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Wednesday, 5 March 2014

Workout Wednesday: Yoga

It's that time of week again and we have tried out another class for you! Not seen this before? That's ok, check out our introductory post here. So far we have tried Zumba and Boxercise but this week it is Yoga, so read on to find out what we thought...

Yoga is a combination of stretches, posture exercises and core strength toning. Whilst maintaining a variety of stable movements and positions it also encourages better breathing techniques. The idea of the class is also based on meditation so creates a relaxed environment where you can focus on your body and de-stress.

Becca's Experience:

Time: 1 Hour

Whenever I’ve heard people talking about yoga in the past in my head I’ve had a little image of a person sat down with their legs crossed, eyes closed and hands together. This, until the other day, was the extent of my yoga knowledge.

The class started off with a few sitting poses which were pretty relaxed and actually didn’t really seem to be doing much, but, I thought at least by the end of the class I should be feeling pretty relaxed.

We were then given bands to stretch around our feet and back as we sat down. From this position we did a bit of rolling around - why not, before tightening the bands just below our hips for the rest of the class to assist with posture and stretch.

We then moved on to standing poses and this is the point where I realised I was completely wrong about yoga. While at the start we had been doing simple moves that didn’t really pose much of a challenge at this point things got a little bit harder and I had to focus to avoid falling flat on my face. There was a lot of leaning, and stretching and moving of legs and I was just wobbling all over the place, but thankfully I managed to stay upright.

As the class progressed so did the moves and by the end we were doing some stretches that I could feel were really helping- YAY, I love it when you know it’s doing you some good!

It is quite a slow moving class, but that’s just the nature of yoga. It was relaxing, and while I didn’t come away feeling my muscles were tired or aching I would recommend the class to anyone who is looking for gentle stretching, to improve their posture or balance, or even if you just want to chill out for an hour - then yoga is the class for you.

Meli's Experience:

Time: 1 hour

I’ve always wanted to try yoga as I get stressed a lot and although exercise is a release, sometimes you just need to relax and clear your mind. I have also never had a bad recommendation about the class. Having done Pilates before, I expected it to be similar, using a little less strength with more focus on meditation.

The class started with easy stretching so you released the muscles. Often when exercising you don’t stretch enough. And by doing these stretches I could feel that I needed to stretch more in future to avoid feeling stiff or tense.

We spent half the class doing positions lying on our floor, back and also cross-legged. The plank was also thrown in there a few times (such a sneaky move that finds its way into every class!). Real emphasis was on the breathing as the instructor constantly repeated inhale and exhale so that our breathing was in time with the moves. Focusing on breathing was surprisingly good for my balance, concentration and keeping my heart rate down.

I’ll be honest, after the floor positions I was feeling lazy to start the standing positions. However, like before the moves were simple and easy to follow – if you have good balance that is. The moves did develop into harder positions which you probably haven’t found yourself doing before.

This is not the usually way I like to work out as I prefer to get a bit sweaty. But it is something I want to incorporate into my exercise as I felt relaxed, stretched out and generally detoxed. Yoga is what you make it, whether you take it easy and gently do each exercise or put all your strength into positions. If you do it regularly I would imagine your core strength and flexibility would improve significantly!

These obviously aren't photos from our class (if only we had weather like this!) but they are the same positions we ended up in and reflect the atmosphere well.


FUN: ★★☆☆☆


Have you been to a Yoga class? Let us know what you thought in the comments below!

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