Finding Fitness: Don’t knock yoga until you try them all

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Picture printed with permission from T. Richards:Yoga, for many, is considered more than just a way to exercise — it’s a lifestyle.

About five years ago, I decided to take my first yoga class. At first, I did not feel too excited about it, but my mother convinced me to go so I gave it a shot. I must admit that the first few classes were boring, but after two weeks I started loving it. There are multiple kinds of yoga and a seemingly infinite list from which you can choose your favorite, or favorites.

Yoga is not just a way to exercise, it is also considered a lifestyle. According to the Yoga Alliance, the largest nonprofit association in the yoga community, “Yoga is a system, not of beliefs, but of techniques and guidance for enriched living.”

Yoga welcomes all kind of students: whether you’re a beginner, intermediate or advanced yogi, you are free to choose the toughness level you prefer.

Marilyn Gordon, a yoga instructor at NSU, explained that students shouldn’t worry about choosing the wrong class for their level of expertise because there is something for everyone in each class.

“Here at the university, we don’t really have classes labeled as beginner, intermediate and advanced. As the instructor, you would have to assume you have all levels and you need to teach to all levels,” said Gordon. “Even if it is your first time in a yoga class, you should not be afraid to take part since classes at NSU are adapted for any student.”

NSU offers four different kinds of yoga, from Monday through Sunday, at various times. Here are some brief descriptions of each class, according to Gordon:

Yoga Stretch is a good opportunity if you are looking to gain flexibility and enjoy an hour of relaxation at the same time. This class often attracts beginners and athletes and is offered on Mondays and Wednesdays from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m.

Yoga Flow “connects from pose to pose to pose” as the name suggests. This class is a constant transition from one pose to another, focusing on movement and breath. Yoga Flow is available on Thursdays and Fridays from 6:45 to 7:45 p.m.

Zenergy Yoga, a title created by Gordon, is thought of as a stretch class for the first 30 minutes. “We stretch primary the lower back, which tends to be tight in the morning,” Gordon said. Then, for the remaining 30 minutes, this class becomes more of a Yoga Flow class, which tends to have an invigorating effect on people. Zenergy Yoga is a perfect example of how yoga teachers can give yoga classes their personal touch, and is offered from 6:15 to 7:15 a.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

Hatha Yoga, a class offered every Sunday from 9 to 10 a.m., is more of a stationary-style yoga class. Poses in this class tend to be very static. However, according to Gordon, yoga teachers can tweak their classes based on what they want to teach and based on their students.

Medical conditions are an important factor to keep in mind for anyone who wishes to try a new exercise or sport. Gordon insists that it would be a good idea for those who have sustained any injuries in the past to approach the instructor and explain their condition. The instructor might recommend certain poses during a yoga class for you to do, or those to avoid. Do not hesitate to communicate with the instructor, especially if it is your first time in their class.

Although you might already have a yoga class that you completely love, it is always fun and exciting to try new classes with new instructors. If you are unsure about trying yoga, I suggest that you give it at least one try. Who knows, you might find your next favorite hobby in a yoga class.

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