Yoga has officially gone mainstream! More importantly, it’s become more diverse than ever now encompassing classes and approaches that can be embraced by absolutely anyone, regardless of their fitness or flexibility levels. Yoga is about more than simply mindful stretching, it’s also about clearing your mind and focusing on being present in the moment – a practice that can help relieve everything from depression to obsessive thoughts.
So if you’ve been toying with the idea of trying it out, there’s no better time to put it on your bucket list and dive right in.
Where to Begin
Yoga dates back to ancient times and has strong roots in religious practices such as Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism. Essentially, Yoga practices were about tuning out physical distractions to focus on spiritual, mental and physical transformation. As a result, it is a deeply moving and often powerful experience.
Over the years, the word Yoga has been co-opted and now encompasses a number of different disciplines and approaches, many of which have no active religious leanings. For Yoga purists, this has fired up some debate on whether or not these classes are Yoga in the truest sense of the word but that debate shouldn’t hamper your efforts to explore this popular form of physical movement and meditation.
Before you begin, you’ll need to decide which approach is right for you. This means considering what you want to gain from the practice and what you’re reasonably able to put into it. There are classes that focus on movements and techniques for every ability level so don’t be afraid to ask questions once you begin calling around or speaking to others already involved with Yoga.
Finding a Class
Finding a class is relatively easy for just about anyone living in or near a major city. Larger cities such as New York, London or Sydney will be spoilt for choice while others may need to be willing to travel. We’ve highlighted a few studios from around the world to give you an idea of what’s on offer.
Yoga With Olivia (East London)
Olivia runs her inclusive alignment based vinyasa flow classes on Old St in Shoreditch, with a mix of private, group and corporate classes available. Find out more about Yoga With Olivia here.
Holistic Yoga with Julia Moore (North London, UK)
Holistic Yoga and Yoga for Healthy Lower Backs is a therapeutic yoga style, focussed on back health and joint health. This approach is ideal for yoga students who get niggling aches and pains in their joints and muscles or for students who have suffered injuries (whether related to yoga or not). I’m also experienced in working with hyper mobility syndrome (EDS); fibromyalgia, MS, post natal recovery and recovery from cancer treatments.
Stretching People (North London + Retreats Abroad)
The Rose School of Transformational Yoga offers a variety of yoga and pregnancy yoga classes in North London as well as wonderful retreats and workshops in the UK and abroad.
Hazel Faithfull (Oxford, UK)
Hatha Yoga classes in Oxford, Saturday workshops around themes like Anaharta Chakra and Yoga Inside Out to build poses into deeper yoga with breath and relaxation.
Yoga With Granville (Manchester UK)
With over 40 years experience Granville is one of the leading yoga teachers in the Manchester area where he runs classes and workshops for all levels of ability. Corporate Yoga, and Yoga for Sports are two of the particular classes he offers.
Yoga Holidays and Detox Retreats (Europe)
Lauren from Yoga Detox Retreats runs wonderful, healthy and relaxing yoga holidays and retreats in Portugal, Italy and Turkey. For those who want to “cleanse, stretch, relax and enjoy a healthier and happier life” whilst taking a break, this could be a great addition to your bucket list.
Yogaview (Chicago, IL)
Yogaview founders Tom Quinn and Quinn Kearney trained with top name yoga masters like Sri K. Pattabhi Jois, Richard Freeman, and John Friend before opening their own studio in Chicago. They offer a mixed approach incorporating Ashtanga, Anusara, and Vinyasa flow.
Yoga Space (Sydney, Australia)
Owner Fiona Pullen and her team of instructors have become well known fixtures in the local Paddington neighborhood. The Yoga Space studio offers a tranquil respite from the bustling city life and while their focus is on Ashtanga, they also offer other approaches.
Urban Yoga (Melbourne, Australia)
What sets Urban Yoga apart from the rest? They combine Yoga with a true sense of community. Their weekly classes feature and hour of traditional Yoga practice followed by a dinner – all of which is included in their class pricing. So not only will you work in some Zen time, you’ll be able to connect with fellow practitioners right after.
Yoga Equipment, Clothing and more.
For those who are looking to practice their yoga moves outside of the classroom, Yoga Life Style has the equipment, books, posters and DVDs you need. Yes, this is ideal if you can’t always find the time to make it to class or would rather practice in the privacy and comfort of your own home.
Now that you have an idea of what’s out there, you should be ready to jump right in. One of the best things about Yoga is that you don’t need to invest in fancy clothes or equipment just to try it out. Yoga studios will offer blocks, mats and anything else you need as a part of the class. Show up in comfortable clothes you can stretch in and you’re good to go!
Yoga has been a popular and incredibly powerful practice for literally thousands of years. So take the plunge and find out what people have been talking and raving about for generations.
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