Safe Yoga Is:
S ecure ( secure environment, instructor, student)
A ttention (attention to detail, form, postures, levels)
F unctional (offers modifications, options, mindful of exercise science)
E ffective (provides flexibility, strength, ease of use, balance)
Why Yoga is More Popular Than Ever
Yoga provides a total body workout that enhances strength, cardiovascular condition, balance and flexibility. It also enhances one's body awareness, increases physical control and facilitates body mastery.
Because it involves a highly comprehensive and integrated approach, yoga produces a longer, leaner and more graceful physique - also currently in vogue.
Yoga also helps reduce stress, tension and fatigue through its mindfulness, often-fluid movement and deep breathing focus. If instructors are not attuned to the unique needs of the fitness club environment and gym members , injuries can occur. Traditional yoga as originating in India, does not really exist anymore in the United Sates. But fitness styles of yoga are appropriate for fitness centers.
As Beth Shaw (above) can attest, yoga produces a longer, leaner and more graceful physique.
Body Heat, Breath and Rest
Safe yoga differs from traditional yoga in that the postures link in a fluid heat building way. Breath is linked with movement heating the body naturally and organically. Rest is encouraged when necessary.
Warm-ups are crucial as fitness rooms are often cold. Warm up the body completely with large body moves prior to engaging in any complex or flexibility oriented pose. Fitness moves are incorporated such as sit-ups and push-ups, lunge and hold.
Transitions are smooth, from pose to pose with a full-body workout focus; all body parts are worked equally. Modifications and levels are offered to suit the needs of several different students at different levels in the room. Instructors speak in terms of "or", "either", "modify". They also encourage students to "take breaks", "let go" of expectations, judgment and competition and not push past their limits. Safe instructors are to never make aggressive physical adjustments to their students.
Group Fitness instructors can embark by initialing incorporating yoga postures into their already existing classes: Step, spin, kick box and aerobics. This provides an opportunity to get comfortable with a few basic postures.
Before hiring a teacher - answer these key questions:
If you have answered yes to all of the above then its time to begin. Audition them!
- Are you aware of the AFAA and ACE Safety Guidelines of Contraindications ?
- Are you aware of how these relate to yoga?
- Have you been through a formal yoga teacher training
- Are you comfortable doing the postures?
- Are you comfortable teaching the postures?
- Do you have a regular yoga practice?
Guru Mentality Doesn't Fit in Fitness Facilities
A guru mentality is not a welcome one in the fitness club. Look for an instructor who is first a fitness instructor, it's a lot easier to train a fitness instructor in yoga than it is to train a traditional yoga instructor in fitness.
The breath is the single most important part of our yoga practice.
Class Formatting :
Fitness yoga is a wide departure from traditional yoga. To be safe, it is best taught by fitness instructors that learn yoga, than vice versa.
Whether the instructor chooses to incorporate postures into your existing class or create a Safe Yoga Class, a warm -up period is crucial. Just as we don't stretch before exercise, we don't want to get into complex yoga postures before our bodies are warm and ready to be there.
Each class should begin with at least 5 minutes of deep breathing. This helps to clear the mind and prepare the body. The breath is the single most important part of our yoga practice.
By breathing in and out of the nose we keep the heat in the body and focus the mind.
Deep rhythmic breathing is the solid foundation upon which we build our yoga practice. Instructors should continually return to breath focus and need to constantly remind students to do the same.
Rest and recovery are also an important part of the yoga, we rest for at least 5 minutes at the end of class to rejuvenate, restore and revive the body.
Most instructors teaching in fitness facilities do not have the luxury of independent lighting and heating controls. YogaFit is an excellent choice for the fitness environment for this very reason. If at all possible dim the lights, turn off the air conditioning and choose music for active yoga.
YogaFit offers four levels of teacher training as well as many specialty programs like prenatal, seniors and kids. YogaFit has a complete line of educational videos for teachers, clubs and students.
About Beth Shaw
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