You may have seen yogis in your gym – stretching after cardio or strength training, looking all calm and breathing deeply, or you may have noticed your friend’s or favorite influencer posts on social media talking about the benefits of yoga and practicing some crazy looking postures leaving you all inspired and motivated to try them out at home! In fact, some of you may have started your yoga journey like this -, with home practice.
No matter what your experience with yoga has been and for how long you have been practicing at home, here, we’ll try to explain some main benefits of joining a yoga class, and maybe, that will inspire you to grab your mat and rush into your first yoga class this evening. The lockdown has not been easy for most of us. Joining a new class can also prove to be absolutely refreshing!
During the lockdown, many yogis have managed to turn their yoga corner at home into a creative space not just reserved for yoga asana practice, but even for meditation, journaling, reading, reflecting or just unwind and relax with your favourite cup of tea. In no way would we discourage you from doing yoga exercises at home where you feel safe, secure in your private sacred yoga space.
However, now with most yoga studios open and taking all measures to keep their space clean and hygienic, visiting the yoga-studio next door at least twice or thrice a week can prove to be absolutely rewarding. In this blog, we have discussed some of the advantages that yoga in a class with other people can give you.
Yoga Class Benefits for Health
Most people approach yoga to get the benefits it offers for physical and psychological health. If you practice yoga, you’ll:
Reduce stress and feel inner peace;
Treat pain in the lower back and neck;
Improve your breathing rhythm;
Gain flexibility and mobility of your joints;
Improve blood circulation and lower the heart rate;
Build strength and lean muscles;
Loose and control weight.
Apart from everything valuable to your body and mind, group yoga offers extra benefits than solo yoga. Let’s see what they are.
You are well-motivated when you start adding your home yoga practice to your daily routine to get in better shape or lose weight. But as time goes, it becomes difficult to force yourself to stand on the mat, old habits come back, and new ones are not established yet. So, if you train at home, you can easily lose regularity.
Even in a yoga class for beginners, group yoga sessions are held regularly with a fixed schedule. Moreover, knowing that someone in the class is waiting for you to show up helps you attend the training, which you may have skipped if you train alone.
Group Energy and Synergy
The level of energy you get from practicing in a yoga class is always higher than when you practice alone. A group of 5-6 people focused on one goal and giving their energy and attention to the same thing creates an environment with positive vibes that can support you in your hard spots of practice.
Meditating and breathing together, especially during Savasana and group chanting, builds energy that will not end even after the class. It’s common feedback that you can enter the class feeling tired and down, but after the session, you feel fully charged and energetic. Yogis confirm that group class feels easier even if it is intense.
Support and Help
In a basic yoga class, you’ll get a chance to meet and train with people together to reach the same goals. Others can support you on the way towards your headstand or lotus pose, which makes it easier to explore and work your way around the pose. Also, the use of yoga props is encouraged in group classes. It is important to understand how to use them correctly, such as yoga blocks, bolsters, blankets, yoga straps, etc. A yoga teacher can help you understand which prop is most useful for your body type and in which yoga pose.
The yoga instructor’s presence in a class means you’ll get asana corrections and hints from a more experienced practitioner, and that can help you move faster towards your intentions. Moreover, in a class with a professional instructor, you can take off the control and just flow into the practice. The instructor will keep an eye on your techniques and mistakes and adjust postures according to your physical state and flexibility level.
Of course, you can go for an individual class with a yoga tutor, but you’ll lose the group support and energy in this case. Group sessions also help eliminate the risk of injury.
Competition, Connection and Community
It is true that yoga is not about competition. In fact, yoga is a non-competitive form of physical and mental discipline which helps you shift your focus inwards. But if you have a competitive nature, which most of us do because of the lifestyle we lead, in yoga group sessions, standing next to a more experienced and flexible peer in a yoga class who is more than willing to help you, will only leave you feeling more inspired and motivated to carry on with your yoga flow.
Instead of feeling disappointed or jealous, it will make you eager to put more effort into your practice. You can also learn not only from your instructor and how your body feels but also from other students. Yoga is for everybody and teaches oneness, but yoga also helps us accept our strengths and weaknesses and celebrate our uniqueness. A yoga class is the best place to experience how different we are from everyone in our body and mind, in our level of experience, flexibility, strength and weakness. This helps us establish a deeper connection with ourselves and others around us.
Group practice creates a community connected with the same interests and values. You can exchange thoughts, share your feelings, make friends, argue, and have fun in a safe atmosphere of like-minded people. Staying in such a positive community will change your social life and habits.
Practicing at home can be very relaxed, calming, and convenient, but not all the time. If you live alone, you can easily find time and space to practice at home. But if there are other people in your home/apartment – this can be complicated.
It’s a proven fact that our brain needs new tasks to build new neural connections and stay healthy and young. So, going to the yoga studio once or twice a week can be refreshing and rejuvenating for the state of your mind.
If you are an introvert, going to a yoga class can help you change the picture and meet new people without making friends with them. In a class, you can still be alone, but stay connected with other people in the group – that’s a feeling you won’t get exercising at home.
These are only a few benefits you may get from joining a yoga class. No matter what your preference is – a lifetime fitness routine or fitness time on your yoga mat – you still can benefit from group energy and keep yourself motivated and fit, find friends and new flow in your social life.
Have you tried joining a yoga class? Do you prefer to practice at home? What benefits of group yoga classes have you noticed? Please share with us in the comments.
Kevin has been writing content for about 3 years. He really wants to share his experiences and advice with anyone who cares about health and fitness. He enjoys helping people achieve their fitness goals with simple instructions and overcoming any obstacles on the way.