an older person as they understand a lot about changes in the body and have a wide range of information to supplement their yoga knowledge.

The most important thing about Yoga and finding an instructor or teaching yourself through some other method is that you enjoy what you are doing. If you like being part of a class because it gives you structure and some social contact – like a little oasis of peace that is just for you every week – then that will be the right choice for you. If you like to create a sense of peace and enjoyment through practising quietly at home in your own space at any time you fancy – then that is right for you. If you do it in a way that you don’t enjoy you will not carry on with the practice over a long period of time (which is when you really reap the benefits!)and your body will be stiff with resistance as you do it, which isn’t nice! So think about what works for you – then make that happen. Enjoy!

Restorative Yoga Workshops and more information about how to use this form of self healing can be found on Restorative Yoga and Yin Yoga. The Fifty, Fit and Fabulous programme provides a step by step approach to wellbeing through holistic care and is outlined on these sites.