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Old 01-11-07, 07:47 AM   #1
j.foster
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Looking to get into Yoga, how best to start?

From all I've heard about the benefits of Yoga I'd like to give it a try to increase my flexibility and improve my posture/core strength. I understand it can help a lot in these areas as well as with my breathing which I know I need to improve, I've also heard there are several different forms of Yoga. Which one would be most suitable and how is best to go about starting it? What equipment will I require?

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Jonno

Edit: I also meant to ask, are there any potential negative effects of Yoga? Can it be damaging to joints or could you cause yourself awkward strains?
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Old 01-11-07, 07:56 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by j.foster

Edit: I also meant to ask, are there any potential negative effects of Yoga? Can it be damaging to joints or could you cause yourself awkward strains?
If done correctly, none. Breathe, don't bounce and don't do anything that hurts.

I would start at the library. Pick up a couple of books, try a few moves, and you'll have more specific questions from there. I would stay away from expensive Yoga for weight loss studios.

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Old 01-11-07, 10:48 AM   #3
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Check out your local library, they may have a dvd you can borrow.
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Old 01-11-07, 05:25 PM   #4
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My healthcare provider has classes at half price for members, may want to check yours. I do Pilates (similar to Yoga) for the same reasons, it gets you to focus on breathing, stretching, and improving core strenght which are good for cycling as you tend to hunch over, not breath deeply enough, and core helps with power. Either is fine, I think it's personal preference. The only equipment you need typically is a mat may be provided or cost $20 and comfortable clothes you can move in.
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Old 01-11-07, 08:05 PM   #5
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You might try cyclo-core and cyclo-zen. Both are targetted at improving what you want to improve, and zen has a fair amount of yoga in it.

I haven't gotten that into yet because of some medical issues, but for most cyclists the workouts will seriously kick your butt. I have found the flexibility stuff very helpful.
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Old 01-11-07, 10:24 PM   #6
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Just go to a beginner class somewhere and see if you like it.

If you're starting out uninjured, chances of injury are pretty low, unless you do tons and tons of yoga and/or constantly ignore pain caused by certain stretches.

Don't worry about the various types until you've done it for awhile. The only exception is "Bikram," which you should likely avoid anyway -- it's a strenuous workout in a hot room, very structured and "un-Yoga like."
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Old 01-11-07, 10:47 PM   #7
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I've studied Iyengar yoga, which is a form of hatha yoga. It is very focused on proper posture, and not injuring onesself. One tends to do a few asanas very thoroughly in Iyengar as opposed to a whole bunch quickly. They also employ the use of props, so as to maintain posture even if one is not flexible enough to get there right away. Over time, people find they can do more without depending on the props as much.

I've studied more generic hatha yoga in the past, and I'll never go back to it.
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Old 01-11-07, 11:09 PM   #8
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Hatha yoga is supposed to be one of the easier ones.

In the beginning, all you need is a large towel. After a class or two, you might want to get a yoga mat, some blocks, and a band. If your class has "nap time" (a relaxation thing with an Indian name), you might also want a large blanket, and maybe even a pillow.

I've got everything I mentioned above, except the pillow (I use my blocks for that), and I can tell you right now, it's not very expensive. My blankets are $10 fleecy Walmart blankets, and I picked up my set of yoga stuff there as well for maybe $15-20.
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Old 01-17-07, 09:46 AM   #9
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If you are already pretty fit, I would seriously recommend starting with Ashtanga first. Ashtanga is different than other schools of yoga because it concentrates on moving through a series of poses in a relatively quick sequence, not doing 4 poses an hour (an over simplification). It will be a little more familiar to you in the sense that you are doing many poses and it's easier to pay attention. Once you get the breathing and can focus on the positions, then I would move into the other, slower forms of yoga.

Also, while it is perfectly fine to learn yoga from a DVD, I would really recommend going to a class so you can see how the positions are supposed to be done. You need those corrections at first otherwise you won't get them.
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Old 01-17-07, 10:33 AM   #10
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+1 on the ashtanga.

if you can't go to a class... then i recommend dvd's over books.... you can look up yoga on the internet to read more about the poses... i'm not a big yoga fan... but if i do it... i do ashtanga! the slow ones bore me to no end....

you most definitly need a sticky mat (yoga mat) or your feet will slide.... and if you aren't very flexible... at least one block... but that's it! that's all you need!
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Old 01-17-07, 01:42 PM   #11
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DON'T INJURE YOURSELF

I recommend going to classes until you know you are doing the asanas correctly. If not, you may not get maximum benefit from them, and worse, injure yourself. After you've done some muscle memory, it should be safe to practice at home.

If you get a dvd, watch it in it's entirety FIRST before trying to follow it. Because of the various positions you will find yourself in, you will not always see the TV, and from some asanas, if you attempt to crane your neck to see the TV, you may hurt yourself or at the very least, you will not recieve the full benefit of the pose.

Yoga has many great benefits, enjoy the journey!
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Old 01-17-07, 07:28 PM   #12
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+1 on checking your local library. I'd recommend this book as a starter (my library had it):
Journey into Power, by Baron Baptiste
It has an athletic/fitness orientation, and is geared toward people new to Yoga. It's based on Vinyasa Yoga, and it contains a program that, if you do all of it, gives a pretty good total body stretch, work-out, and relaxation. He says the total course should take 90 minutes, but it generally takes me closer to 2 hours... I don't rush. And I do it 3 times a week. I also don't turn the thermostat up... just do it at room temperature. He's right though, your muscles relax better in a warm environment.

I started with sun salutation series 1 and 2, adding a subsequent groups every couple of weeks or so, as I became more comfortable with what I was doing. (But *always* finishing with shivasana, you'll understand after you start ). If you just do sun salutation series 1 and 2, you get a pretty decent total body stretch in about 20-30 minutes. Search the web for more information. I found the Yoga Journal web-site very helpful, particularly to get more detailed descriptions of the postures, but nothing beats a good Iyengar book for that, IMO. If you don't have access to a class, you may want to get a DVD or two just to see some examples. (Yoga Complete for Athletes is a good one, with kind of an Iyengar-esque approach.) The Yoga Journal web-site also has a few online videos.

Finally, go slow and use props as necessary... you'll make faster progress. You can *really* injure yourself, and your back is nothing to take unecessary risks with. I went too intense at first and pulled my ITB band, it's slowly getting back to normal, but it's taken months.

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Old 01-18-07, 12:08 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by ericgu
You might try cyclo-core and cyclo-zen. Both are targetted at improving what you want to improve, and zen has a fair amount of yoga in it.
+1

I bought both of these and use them often. It has made a huge improvement in my endurance, power, strength and mental toughness. I just got into cycling (more seriously) the beginning of September and I did my first century on New Years day and do a hilly metric century (or close to it) every weekend. May not be for everyone but I like the variety of workouts; core strength building, flexibility. And the Yoga-Spin routine kicks my a$$. My wife gave me $hit when I bought them she goes to yoga classes at the local gym and now does some of the routines on Cyclo-Zen when here favorite instructor is not going to be there.
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