The benefits of yoga are indisputable - students of any type of yoga will always comment on feeling an instant connection to their body and feeling greater fulfilment.
It might surprise some to learn that the health benefits are particularly profound and varied, and members of a yoga studio have the choice to get assistance with whatever style and needs they have from yoga.
Get into the groove of your yoga practice in a group space, regardless of your level
You could be thinking that yoga might help you pre pregnancy, so you try pre-natal yoga, or it may be that you just need experience training your physical self to be more stable, which will occur as teachers and participants find their zen. For this, you'd probably try vinyasa or another type of flow based yoga which helps create all-over stability and strength.
For those wanting to reach a calmer space and take an inward view to their practice and self, yin yoga stretches individuals out and is a type which is suitable for any level.
Likewise, anything with a strong meditation focus, including kundalini yoga can give studio members an enhanced experience which enhances your aura and soul.
For those looking for a studio with teachers that involve strength training in their classes, pilates will provide you with the desired experience.
This kind of exercise make you really feel your core, and can involve barre and reformer elements, which entail equipment usage, and all members of the class can use at once, making you feel like a team.
Finally, another kind of yoga which is one of the best means of improving wellbeing and keeping you happy is hot yoga or Bikram, which raise temperatures in the studio so that students stretch themselves out more during their yoga session, and sweat out impurities
Regardless of the style of yoga you're wanting, all sides of Melbourne have studios where you can find the training you want with a given yoga class. Such a variety of classes are particularly prevalent in the inner north, like Fitzroy, or inner south, like Prahran (or even online for that matter).
You will see through a quick online search that there are more formal studios, like Kaya or other international yoga brands, and more informal one-offs along any high street in Melbourne.
For practicality though, whether you live in the south or north of Melbourne, finding classes in the Melbourne CBD will be the most practical and have the most transport links, and will likely be in a location close to your work if that is in the CBD
Have a view of our guide to discover what type and location would best suit you to have a rewarding yoga experience in the Melbourne CBD, and where to book ahead to avoid disappointment (as bookings are often essential to make space for the correct number of students).
A brief history of yoga
Yoga as a practice has existed for nearly 5000 years and in quite a similar form to what we experience in our meditation and physical strengthening today.
It originated in northern India as a means of purifying the body and ridding it of toxins and negative energy, progressing through a pre-classical period, which denoted taking an inward view and sacrificing the ego through mediation and bringing attention to shifting actions, knowledge, and wisdom.
The classical and post-classical styles which held influence until around the 18th century also centred around clarifying the self and meditation, but brought together a range of ideas, including tantra, which aimed to reduce "knots" in the self, both in the physical and spiritual sense.
This eventually evolved into the principal yoga practice we experience today: Hatha.
Throughout the 19th and 20th centuries, yoga teachers moved into the west and imparted their knowledge of the instant and long term benefits of yoga for a healthy body and mind.
Over the last 100 years, students have flocked to the yoga space, treating it and its teacher as a place which can offer relief and a happy experience, with yin, vinyasa, Bikram, and eventually reformer pilates and barre pilates becoming incredibly popular.
The benefits of yoga
A scientific view of a varied yoga and regular training on the body will show that it opens you up to enlightened state of being, both for your physical and mental self.
The combination of meditation and exercise with long held poses and discovering the best means to find space physical space can push practitioners to really find inner peace and strength.
The scientific view of yoga notes the following as some of the best benefits of a regular yoga practice:
- Decreased stress and anxiety
- Reduced inflammation
- Better heart health
- Quality of life improvements
- Can assist with depression
- Eases chronic pain
- Sleep quality more easily improved
- Heightened balance and flexibility
- Respiratory system benefits
- Migraine reduction
- More regular digestion and eating habits
- Increased body-wide strength
- Greater mindfulness and presence in everyday life
These are all backed up by science, not to mention personal anecdotes of teachers and students of the art-form, and members of any given yoga or pilates studio.
Your fitness and mental health will both see the benefits.
Much of this stems from bringing your attention to parts of your body that you may not otherwise have done, meaning that you're greater able to appreciate what's causing stress and pain, and helping you combat these issues more directly.
The breathing practice that is involved in yoga transitions and meditation physically oxygenates muscle areas which helps strength, but is also part of the process of bringing awareness to these areas while reduce mental clutter and helping you focus on this specific task.
The knock-on effect is understandably that you are able to pay more attention, give greater appreciation, and be more present in your daily life, which is also an element that reduces stress since tasks don't seem as daunting.
Kinds of yoga
Vinyasa + flow
Training in this style is typically a little faster, although not involving rapid movements - it's still about holding poses for an extended period or a repetition of poses. Vinyasa will often have a warmup section involving core warming, stretching, sun salutations, and balancing before moving through 3-4 repetitions of a flow. The reason this style falls into this group too is that any style can have a flow, but Vinyasa is the most common. Like most yoga practices, it also has a Savasana which is the part where you ease into relaxation at the end and let you feel the benefits.
Compared to Vinyasa, Yin is virtually the opposite. This is all about stretching out the muscles and untying those knots, all whilst bringing breath into given areas while holding extended poses. You might expect to use equipment for this one in order to have better access to your hamstrings for instance, which can really put you through your paces. Despite the strenuous air this may have, it's actually all about relaxation, and you will see this as soon as your lesson is done.
This is essentially hot yoga, in which you will work through a flow in a 40 degree studio with at least 40% humidity. People who really want to feel worn out and a healthy kind of tired after their practice tend to enjoy Bikram yoga.
Those who have chanting and group classes that make you feel part of a team in mind would benefit Kundalini yoga. It involves fire breathing techniques, which means creating patterns and intensities of breath that heighten your consciousness. You will also experience extended chanting in your session, which serves as a meditation but also a trance, which helps increase and purify your aura.
Whilst not technically part of the yoga family, it has been developed over the last 50 years to promote strength, and is particularly beneficial for strength during pregnancy. It can use equipment in its reformer or barre types, which equals a very modern approach to some of the lessons of traditional yoga. You will find that this is more similar to a gym workout, but with an intensity closer to a yoga flow.
Yoga in the Melbourne CBD
Due to its central location, the Melbourne CBD is really a great location to consider taking classes, especially if your studio is near your workplace - you can go straight from the office to yoga class.
Melbourne city has many kinds of classes on offer which opens you up to a diverse range of members and experience with your studio. For an extended list, do a quick search online to see what kinds of yoga are out there, or if you already know, with a keyword search of yoga + Melbourne CBD + your preferred style.
There are a few noteworthy places to check out, but we distill some of our favourites here:
- LaVida Health - they have more challenging flow-based classes but also very intense yin to balance this and any other elements of your fitness regime
- Move Yoga - as the name suggests, this studio has classes on offer at 38 degrees, and also has express 45 minute sessions if you're feeling game on your lunch break
- Yoga Corner - known for their quality online and in-person classes, they have meditation challenges and medium and high-temperature yoga, as well as regular Vinyasa classes
There are different kinds of studios out there - traditional gyms, exclusively hot yoga establishments, multi-class/level establishments - you name it, there's a yoga class out there for you. So don't hesitate, check out the range of yoga classes and their benefits in the Melbourne CBD today!