The very first time I tried yoga was about fifteen years ago, I was much younger and into more intense cardio sessions (some of which I still love) and I decided yoga was just too slow, did not do anything for me and I did not try yoga again for about another ten years.
I was by then suffering from a very painful injury brought on by my intense cardio sessions, not enough stretching and the continual pounding my poor Achilles tendon was getting.
I did have treatment and massages which were great and really helped, but the one thing that brought instant relief was yoga. By then it was the only class I could do without risk of further injury. I was incredibly inflexible and in forward folds my toes were so out of reach they might as well have been in another country, they seemed so far away.
I persisted, did yoga stretches at home and gradually over a few months grew more flexible and stronger. My instructor was encouraging, offering modifications andmaking the class challenging but available to all levels and abilities.
Several years later, being that much older and wiser in looking after my body I no longer give it the pounding I used to.
I now teach yoga to all age ranges, I am convinced that even a few minutes of regular yoga poses and or just the breathing can be of great benefit to anyone of any age, whatever their lifestyle. Just the simple act of opening the chest (or heart in yoga talk) rolling the shoulders back, sitting or standing with a long spine will bring us back to a better posture which instantly takes the pressure off of many joints, which if not corrected can cause pain or injury.
Think about how many times you find yourself hunched over during the day - watching television, on the computer, especially a problem for the many teens hunched over while on the XBox etc, my son being one of them! I am constantly telling him to sit up straight. Lol now I really do sound like my mother.
There are now such a huge range of classes available, ranging from yoga for kids as young as three years old, older kids, teens, all the way up to senior and chair yoga for those with limited mobility or recovering from injuries and any age and ability in between.
The next issue is the cost, yes private sessions are costly and not easily accessible to everyone, however there are many studios that offer discounts for students, class cards, special offers etc. Yoga is often available at local Parks & Rec centers and Senior Centers for a very reasonable cost. There are always DVDs available to buy or rent. Your local library will have some that can get you started, even Netflix has yoga you can stream right into your living room.
Styles of yoga - there are too many to count, try different classes and instructors and find one that fits with you. I would recommend even when you have found an instructor you like, every now and then try something different, you can always learn something new and each instructor brings something different to your experience.
There are calming gentle yoga classes available, more challenging and faster paced classes, styles that mix both yoga and Pilate's together, yoga with weights and also heated yoga. Many people are wary of the hot yoga, which varies in temperature and humidity. Always check with your doctor if you are unsure if this is for you.
For myself, on a freezing cold winters day there is nothing so wonderful as walking into a hot yoga room and being enveloped by the heat, so amazing and releasing for the whole body, but that is just my experience. Give it a try you may find you love it and it becomes your new favorite activity.
Wherever you try yoga if it is your first time let the instructor know, always listen to your body, take a break if you need to, there should be no pressure to do every pose and each pose will look different on each person as we are all made as individuals. Even each day can be different, just because you did a challenging pose last week does not mean you have to do it to the same degree the following time. Lack of sleep, medications, stress and even humidity can effect our balance and how we feel on any given day.
I encourage you to give yoga a try sometime soon, your body and mind will thank you. Most importantly, go with an open mind, relax and enjoy the experience.