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Yoga for the Faint-Hearted

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To those who have never tried yoga, it may seem a daunting task. Scantily clad men and women with the ability to contort their body in seemingly impossible positions may be enough to put people off before they even attempt to try any of the postures.

Yoga is one of the oldest systems of self-development and its gentle approach can help even the most inflexible of bodies to gently yield and limber up. The key to Hatha yoga is that it is non-competitive and progress comes through practice rather than forcing the body into extreme positions when it’s not ready. Yoga is more than an exercise regime; those who study this discipline say that it simply becomes a way of life.

The effects are noticeable too. Stronger muscles, greater flexibility and an inner calm cannot help but be projected outwards. Family and friends may not be able to pinpoint the difference but they will gradually notice that there is something different.

The postures are called asanas and the breath is called pranayama, together they help the practitioner to relax the mind and body at will, have increased vitality, flexibility and feeling calm in a crisis. In today’s manic society, feeling calm and inwardly confident can help the student to survive life’s stresses and strains.

Yoga brings clarity of mind and confidence to the serious student who practices with focus and intent every day. The best time to practice is in the morning, although for many, the body seems stiff and achy in the early hours, so the yoga session can be adapted so that it suits the individual’s body and agenda.

There are no limitations as to who can or can’t practice yoga. The main ingredient required is intent and the desire to learn. Movement may be slow due to age or disability, but even with a minimum of movement being able to be achieved, progression is still guaranteed.

Ideally, it is beneficial for beginners to go to a class and therefore, experience expert guidance so that they know they have the correct alignment within each posture. The teacher will also explain the benefits of each posture and will show the posture in its early and more developed stages.

There are postures to avoid for specific conditions such as pregnancy for example so it is important to ensure that the teacher is aware of any conditions or illnesses and this then ensures the safety of the student.

The beauty of yoga is that it can be practice anywhere, at home, in the office, at a class, at the beach or even in the garden although some curious glances may be experienced. Whichever yoga discipline you decide to try and wherever you decide to practice, simply enjoy the sensation of working with your body, increasing flexibility and improving overall health.