By Kimaya Singh
While practicing yoga is typically a safe choice for the general population, it is a good idea to take a yoga class before beginning at-home yoga training sessions. Yoga is designed to stretch muscles, loosen joints, and relax the body, and although it can be practiced by the healthy, injured, young or elderly, there are some risks involved.
Many poses, such as downward facing dog or the sun salutation series, are achieved by moving through a sequence of preparation postures. Some are not easy to perform, and others can cause injury or harm when performed incorrectly. Another problem with not attending a yoga class first is that being in a class informs the practitioner what moves are more advanced and what poses beginners can perform easily.
Especially as beginners, yogis need instruction on correct postures, ways of breathing, and methods of relaxation and focus. A person who begins yoga at home will not have the benefit of feedback on form or technique. Not only can this add up to possible injury, but it also means the beginner will not receive the full array of benefits that yoga offers.
Yoga Class Atmosphere
An additional reason to attend yoga class before practicing at home is that taking part in a class also gets a person out of the house and into a new atmosphere. It can be very difficult for someone doing yoga at home to fully relax; at home, the intentionally-structured calm and quiet atmosphere of a yoga class is missing. Even attending a yoga class one time can help practitioners prepare their space for a relaxing, at-home yoga session.
Although most yoga experiences are individualized, attending a class with other participants and seeing their satisfaction or progress tends to provide a separate, though just as satisfying, characteristic of yoga practice. Being around yogis who are highly energized and passionate about yoga can be the motivation a person needs to continue practicing. If, on the other hand, that person begins yoga at home, it can be easy to discontinue practice because of a lack of results or time.
Yoga At Home
While practitioners lose some benefits and face some inherent risks if they do yoga without attending a class first, at-home yoga can still be practiced safely. Beginners should take care to find a video with a complete session designed by a knowledgeable instructor, and should ensure they have all the proper equipment suggested by the video’s producers. Practicing with an experienced friend who can help with pose instruction is also a smart choice.
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