Yoga teachers have an enviable serenity about them. They may not look particularly muscular or slim, but they are surprisingly strong, flexible, and balanced.
Unlike other fitness disciplines, yoga encourages an entire lifestyle change through the promotion of wellness and relaxation.
While some exercise regimes may privilege gaining muscle or losing weight, yoga practitioners undergo a complete evolution: physical, psychological, and sometimes, even spiritual.
The purpose of yoga is to help you manage your life as peacefully and harmoniously as possible. Becoming toned and fit is a happy by-product of practicing yoga.
While yoga may be seen as a New Age practice, its popularity is indiscriminate. It is popular with both men and women, women who are pregnant, postpartum, have babies and kids, and the elderly.
Why does yoga have such an enduring appeal? How is it that so many different people, of all ages and body types, can practice yoga with no problem?
Let’s explore this ancient art of forging a mind-body connection, and discover where you can find the best yoga lessons in Perth.
A Short History of Yoga
Yoga originated in northern India over 5,000 years ago. The word yoga was first mentioned in ancient sacred texts, the Vedas. The word ‘Yoga’ is derived from the Sanskrit root ‘Yuj’, meaning ‘to join’, ’to yoke’ or ‘to unite’.
It was then refined and developed by Rishis (sages) who documented their practices and beliefs in a huge book of scriptures, the Upanishads. In the second century, Pantajali wrote the first systematic presentation of yoga, Yoga-Sûtras. Patanjali is oft-considered the father of yoga and his Yoga-Sûtras still strongly influences many modern styles of yoga.
A few centuries later, modern yoga masters developed Tantra Yoga. The physical-spiritual connections and body-centred practices of Tantra Yoga resulted in the creation of what we primarily consider yoga in the West today: Hatha yoga.
During the late 1800s and early 1900s, Indian yoga gurus began to introduce yoga to the West. At the 1893 Parliament of Religions in Chicago, Swami Vivekananda impressed attendees with his lectures on yoga and the universality of the world’s religions. In the 1920s and 30s, Hatha yoga was strongly advanced by the work of T. Krishnamacharya, Swami Sivananda, and other yogis.
In 1947, Indra Devi opened her yoga studio in Hollywood. Since then, Hatha yoga has been popularised and has proliferated across the world.
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The Benefits of Practicing Yoga
There are numerous benefits of taking yoga lessons. Yoga:
- Improves strength, balance and flexibility: holding yoga poses builds up strength. Strengthening the body helps improve balance. This is particularly important for elderly people at risk of falls.
- Assists back pain: Yoga’s stretching exercises help to ease pain and improve mobility. The American College of Physicians recommends yoga as a treatment for chronic lower back pain.
- Lessens arthritis symptoms: according to a Johns Hopkins review, people with arthritis may find that yoga lessens some of the discomfort of tender, swollen joints.
- Improves heart health: practicing yoga regularly may decrease levels of stress and body-wide inflammation, resulting in healthier hearts. Yoga also addresses numerous factors contributing to heart disease, such as high blood pressure and excess weight.
- Increases relaxation and improves sleep: recent findings by Johns Hopkins show that practicing yoga before bed can assist you getting into the right mindset and ready your body to fall asleep and stay asleep.
- Increases energy and improves mood: with regular practice, yoga can increase your mental and physical energy, improve your alertness and enthusiasm, and decrease negative feelings.
- Assists stress management: According to the National Institutes of Health, yoga can help you manage stress, improve your mental health and mindfulness, encourage healthy eating and weight loss, and improve quality of sleep.
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The Different Styles of Yoga
There are multiple styles of yoga which vary from easy, relaxing, meditative lessons to more physically demanding training. Some of the different types of yoga are:
- Hatha yoga: the Sanskrit word ‘Hatha’ is an umbrella term for all physical postures of yoga. Hatha yoga teaches you the foundations of yoga exercises and breathing. It is best for beginners as it is typically slower paced than other yoga styles. Hatha Yoga is the most popular type of yoga and has multiple styles.
- Ashtanga is the flowing yoga style connecting movement to breath. It’s a physically demanding series of poses for experienced yogis. Vinyasa yoga was adapted from Ashtanga.
- Vinyasa yoga is oft-considered the most athletic style of yoga. Movement is coordinated with your breath to flow from one posture to another.
- Yin yoga is a slow-paced style of yoga with seated poses that are held for long periods of time, from 45 seconds to 2 minutes. Yin yoga can also be a meditative form of yoga. It is great for beginners.
- Restorative yoga targets body relaxation. You hold fewer poses for longer, which are often modified to be easier and more relaxing. Props are often used to help aid deeper relaxation.
- Iyengar yoga involves detailed and precise movements targeting alignment. Typically, postures are held for a long time while adjusting the minute details of the posture. Iyengar Yoga depends heavily on props to assist students perfect their form and go deeper into postures safely.
- Kundalini yoga is equally physical and spiritual. This style of yoga is focused on releasing kundalini energy from your body which is thought to be trapped in the lower spine. Kundalini yoga works your core and breathing with fast-moving, invigorating poses and breath exercises.
- Bikram yoga involves a sequence of 26 basic, set poses, each performed twice. Most of these postures target proper alignment. Bikram yoga is performed in a room usually set to 40°C and 40% humidity.
- Hot yoga is similar to Bikram yoga but does not require the fixed sequence of 26 poses. The room temperature may range from 25°C - 40°C, and the humidity can vary.
Yoga Classes in Perth
There are many studios in Perth where you can take yoga lessons. Here are some of the best:
- Yoga Hub offers Hatha yoga, Ashtanga yoga, Vinyasa yoga, Yin yoga, yoga for teens, and meditation in their Mount Hawthorn studio. They also have events, courses, and retreats.
- Clear Mind Studio is a wellness studio in Inglewood which offers Hatha yoga, Vinyasa yoga, Yin yoga, and breath-work and meditation.
- Yoga Corner offers Ashtanga yoga, Vinyasa yoga, Yin and Restorative yoga, and more in Duncraig. They also have courses in pre and post-natal yoga and kids' and teen's yoga, as well as workshops and retreats.
- Balanze offers Vinyasa yoga and Yin yoga in their Claremont studio, and they also have online classes.
- Tamara Yoga offers both beginner and all levels Vinyasa yoga, Restorative yoga, Yin yoga, and more. They have online classes and private instruction. Tamara Yoga offers courses in pregnancy yoga, mum's and bub's yoga, children's yoga, and teen’s yoga. They also have workshops and retreats. Their two studios are located in Claremont and Bibra Lake.
- YogaLab offers Beginners Flow, Vinyasa Express, Power Vinyasa, 26 & 2 (a type of Bikram Yoga in a room heated to 27°C), Yin yoga, and more in Fremantle. They also have video classes, events, and workshops.
- The Yoga Garage specialises in hot yoga, including Bikram yoga, hot Vinyasa yoga, Yin yoga, and meditation. Their studio is located in Scarborough.
- Rooftop Yoga offers sunrise Vinyasa yoga and sunset yoga with DJ and followed by a movie at Rooftop Movies, Perth’s rooftop cinema located in Northbridge.
Something you may not find in any of these studios is what many Superprof yoga teachers offer: their first hour of lessons free!
If you have a decent Internet connection and would like to take yoga lessons in the comfort and privacy of your own home, Superprof has made it possible for your teacher to give yoga instruction via webcam.
If you are only just beginning your yoga journey and you feel hesitant to put yourself into a full studio, Superprof tutors are ready to teach you your first yoga poses and guide you on your course to fitness, wellness, and relaxation.
Prepare for your first yoga class.
If you’re not in Perth, find yoga lessons near you: