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Yoga 101

We meet many dedicated fitness instructors at Movara and Blanca’s especially good at calming and stretching her students as they enjoy her classes. Here Blanca shares some background on Yoga and what you can expect from her class.

Regular exercise – whether it’s a walk or fitness class – along with a healthy diet will change your life. And adding Yoga to your daily activities will yield not only great physical benefits but also mental calmness and control.

Yoga means Union in Sanskrit and its main objective is to achieve awareness of the body, mind and spirit through body movement and breath control. Although yoga is considered low impact exercise, it can be as intense as you desire it to be. Yoga utilizes all muscle groups making it a complete body workout and it beautifully defines and tones all muscles without creating a bulky look.

At the beginning of my Yoga classes, you will experience gentle body movements to get your body warmed up while practicing pranayama breathing or ‘breath control’. From there, I will guide you through a flow of traditional yoga poses which will stretch specific muscle groups and loosen your tight joints gently to achieve better muscle tone and flexibility.

I will help to bring you awareness of your core strength by engaging your bandhas, or ‘body locks,’ and every muscle during class. You will feel challenged even while holding the asanas or ‘poses’ in stillness. Holding longer poses greatly benefits your myofascia, tendons, and joints that aren’t always the focus in regular fitness exercises.

Practicing balancing poses throughout my class will help you develop inner strength and focus. Breath is key to performing these asanas gracefully so I encourage you to use straps and barres to add to the balance experience without missing the true purpose of the learning exercise.

By the end of class we cool down with floor stretches and core awareness. Using blocks and straps will aid us to get deeper into poses and once you get into the desired pose, we breathe and relax. Enjoying a few minutes in Savasana, or ‘Corpse Pose,’ will allow the body to connect with your mind and spirit hopefully obtaining that desired union that will create a sense of happiness and relaxation that will carry you to your next class – or a restful night’s sleep.

Tips for Yoga Class:

  • Mats, water and a small towel are usually the only things you will need to practice yoga. We practice yoga barefoot, no socks or shoes are needed.
  • Yoga classes usually last around an hour from warm-up to cool down.
  • Blocks, straps or belts, barres and bolsters add comfort and make yoga more accessible to every body. If you are uncomfortable, let your instructor know.
  • There’s a lot of bending and stretching, so it’s best to avoid heavy meals a few hours before your class.
  • People often worry that they are not flexible enough to do yoga, but remember that flexibility is not a necessary for beginner classes. Continued practice over time will increase your agility and flexibility. You will see positive results over time as you continue the practice.

The benefits of Yoga are too numerous to list but the main ones include increased flexibility, muscle strength and tone. Regular yoga practice can decrease stiffness and joint pain and improve posture and coordination. It can fix ailments and injuries. It can help control the breath, calm the mind, reduce stress, and improve sleep and self-confidence.

I can also customize private yoga classes to include Yin or Flow classes and add a little flair with Yoga/Pilates fusion or Yoga/Barre to make your experience at Movara unique.

I’m looking forward to meeting you and sharing my passion for Yoga. Please come and enjoy a deep-breathing, body-toning, mind-calming yoga class with me.

See you on the mats.

Blanca Martineau E-RYT 200 YACEP
Movara Yoga Instructor & Owner of YOUniversal Yoga School

Blanca Yoga Poses