Friday 23 February 2018

Hurting?Yoga 101!


Like most other professions, being a massage therapist can be quite a physically demanding job.  After a long day’s work, I have a laundry list of aches and pains. Since  I can’t massage myself, sometimes it’s hard for me to book a last minute massage.  Especially with the few therapists that I trust to work on that laundry list. For me, the second best thing to a massage is a good ol’ yoga session.  I know what you are probably thinking (mostly because I thought the same exact thing for years).  Yoga is a trendy past time for Starbucks guzzling soccer moms.  The truth is that yoga has been in existence for thousands of years and is more then a good way to keep in shape.  For some it’s a way of life. A way to balance the body and the mind.  But more importantly it’s a great way to stretch all of those aching muscles.  After a good ninety minute hot yoga session, I feel like I just got a massage. The best part is you can take the most successful stretches home with you.  If the idea of it all still makes you nervous, here are a couple tips that will help you optimize your yoga session and ease your way up to becoming a yoga addict, just like those Starbucks guzzling soccer moms.

1. Drink Lots of Water: Drink water before, during, and after your yoga class. This will keep you good and hydrated, which is better for you and your muscles.

2. Breathe Correctly: Did you know there was a wrong way to breathe? Shallow, short breaths aren’t good in yoga or any other time for that matter. Make sure to take deep, long breaths throughout the class.  Breath through your diaphragm, meaning breathe so that your stomach (as opposed to your chest) moves up and down.

3. Focus On Yourself:  This will get easier as you become more familiar with the poses. Yoga is not a competitive sport. When you go into each pose stop when you feel a good stretch.  Everyone in the class is at a different level, meaning just because they can go farther, doesn’t mean you can or have to.  This is about you and your experience. If you know you have bad knees and you know that your knee doesn’t bend that way, avoid that pose ( for example: poses like “half pigeon” can be extremely dangerous for people with recent knee injuries).  For you beginners out there, “Child’s pose” is your best friend, and no one in the class (including the instructor) will judge you for skipping a pose.  Remember, this isn’t a form of exercise.  You are here to stretch and to balance your mind and body (aka de-stress).

Now where do you go? There are many places to practice here in Charlotte, NC, and most have classes that start as low as $5 a class or $39 unlimited yoga for your first month. Here are a few of my favorite (and cheap) places in Charlotte.

1. Yoga One in Plaza Midwood offers hot yoga ONLY (with exceptions to their pre-natal, silver, and kids yoga classes). Everyday they offer at least one $5 yoga class.

2. Be Yoga has two locations, one in the heart of Dilworth and one in South Charlotte on the corner of 51 and Carmel.  Lunch and Early Bird classes are only $7.

3. Y2 Yoga in Cotswold offers your first month unlimited yoga for $39. They also offer “good karma”  classes at $7 a class.  They also offer dharma classes where all the proceeds go to charity.

4. Laughing Buddha in SouthPark offers $5 Karma classes almost daily (schedule changes weekly).

Now, what do you bring to class? Most all yoga studios offer yoga mat rental (up to $3), so that you can try it before making any major purchases (target offers them for $12).  They also usually have cubbies that you can put all personal items in so you don’t have to take everything in with you. These items are staples:

1. Yoga Mat

2. Water Bottle

3. Yoga mat towel (for hot yoga)

4. washcloth (for wiping sweat)

Everyone has a first yoga class. You have to start somewhere to get somewhere, so don’t be intimidated. Just go. You won’t regret it.


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