- You don't need to be flexible or fit or young or skinny. A good teacher will encourage everyone to work to their own level and will give different options for the poses. You can even do yoga with longstanding injuries or disabilities.
- Yoga is a real workout - with regular practice you gain balance, flexibility and strengthen muscles through you whole body.
- Yoga doesn't usually involve spiritual or religious practice (again, it depends on the version you do, but the types I've done don't involve anything more alarming than a few easily ignorable references to chakras.)
- Calms the brain and helps relieve stress and mild depression
- Energizes the body
- Stretches the shoulders, hamstrings, calves, arches, and hands
- Strengthens the arms and legs
- Improves digestion
- Relieves headache, insomnia, back pain, and fatigue
So basically, I'm enthusiastically recommending that you give it go (if you haven't already). I did Hatha yoga for a couple of years in New Zealand. My class yesterday was Ashtanga yoga which is supposed to be a lot more physically demanding, but actually it was very similar to my Hatha yoga class, just a touch faster in moving from pose to pose. This is a helpful article about the different styles of yoga.
What do you think - are you already a fan? Have you tried it and thought it's not for you?
I did my first (and last) class with a new yoga teacher last night and now I see why people can be apprehensive about it. It was Ashtanga yoga similar to the first class I did at this gym but the atmosphere was competitive with only one option given for each pose. The (male) instructor adjusted people to help them get into the right position. That's okay but one of my adjustments involved full body contact which isn't my cup of tea with someone I've just met!
We were asked to do quite difficult balancing poses and ended the class with a couple of inversions that were completely beyond me. I sat there feeling like a fool while people attempted to balance their whole body weight on the arms while upside down. Not a great experience.
So my summary is, find out as much as you can about classes you're thinking of taking, the teaching style, the difficulty level etc. I've experienced four or five yoga teachers and this is the first one that I couldn't be doing with, so I'm sure you'll be able to find one who suits.