Yoga originated in India more than 5,000 years ago. It was first mentioned in the Vedas, sacred Indian texts that later formed the basis of yoga and Hinduism. The early, classical yoga practices gave rise to the hatha school of yoga, which is still popular today and on which dozens of yoga styles are based.
Choose your favourite style of yoga
Choose a yoga class that suits you, depending on your goal. Don’t base your decision on what you are good at, but think of what you would like to achieve. One style can help make you more flexible, another focuses on physical fitness, and yet another on your breathing.
Many yogis come to the sport to relax or destress. Research by the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health in the US showed that yoga decreases blood pressure, reduces anxiety attacks and depression, and fights fatigue. Yoga is much more than executing asanas (specific yoga poses), it is an actual lifestyle that teaches you to pay more attention to your breathing and sensory perceptions. You can also use this experience outside the yoga class, of course, and apply it to everyday life. After all, yoga is mostly also a form of meditation and a mindful way of focusing on yourself.
The right clothing
These days, there is so much choice in yoga wear. Don’t choose based on design alone, though. Make sure to also consider the type of yoga class you will be taking. For instance, clothing that is too warm is not a good idea if you are going to be doing hot yoga, because your body will become overheated unnecessarily.
Cotton is a great option for a low-intensity yoga class, whereas bamboo is a better choice if you are taking a more strenuous class. But if you are going to work up a real sweat, choose a dry-fit material. Proper yoga pants are highly recommended in any case, because they have a minimum of seams, buttons, zips or tight waistbands. All of these things can get in the way during exercises and distract you from the essence of your yoga practice. For women, a well-fitting, supportive bra is a must.
Empty stomach or not?
Most people prefer doing yoga on an (almost) empty stomach. A full belly just gets in the way and feels uncomfortable. You can breathe more easily on an empty stomach because your lungs literally have more room to expand. What’s more, the rest of your body isn’t working flat out to digest your meal, which means it can use all of its energy to do the exercises. It is also best to limit the amount you drink right before and during your yoga session. Afterwards, you can drink as much as your body needs.
Namaste and hopefully, see you soon!