Yoga is an ancient practice stemming from ancient India. There are many forms of yoga and yoga has evolved significantly over the years. The term yoga in the western world often refers to the modern form of hatha yoga, or yoga as an exercise. Within this modern type of yoga there are multiple forms of yoga. One of the most popular forms of yoga is Vinyasa yoga or “flow” yoga. This type of yoga is great because it is accessible to all skill levels making it easy to pick up, but difficult to master.
What to expect in a Vinyasa yoga class?
If you are just starting yoga, it is likely that your first class will be a vinyasa flow class.
Vinyasa can be translated to “arranging something in a special way”. This makes sense considering how you are constantly moving your body to create special poses. Vinyasa flow classes consist of various poses built around the chaturanga sequence.
The entire practice is centered around your breath and each motion is made during each inhale and exhale of the breath. Coordinating one’s breath to their movements is critical to mastering the art of vinyasa flow yoga, and actually all types of yoga for that matter.
The main sequence of poses in vinyasa is the Chaturanga to Upward-Facing Dog to Downward-Facing Dog. This sequence is the foundation of the vinyasa flow yoga and will be frequently used during a class. You will be asked to enter poses like warrior one and warrior two before and after a Chaturanga sequence. This form of yoga gives the individual a lot of freedom to make the practice as challenging as they want to. This makes vinyasa flow yoga a great type of yoga for beginners, but also a challenging yoga practice for expert yogis.
What Will I Need for My First Yoga Class?
In order to properly be prepared for your first yoga class you will need a few things.
First, you will need to dress accordingly. You will need to wear workout clothes, and clothing that will wick sweat easily. All forms of yoga, especially hot yoga will force your body to sweat a lot and you need to be prepared for this.
You will also need to bring plenty of water in a water bottle. You want to make sure you do not get dehydrated during your practice, so always bring a water bottle.
Another item you will need is a yoga mat. You can get an introductory yoga mat online at Amazon. If you can’t afford a yoga mat, do not worry, many yoga studios will let you borrow one.
The final thing you might need is blocks. For beginners, it is especially important to use blocks when getting in and out of poses. Blocks help prevent injury and strain on your muscles and are extremely useful in certain poses.
Vinyasa flow is just one of the many forms of yoga available. If you're new to yoga, I'd suggest first asking yourself what you're looking to gain from practicing yoga. Is it more for exercise and fitness or do you want to focus more on the meditative aspects of the form? The answers to these questions will help you guide as you move forward.
If you can have the time and money, I'd recommend trying many different types of yoga to see which one suits you best. Each type of yoga offers a unique experience and can often be further customized to fit your specific goals.
Regardless of which you choose, always remember to stretch before class and drink plenty of water. Enjoy your practice and most importantly, have fun!