September is National Yoga Awareness Month, so what better time to try a relaxing new fitness routine? Interest in yoga has grown across the country in the past year and a half, as people worked hard on their mats from the safety of their living rooms to assuage some of the pandemic stress. Now that classes are fully back in session, it’s a great time to head to one of the Hancock Wellness Center locations for a class!
The word “yoga” refers to the Sanskrit word “Yuj,” which means “to join” or “unite.” At its roots, it’s considered a spiritual discipline that brings harmony to the mind and body. As yoga has become more and more popular here in the West, it has evolved and changed to meet the needs of a vast population of people. Some prefer to stick with the true roots of yoga, seeking it out as a spiritual discipline, while others focus more on the physical aspects of the practice. Either way, you can’t deny the inner work that shines through when you become still on a yoga mat.
I’m not flexible enough
There can be many barriers to someone trying out a yoga class for the first time. Greta Wilson, a yoga instructor at the Hancock Wellness Center in McCordsville, says that the No. 1 reason keeping people from taking their place on a yoga mat is a fear of flexibility. Indeed, it can be intimidating to walk into a new fitness class not knowing exactly what to expect. Wilson says the best remedy for that is to speak to the instructor at the end of a yoga class to get a feel for what they offer.
If you don’t think you’re physically able to perform the complicated yoga poses you see in the media, think again. The poses you’ll find in a class are a far cry from contortion. Instead, yoga instructors will always offer safe alternatives and props to ensure your safety and comfort during a class. “The cool thing about yoga,” says Wilson, “is that it’s easy to modify, scale down or change direction depending on how people are feeling.” It’s wise to pay attention to your own body’s capabilities; yoga isn’t supposed to be competitive but, instead, help the practitioner feel more stable and balanced in their own physique.
What if I’m a newbie?
Yoga classes that take place in Hancock’s Wellness Centers, and most gyms for that matter, differ from those offered at yoga studios. Yoga found in a gym will generally be beginner-friendly and won’t have you twisting into a pretzel. For beginners who are new to the flow of a yoga class, this is great news. In fact, Wilson says that she generally has one new person in every yoga class she teaches, so beginners have nothing to fear!
Wilson, like many instructors, will read the room before deciding what poses are best for a class that day. She will consider any beginners as well as the varying array of needs present in the space. An instructor’s goal is to make her students feel successful in their practice and confident in their bodies. Yoga, as it turns out, is an incredibly accessible tool toward better fitness in both mind and body, no matter if you’re a beginner or an experienced yogi.
Which yoga class should I try?
Hancock Wellness Centers offer a variety of yoga classes, with everything from Yoga Fit, Aqua Yoga, restorative, and traditional flow classes. In general, you can probably find at least one class a day if not more at your nearest wellness center. Aqua Yoga is a great therapeutic tool for gaining balance and coordination with the help and support of water. Those with joint problems such as arthritis or beginners to yoga benefit most from this class.
If you’re looking for something that focuses more on the fitness aspect of yoga, Yoga Fit is for you. Restorative classes are great for those who need something slow to help calm the nervous system. If you have a special need such as pregnancy, you may want to notify the instructor ahead of class so they can help you modify poses. Wilson teaches Wake-Up Yoga classes every Friday at 8 a.m. at McCordsville, where she has been teaching for more than five years. What a great way to start the weekend!
Yoga is a great tool for gaining strength, flexibility, and stability within the body. It’s also a vital part of getting to know your inner self and minimizing the swirl of human emotions and thoughts. By getting still on the yoga mat and focusing your attention on various parts of your body and breathing, you can calm your nervous system and allow your inner light to shine through. As Wilson says, “It’s all about working on the inside so you can work on the outside.” Now is a great time to try out a yoga class at Hancock Wellness Centers. Get on the mat!