How does it work?
Sivananda Yoga uses the five points of yoga to improve health and well-being:
- Exercise (Asanas): This increases circulation and flexibility, as well as makes improvements in concentration
- Proper Breathing (Pranayama): By connecting the body to the solar plexus where potential energy is stored, energy can then be released
- Relaxation (Savasan): Physical, mental and spiritual relaxation results in a healthier body and mind
- Diet (Vegetarian): This food grouping has a positive effect on the body and little negative effect on the environment
- Positive thinking and meditation (Vedanta and Dhyana): Relieves stress and helps with that all-important concentration
Sivananda Yoga generally involves warming up with a 'sun salutation', a gentle aerobic exercise to get you going. You’ll then learn and practice twelve classic yoga poses, while maintaining full yogic breathing as you enter and leave each position. As you advance and become more experienced, you’ll gradually be able to hold the headstands, shoulder stands and bridges for longer - improving flexibility and strength. Each class will then end with some relaxation techniques in the form of deep breathing and gentle exercise to allow the body and mind to open and relax. Perfect for unwinding at the end of a busy day, Sivananda Yoga is all about keeping calm from the inside out.
Typical classes will last up to 90 minutes, and it’s advisable to wear loose and comfortable clothes as it’ll make all that bending and stretching that much easier. It's always handy to have your own yoga mat too if sharing the same pad as your peers puts you off.
Is it for me?
Yoga is a holistic exercise that can benefit anyone, and so all ages and fitness levels are welcome. The emphasis on deep breathing is particularly good for asthmatics, and sending oxygen into the muscles can help to make you stronger. Sivananda Yoga is also brilliant for high stress levels, as it will help calm you down and wash away your worries by keeping your mind and body focussed on relaxing.
Though it might not look very physical, yoga is a fantastic exercise for your internal organs- the weird twists and bends in the various poses ensure a good blood supply and massage to all of your important body parts. The exercise on the joints also makes it a great remedy for arthritis sufferers, and its calming qualities can lower blood pressure too.