By Sam Navalta, public relations advanced diploma student, Humber College
Yoga has blown up in recent years as one of the biggest health and fitness trends amongst legions of green-juice-drinking, organic-gmo-free-loving, vegan-gluten-free-dieting health fanatics…or so it seems. Yoga has been around for thousands of years but within the past few years or so, commercials and advertisements featuring young flexible women are all over the media. Studios specializing in different types of yoga are all over the city of Toronto. Every gym imaginable offers yoga in some form or another. Yoga is everywhere; you know this, but something you may not expect is: Yoga is for everybody.
I’ve been practicing yoga for about six years now. I’ve tried all kinds at different studios around the city and what I’ve come to realize is that it can be made to suit anyone looking to improve their health, mentally and physically.
When I first tried yoga, I hated it. My impressions of yoga had formed even before I had ever stepped foot into a yoga studio. In my mind, yoga was elitist and I was too intimidated to try it. It’s only for a bunch of bendy hippies with extra time and money on their hands, right?
When I walked into my first class, which was actually at a local gym, I quickly saw that maybe I did not know much about yoga after all. This was a beginner yoga class. The room was large, dimmed and walled with mirrors. The class comprised mostly of women, as I had expected, but they did not fit into the stereotypical yogi image that I had crafted in my mind. These women were different ages, ethnicities, and body types.
As I carefully watched the other women strategically lay down their mats and set up props, I considered leaving. I had no idea what I had actually gotten myself into but was stopped by a young girl. She was no older than 17, but must have noticed my discomfort and told me not to worry.
I was completely charmed by the kind advice I had just received. Yoga was already feeling more accessible. By the end of the class I was feeling relaxed and I felt as if yoga was something I could actually do. The instructor was very informative and hands on, guiding every student through each posture. I was able to work at a level that I felt comfortable with.
I was hooked. I’ve been practicing almost daily ever since.
Turns out yoga is not an exclusive practice suitable for the young, the thin and the rich. From my experience, all kinds of people do yoga. There are different types too. Hatha, ashtanga, power, yin (all words that may not make sense to a yoga beginner) are just a few of the different types of yoga available to any practitioner.
There are different types of yoga to suit different needs and body types. It is a self-serving practice that can be tailored to your fitness level and degree of flexibility. I’ve researched and visited some local studios to find a few great hotspots for your first try at yoga.
Hot Yoga Wellness, Moksha Yoga and Yoga Tree have multiple locations scattered across the Greater Toronto Area so chances are, you’ll be able to find one close to you. The beauty of these studios is that they all offer a huge range of yoga classes throughout the day and offer intro specials to newbies. Check ‘em out!
These studios provide a description of classes on their website and list their level of difficulty. Try out a beginner class! I would suggest a non-heated class if it is your very first time. Heated classes are HOT and may not be comfortable for the novice.
I hope that you’ll give it a try. It has changed my life and I hope that you’ll give it the chance to change yours too!
What’s stopping YOU from getting your yoga on?