Why a private yoga class?

Why a private yoga class?

Since I returned from teaching in Bali I’ve had many bookings for private yoga classes. So I’ve decided to give more focus to my private clients, being their personal yoga instructor, health coach and supporting them in achieving their personal goals. Private yoga lessons offer students the ability to focus on personal goals or concerns, flexibility, strength and meditation.

Why a private yoga class?

  • Answer is obvious: Like personal training, one-on-one yoga sessions are tailored to your specific needs. Private yoga instruction allows you to experience the benefits of yoga in a safe, personalised way.

Who needs a private yoga class?

  • Newbies and beginners, individuals who may be afraid of trying Yoga, or think “I’m just not flexible” or “I’m terrible at yoga.

  • Advanced students of yoga who could be frustrated that their class is more focused on beginner teachings. And while yoga is an inclusive practice, your growth and advancement may have become stagnant while teachers are forced to help new students.

  • People who are recovering from an injury or need special attention.

  • Busy people who don’t have time to get to a studio class. 



How to get started?

  • Firstly, say hello and express your interest by emailing me at: namaste@yuliayoga.com

  • Then we can arrange time and location that is suitable. I will send you a short questionnaire about your preferences to get to know you and so we can prepare for our first lesson. 

  • We will take a simple yoga class based on different assisted yoga postures. You can choose to be adjusted verbally or by hand, to have a gentle and slow or a dynamic and challenging class, to focus on certain goals such us breathing, posture, alignment challenges and meditation etc.

How it works? 

  • Before we start our first practice, it’s a great idea to take extra 15 minutes before the class to chat and introduce ourselves. The first class will be a little longer at 75 minutes, but will not cost any more.

  • You don’t need to bring anything. I have everything what you need for practice: a mat, blocks, straps. But feel free use your own if you wish. 

  • If you enjoy the class we can arrange time for another class or series of classes. To feel the full benefits from yoga practice, you should know that yoga is a systematic practice to enhance your wellbeing and it requires consistency and regularity. I would recommend you to take package of 5 classes for discounted price and I will create personal plan depending on your needs and goals. Once or twice week and see how you go :) 

  • You may prefer one-on-one classes, or possibly your spouse or friend may want to join the class as well?

What location?

  • You can choose a location and time that suits you. You may prefer having your class in the comfort of your own home? So you don’t need to worry about driving, getting to a specific place on time, parking, getting a ticket if your meter runs out etc.

  • Or you can meet at my place, located in Takapuna (North Shore). I have outdoor and indoor options for you to choose from.

  • At a hired place. I can arrange a neutral place for us such as studio or hall for an extra cost.

  • At public places, parks or beaches.

How much it cost?

  • 1 person: $70 for 1 hour, or $90 for 1.5 hours.

  • 2 people: $100 for 1 hour, or $130 for 1.5 hours.

 

Discounts are available for a series of private classes (duration of each class is up to you):

  • 1 person: $300 for 5 classes.

  • 2 people: $420 for 5 classes.


After holidays body detox

After holidays body detox

Summer holidays - BBQs, fries, beer and wine, ice-cream and cake. Going out with friends and having a big dinner with family. Such a great and fun time. While you are enjoying this time, your body will start to let you know that it needs a break. You may feel sluggish and bloated, with low energy, or maybe you even gain extra weight. This is the first signal that your body is full of toxins. Removing toxins from your body is one of the most important things you can do for maintaining optimal health and energy levels, or losing body fat (if that’s what you want). 

Starting the year with a detox is a great way to reboot your system, revitalise your body, and feel renewed for the year ahead...

A detox doesn’t always mean a rigorous diet, juice fast, or ingesting a combination of nauseating herbs. You can detox through yoga too, with a practice that’ll leave you feeling cleaner on the inside and more energetic on the outside.

According to a study, you can help boost your detox functions by practicing cleansing yoga sequences and following a simple plant-based diet during a multi-day detox plan.

Yoga poses like the ones suggested here can help support the natural detoxification process by increasing circulation, compressing and twisting internal organs and encouraging relaxation.

These poses usually consist of a variety of twisting poses and prone poses.

1. Twists

Isolate and compress digestive organs to squeeze them.

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2. Inversions

Aid in flushing your system, as it removes stagnant blood flow, toxins, and obstructions throughout the entire body, while rejuvenating the mind.

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3. Prone poses

Provide a nice stretch to the navel region and aid in detoxification by massaging this vital area of the body, increasing blood flow and removing obstructions.

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However, doing only certain yoga poses from time to time might not help detoxify organs. 

Consistent yoga practice leads to self-awareness, mindfulness, acceptance and compassion. You will gravitate towards healthier living habits if you consider yoga seriously. Yoga is great to get a good workout, sweat and boost metabolism.

Here are also some of the benefits of yoga for detox:

  • Increased energy and vitality.
  • Restored hormonal balance.  
  • Improved deep sleep. 
  • Glowing skin and shiny hair.
  • Better respiratory function.
  • Improved digestion and purification.
  • Reduced body fat and cholesterol levels
  • Stronger immune system.
  • Feeling amazing every day.

I hope this post will inspire and motivate you to become the happiest, healthiest and most fabulous version of yourself in 2018.

Enjoy!

Corporate & Workplace Yoga

Corporate & Workplace Yoga

Since I started teaching yoga in the workplace and listening to feedback from students, I have seen the positive benefits these classes can bring about. Improved wellbeing, mental clarity and reduced stress are just to name a few.

It’s a busy world we live in today, with increasing demands on employers and employees alike. We work long hours, often hunched over a computer. We skip meals, keep a phone glued to our ear, and rarely leave our workspace for a break. Before long, these work habits begin to take their toll on our bodies and minds in the form of stress, tension and sickness. And while a mild amount of stress can help us meet deadlines, too much stress, or constant stress, can interfere with numerous physical and mental abilities. How we respond to stress can have a significant impact on our total health. 

Yoga can remove stress from the body and mind and consequently improve health. 

It is becoming increasingly popular in the workplace. Many companies now recognize the value of yoga and are offering classes to their employees as part of their stress reduction and corporate wellness programs during the workday. Offering Yoga to their employees is a low-cost, preventive and holistic healthcare measure, making the discipline a resonating success with human resource teams looking for strategic returns on their wellness investments.

According to Yoga Journal, such companies include Chase Manhattan Bank, Forbes, HBO, GE, Wall Street brokerage firms, and dozens of Fortune 500’s like Nike, Apple, Harpo, Motorola, Google, Forbes, and General Motors.

Here’s an interesting article! Have a look what Forbes says about corporate wellness: 

https://www.forbes.com/sites/theyec/2013/09/12/five-reasons-corporate-wellness-is-more-important-than-ever/#658cb31f7e66

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Whether self-employed, a small-business owner or a large corporate, both the business and its employees (even if that’s just you) will benefit by incorporating yoga into your daily work routine and wellness program.

Benefits of Corporate Yoga for EMPLOYEES:

• Reduces stress, anxiety and fatigue

• Reduces muscle tension and pain

• Increases energy and vitality

• Improves memory, mental clarity and concentration

• Improves posture, muscle tone and flexibility

• Improves overall health, resulting in less sick-days and absences

• Reduces back, neck and shoulder pain

• Increases motivation and efficiency

• Improves morale in the workplace

* improved the ability to keep a cool head under stressful situations

* improved self-confidence and success rates

Benefits of Corporate Yoga for COMPANIES:

• Increased productivity

• Decreased health care premiums

• Reduced staff turnover

• Reduced employee absenteeism

• Higher job satisfaction amongst employees

• More attractive to potential employees seeking employment with your company

• Reduced corporate healthcare costs

• Support the general well-being and atmosphere in the workplace 

• Help employees develop professional relationships with one another and improve communication

 

"If you have happy, healthy employees, that has an impact on staff motivation, engagement and retention," says Dianne Hol, director of HR at healthcare company Roche.

 

I believe in the power of yoga to improve people’s relationship with their minds and bodies, and hope to encourage employers to bring some wellbeing throughout yoga to their business and employees to use this opportunity for improving their mental and physical health. 

As for me, I also found that holding classes in the workplace brings me extra satisfaction and extends my own practice and experience. Building close relationships with regular students is one of the greatest perks of being a workplace yoga teacher.

If you’d like me to come and teach at your workplace, please contact me namaste@yuliayoga.com or by calling 021629565.

Secret yoga ingredients for busy minds

Secret yoga ingredients for busy minds

Feeling overwhelmed all the time?

Our multi-tasking, multi-screen existence scatters our attention and fires up our stress responses, keeping us in a constant, low-level “fight or flight” state. We live inside our heads, straining our senses and craning our necks towards an endless carousel of urgent demands. Slow down for a moment. Inside the eye of the storm, there’s a quiet space waiting for you.

How can yoga help the busy mind?

The mind has a tendency to disconnect from the body and create worry. How often do you find yourself in a state of anxiety as you relive a past event? Do you feel overwhelmed as you make a mental to-do list for tomorrow while your mind races from one thought to the next? Over time, we begin to live from a place of habitually induced anxiety and tension. Through focused movement, breathing, and meditation, our minds are encouraged to relax and to connect with our bodies and the present moment.

Let's have a look closer!

Physical (Asana) practice

The physical practice of yoga provides the opportunity to draw the mind in, by connecting with (and concentrating on) the alignment of the body. This is especially true with balance poses, which require full attention to the mind, body, and breath. There isn’t any room for to-do-lists or hashing out past events, or even future “what ifs” when one is totally focused on balance. Of course, each practice is different and some days we are more focused than others, but relief can be obtained simply by showing up to practice on a regular basis.  

Breathing (Pranayama) practices

Practicing slow and deep breathing creates an environment in the body and mind for deeper calm, a more profound sense of letting go, and deeper relaxation. Concentrating on your breathing during the practice also helps you stay in the present moment and takes your thoughts away from the daily routine. The quality of our breath relates to the quality of the mind. The pace and depth of the breath reflect our mental, emotional, and physiological state. The next time you are scared, angry, or anxious, notice the quality of your breath. It will most likely be quick, short, and shallow. On the reverse, when you are calm and deeply relaxed, notice the quality of your breath. Here you will more likely experience your breath as relaxed, long, and deep. 

Mediation practices

Meditation offers a chance to quiet the body and mind, moving deeper into a state of relaxation and silence. Simply put, meditation is about allowing enough space in your head for your mind to settle and then resting in a place of peace that will naturally arise. There are many forms of mediation from which to choose. You might try different approaches until you find what works best for you. The key is to make time every day to draw your senses inward and connect with your breath and yourself.

Yoga and meditation can help you step back from habitual thinking and emotions, allowing more clarity and perspective. As we practice being present through movement, slow deep breathing, and meditation practices, our mind begins to calm and our body starts to relax. We experience a calmer state that can spill over into our daily lives, causing an experience of ease in every aspect of life.

The more time we spend in this place of deep relaxation and present moment awareness, the more likely we are to act with the qualities of understanding, compassion, and patience.  

There are even more benefits!

With regular yoga practice, the mind becomes calmer, centered and focused. As a result, productivity and efficiency at work increases and success rates are higher. You might be surprised to see how you can end up finishing some work in about 1-2 hours, which might have taken you double the time earlier. And the effort involved: just 30-60 minutes of yoga, 2-3 times a week.

So now that we have opportunities, either at work or outside, to practice yoga and make a choice for good health, let’s get going. Invest 21 days in yourself (3 weeks is enough to form a good habit ). Take at least 15 minutes off every day to visit a space of peace and deep rest. In time, you might just find that your daily practice has become your life-long companion.

Why do we practice Surya Namaskar (Sun Salutation)?

Why do we practice Surya Namaskar (Sun Salutation)?

Surya Namaskar? Again??? Variation A, then B? Tree-five times each???

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Why do we repeat it several times per class sometimes?

Let's see closer what it gives us, our body, mind and spirit.

 A good cardiovascular workout, Surya Namaskar, literally translated to sun salutation, these postures are a good way to keep the body in shape and the mind calm and healthy.

Well-known yoga expert Sunaina Rekhi says, ‘the cyclic movements of surya namaskar with its controlled breathing, back bends, forward bends, invigorating and calming postures, offers many health benefits.’

Here they are:

1. Helps lose weight 

When done at a fast pace, Surya Namaskar can give you an excellent cardiovascular workout helping you to lose weight. The postures will help stretch your abdominal muscles while helping you shed pounds around your belly. The movements will also help in improving your metabolism.

2. Helps strengthen muscles and joints

Surya Namaskar offers you a good way to stretch and strengthen your muscles, joints, ligament, as well as the skeletal system. The movements can also help improve the flexibility of your spine. When you perform the postures, your limbs become symmetrical helping your internal vital organs to function better.

3. Gives glowing skin

Surya namaskar improves your blood circulation that aids in bringing back the glow on your face; preventing the onset of wrinkles, making your skin look ageless and radiant.

4. Ensures a better functioning digestive system

The sun salutation will help in the smooth running of your digestive system.  These yoga poses will help increase the blood flow to your digestive tract resulting in better functioning of the intestines. The forward bend pose will help increase your abdomen space which will aid in releasing the trapped gases from your system.

5. Helps cope with insomnia

You can improve your sleeping patterns by the practise of surya namaskar. The asanas will help calm your mind, giving you a good night’s sleep. This will ensure that you do not resort to drugs to give you a restful sleep.

6. Ensures regular menstrual cycle

Surya Namaskar can also be beneficial for women who are suffering from irregular menstrual cycles as it helps regulate it. Regular practice of the movements can also help in easy childbirth.

7. Brings down blood sugar levels

According to our expert, the movements of the sun salutation also aid in bringing down your blood sugar levels and help keep heart diseases at bay.

8. Keeps anxiety at bay

It helps improve your memory and nervous system and also helps calm you down and get rid of anxiety. It normalizes the activity of the endocrine glands, especially the thyroid gland.

9. Helps detox

Due to the active inhalation and exhalation process, the lungs are thoroughly ventilated and the blood remains oxygenated. This also helps in detoxifying one’s body by getting rid of carbon dioxide and other toxic gases.

So are you ready for one more round of Surya Namaskar? =)

Lime Avocado Coconut Smoothie Bowl

Lime Avocado Coconut Smoothie Bowl

Yoga and healthy food go together like peanut butter and jelly. I always crave super healthy and nutritional recipes in my regular weekly diet.

Being that breakfast is the first meal of the day, I believe that it should be fresh, light and well-balanced… but still has to give you enough energy for the morning ahead.

My breakfast of choice is a Smoothie Bowl! I love to experience it with different combinations of ingredients, but a Lime Avocado Coconut Smoothie Bowl is definitely my favourite. 

This Smoothie Bowl is vegan, dairy-free, gluten-free, sugar-free and absolutely delicious. Plus it’s simple, requiring just 15 minutes to make. I’ve provided a basic list of ingredients for you to start with, so you can then experiment and make this bowl your own, by garnishing with your own toppings.

Preparation: 15 mins

Serves: 1 

 

Smoothie base:

* 2 tbs whipped coconut cream

* 1/2 avocado 

* 1/2 lime 

* 1 banana 

* Almond or soy milk (amount depending how thick you want your smoothie)

 

Garnish (any topping what you prefer: fruits, berries, nuts, seeds, granola etc).

My choice:

* kiwi

* banana 

* goji berry 

* chopped peanuts

* coconut flakes 

 

Instructions:

1. First whip coconut cream (better if you prepare it the night before to save your time in the morning ): 

* Refrigerate can of coconut milk or coconut cream, 8 hours or overnight.

* Place metal mixing bowl and beaters in the refrigerator or freezer 1 hour before making whipped cream.

* Open can of coconut milk, taking care not to shake it. Scoop coconut cream solids into cold mixing bowl. Reserve remaining liquid for another use.

* Beat coconut cream using electric mixer with chilled beaters on medium speed; then turn to high speed. Beat until stiff peaks form, for 2 to 5 minutes. Optional: add maple syrup and vanilla extract to coconut cream; beat for 1 minute more. Taste and add more syrup if desired.

* Best to use it immediately, but it can be stored in an airtight container for up to three days. It will harden in the fridge, so simply blend with a hand mixer on high speed until creamy again.

2. Puree the smoothie ingredients until very smooth and creamy.

3. Pour into bowls or glasses, then top with the garnish ingredients (if desired).

Serve cold and enjoy 😊 

How yoga can help trim your waistline

How yoga can help trim your waistline

Yoga is a great way to change things up, tone your entire body and lose weight. If you are looking to focus on your waist and belly, even better! Yoga is the perfect way to trim down. 

Here are my best tips for using yoga to reduce belly fat and trim your waist, including a few practice tips.

1. Create a healthy lifestyle
Yoga is more than just the static poses you do in class, known as asanas. The ideas of yoga encompass so much more than the physical practice. Yoga inspires you to practice an overall healthier lifestyle, one focused on becoming an amazing version of you. If trimming your waistline and reducing belly fat is part of that, yoga can be a great help!

2. Mindful eating
Some yogic-eating ideas: favour raw and fresh foods, reduce the amount of sugar and alcohol, choose local-grown and seasonal produce, eat slowly and a little less than you need to feel full, but not too little. You should always listen to your body when trying to change your eating habits. There is no point in going vegan when you feel that your body needs some meat every now and then just to function properly. You can tell that you're eating the right way when it makes you feel happy and balanced. Experiment and you're sure to find what's yours.

3. Improve the posture
Look at your whole body, not just your belly. If you round your upper back – and almost anyone who uses a computer, cooks, or drives a car does – then your belly is likely to stick out. Practice backbends and chest opening poses to help stretch and strengthen your upper back, and watch your “belly fat” magically disappear.

4. Reduce stress
It might surprise you, but stress is associated with larger waist size. This is because it increases the hormone cortisol, which is associated with weight gain around the belly. The other problem with stress is that it causes many people to overeat or reach for the snacks. Meditation and yoga are techniques that can help you reduce stress.

People sometimes wonder why waistline is so much harder to shrink than it is to lose weight in general. This is because waist size is linked to the hormones of cortisol and insulin, not just diet. If you understand this, you will realise that reducing stress can be a key factor in shrinking your waistline. 

5. Engage your center
Ok, you may have heard this tip over and over again, but that doesn’t make it any less effective. Best part is, it’s super easy!

During every yoga class, continuously keep drawing your belly to your spine. Engaging your core in every pose will help make your abs stronger and reduce fat around your belly.

6. Twisting poses
Twisting yoga poses massage inner muscles and organs, essentially wringing out toxins while bringing in a rush of fresh oxygen and nutrients. Yoga twists stimulate digestion and circulation. When you're in a twist, you're essentially compressing your digestive organs – placing them under weight.

This will cause a lack of circulation. When you release your twist there will be a rush or fresh blood that will flood your digestive organs. Fresh blood flow equals fresh oxygen and nutrients. Twisting will increase blood flow to the digestive organs, increasing their ability to function. Incorporating twists into your routine will not only aid your digestion, they will also sculpt your oblique muscles and tone your abdominals, creating a beautiful waistline.

7. Plank and low plank
Plank and low plank poses – these poses are a total-body fat burner. If you only do one core exercise a day, hold this one for one minute (or more if you can!). Make sure you’re actively pulling your core up and in to activate your transversus abdominus (low core). If you feel your low back collapsing, don’t be afraid to lower your knees – you’ll still get the core benefits and you’ll be protecting your lower back from injury.

8. Stretch the abdominal muscles
When you're practicing yoga you usually perform a lot of different stretching exercises involving different groups of muscles (abdominal and oblique muscles). They not only make your core strong but also stimulate blood flow in your abs, to help tighten and reduce your waistline.

Especially effective are backbends. 

Or try Bow pose (Dhanurasana). 
This pose can strengthen the abdominal muscles. Rocking back and forth in this pose will stimulate the digestive system and fight constipation, while allowing the body to stretch. 

... and Wheel pose (Chakrasana). 
This is ideal pose for strengthening the core and tightening abdominal muscles. It offers a full body stretch that increases energy and promotes digestion. Your body will generate a lot heat and that heat will burn fat. 

9. Forward bends
Uttanasana (Standing Forward Bend). This yoga pose will give completely compress the abdomen area by forwarding bending, which leads to burning of fat around waistline area. Thus, the compression given during this asana helps in toning the tummy and strengthen your back muscles.

Paschimottanasana (Seated Forward Bend). This yoga pose is one of the elementary poses of Hatha Yoga, Along with burning of your belly fat and tummy toning also it stimulates the center of your solar plexus, the forward bend boosts your energy level and stretching to the hamstrings, thighs, as well as hips gives elasticity to your lower body parts.

10. Balancing poses
When practicing balancing poses, there are three main things to remember. The first is your drishti, or focal point. Second is your breath, steady and even throughout the entire pose. Third, and most important to this topic, is to keep your core engaged.
A strong core is instrumental to balancing poses. The best part is that the more you practice balancing poses, the stronger your core will be. And we all know that a strong core means a beautiful belly.
While the main goal of yoga may not be fitness or weight loss, it is certainly a great tool to keep your body toned and in shape.

And one last but important piece of advice:
Eat less sugar and fried foods and eat more fruits and vegetables. Drink less canned juices and fizzy drinks and drink more water. Take care of your body, it's the only pace you have to live.

I’d love to hear how these tips work for you and any other tips you have!

The benefits of regular Yoga practice

The benefits of regular Yoga practice

If you need a few reasons to try Yoga, here they are! Have a read and maybe it encourages you to try Yoga or do it more regularly.

1. Improves your flexibility
Improved flexibility is one of the first and most obvious benefits of yoga. During your first class, you probably won't be able to touch your toes, never mind do a backbend. But if you stick with it, you'll notice a gradual loosening, and eventually, seemingly impossible poses will become possible. 

2. Builds muscle strength
Strong muscles do more than look good. They also protect us from conditions like arthritis and back pain, and help prevent falls in elderly people. And when you build strength through yoga, you balance it with flexibility. If you just went to the gym and lifted weights, you might build strength at the expense of flexibility.

3. Weight loss
Regular yoga practice can influence weight loss, but not in the "traditional" sense of how we link physical activity to weight loss. 

Yoga is not a high intensity exercise, usually, but the classes run 60 to 90 minutes of continual activity, so your muscles are working the whole time, strengthening and lengthening, and doing core work through chaturanga and balance poses.

Also the researchers found a strong association between a regular yoga practice and mindful eating, which they did not find in other activities such as walking or running.

If your goal is faster weight loss, choosing one of the vigorous, flowing styles of yoga, such as Ashtanga, Vinyasa or Power Yoga, is the smart choice. ... You will burn calories, tone and stretch your muscles, and provide weight bearing exercise for your bones with these forms of yoga. 

4. Prevents cartilage and joint breakdown
Each time you practice yoga, you take your joints through their full range of motion. This can help prevent degenerative arthritis or mitigate disability by "squeezing and soaking" areas of cartilage that normally aren't used. 

5. Protects your spine
Spinal disks—the shock absorbers between the vertebrae that can herniate and compress nerves—crave movement. That's the only way they get their nutrients. If you've got a well-balanced asana practice with plenty of backbends, forward bends, and twists, you'll help keep your disks supple.

6. Improves your the health of your bones
It's well documented that weight-bearing exercise strengthens bones and helps ward off osteoporosis. Many postures in yoga require that you lift your own weight. And some, like Downward- and Upward-Facing Dog, help strengthen the arm bones, which are particularly vulnerable to osteoporotic fractures. In an unpublished study conducted at California State University, Los Angeles, yoga practice increased bone density in the vertebrae. Yoga's ability to lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol (see Number 11) may help keep calcium in the bones.

7. Increases your blood flow and increases your heart rate.
While not all yoga is aerobic, if you do it vigorously or take flow or Ashtanga classes, it can boost your heart rate into the aerobic range. But even yoga exercises that don't get your heart rate up that high can improve cardiovascular conditioning. Studies have found that yoga practice lowers the resting heart rate, increases endurance, and can improve your maximum uptake of oxygen during exercise.

8. Makes you happier
While it's not as simple as that, one study found that a consistent yoga practice improved depression and led to a significant increase in serotonin levels

9. Develops a healthy lifestyle
Move more, eat less—that's the adage of many a dieter. Yoga can help on both fronts. A regular practice gets you moving and burns calories, and the spiritual and emotional dimensions of your practice may encourage you to address any eating and weight problems on a deeper level. Yoga may also inspire you to become a more conscious eater.

10. Lowers blood sugar
In people with diabetes, yoga has been found to lower blood sugar in several ways: by lowering cortisol and adrenaline levels, encouraging weight loss, and improving sensitivity to the effects of insulin.

11. Helps you focus
An important component of yoga is focusing on the present. Studies have found that regular yoga practice improves coordination, reaction time, memory, and even IQ scores.

12. Releases tension in your limbs
Do you ever notice yourself holding the telephone or a steering wheel with a death grip or scrunching your face when staring at a computer screen? These unconscious habits can lead to chronic tension, muscle fatigue, and soreness in the wrists, arms, shoulders, neck, and face, which can increase stress and worsen your mood. As you practice yoga, you begin to notice where you hold tension: It might be in your tongue, your eyes, or the muscles of your face and neck. If you simply tune in, you may be able to release some tension in the tongue and eyes. With bigger muscles like the quadriceps, trapezius, and buttocks, it may take years of practice to learn how to relax them.

13. Gives you inner strength
Yoga can help you make changes in your life. In fact, that might be its greatest strength. Tapas, the Sanskrit word for "heat," is the fire, the discipline that fuels yoga practice and that regular practice builds. The tapas you develop can be extended to the rest of your life to overcome inertia and change dysfunctional habits. You may find that without making a particular effort to change things, you start to eat better, exercise more, or finally quit smoking after years of failed attempts.

14. Helps keep you drug free
If your medicine cabinet looks like a pharmacy, maybe it's time to try yoga. Studies of people with asthma, high blood pressure, Type II diabetes (formerly called adult-onset diabetes), and obsessive-compulsive disorder have shown that yoga helped them lower their dosage of medications and sometimes get off them entirely. The benefits of taking fewer drugs? You'll spend less money, and you're less likely to suffer side effects and risk dangerous drug interactions.

15. Benefits your relationships
Love may not conquer all, but it certainly can aid in healing. Cultivating the emotional support of friends, family, and community has been demonstrated repeatedly to improve health and healing. A regular yoga practice helps develop friendliness, compassion, and greater equanimity. Along with yogic philosophy's emphasis on avoiding harm to others, telling the truth, and taking only what you need, this may improve many of your relationships.

16. Maintains your nervous system and gives you peace of mind. 
It slows down the mental loops of frustration, regret, anger, fear, and desire that can cause stress.

17. Helps you sleep deeper
Stimulation is good, but too much of it taxes the nervous system. Yoga can provide relief from the hustle and bustle of modern life. Restorative asana, yoga nidra (a form of guided relaxation), Savasana, pranayama, and meditation encourage pratyahara, a turning inward of the senses, which provides downtime for the nervous system. Another by-product of a regular yoga practice, studies suggest, is better sleep—which means you'll be less tired and stressed and less likely to have accidents.

18. Boosts sexual performance
Studies have found that 12 weeks of yoga can improve sexual desire, arousal, performance, confidence, orgasm and satisfaction for both men and women. How? Physically, yoga increases blood flow into the genital area, which is important for arousal and erections, says Bleier, and strengthens the “moola bandha,” or pelvic floor muscles. Mentally, the breathing and mind control involved with the practice can also improve performance.

19. Increases your self-esteem
Many of us suffer from chronic low self-esteem. If you handle this negatively—take drugs, overeat, work too hard, sleep around—you may pay the price in poorer health physically, mentally, and spiritually. If you take a positive approach and practice yoga, you'll sense, initially in brief glimpses and later in more sustained views, that you're worthwhile or, as yogic philosophy teaches, that you are a manifestation of the Divine. If you practice regularly with an intention of self-examination and betterment—not just as a substitute for an aerobics class—you can access a different side of yourself. You'll experience feelings of gratitude, empathy, and forgiveness, as well as a sense that you're part of something bigger. While better health is not the goal of spirituality, it's often a by-product, as documented by repeated scientific studies.

 

Tips for beginners

Tips for beginners

1. A mat is only one thing you need to start (you can bring your own or use mats at the studio).

2. Simple comfortable clothing (any comfortable exercise pants or shorts, a shirt that is a little bit fitted) , bare feet or socks.

3. You don’t need to be super flexible and strong to do yoga. That’s why you come to yoga, don’t you? Be patient, keep practicing and everything comes in time.

4. Remember a yoga teacher is not doctor. If you have a medical condition, ask your doctor for advice about your practice.

5. Don’t eat for a minimum 2 hours before yoga practice (better if it is small healthy snack such as fruit, yogurt, light salad).

6. Best time for yoga is early morning, before breakfast or around sunset, just before dinner.

7. Challenge your limits carefully. Do only as much as you comfortably can do in the present moment and then stretch a little more to improve your body's flexibility.

8. Don’t compare yourself to other students in the class. Everyone has a different body and level of experience. Keep in mind - yoga is not a competition.

9. Breathe! Come out from the pose if you lose your natural breath.

10. Be a regular yogi. There's only one way to see the magic influence of yoga on your mind and body, which is to keep practicing.

11. Practice frequently. Little and often is more effective than occasional long yoga sessions.

12. Have sense of humor. Don’t take yoga too serious. Humility and an inner smile. It’s ok to be playful and laugh.

13. Ask questions. Perhaps the most important tip is to always ask questions when you don't understand something.

14.  Finally relax. You deserve. Don’t skip the final pose (Savasana) at the end of the class. Allow your body to absorb all benefits it received from your class and relax for 5-10 minutes.

15. Love your body - it can do amazing things. It will surprise you!