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03/01/2011Yoga: a beginner's guide
Don't know your asana from your elbow? Here's a short introduction to yoga, plus a listing of yoga centres in Luxembourg.
To many people, the word yoga conjures up the image of a long-haired, bearded Indian man sitting in the lotus position and chanting. Yet, yoga has been increasingly in the public eye, mainly due to celebrities such as Madonna, Geri Halliwell and Gwyneth Paltrow singing its praises.
Reported improvements such as toned upper arms, trim stomach and firm thighs and bums have encouraged them to take up yoga classes, but for the uninitiated and uninformed, what is it all about? Yoga originated in India around 6000 years ago. The practice sometimes seems to have an air of mystery about it, which perhaps prevents many people from trying a class. It can be seen as new-age, 'alternative' or a bit of a fad in the exercise world. In reality, it is a holistic practise that benefits body, mind and spirit.
People take up yoga for a surprisingly wide range of reasons: to gain flexibility, to tone-up or lose weight, to improve their ability to relax or to prepare their body for a physical event such as childbirth. Regular practice of yoga will improve your general fitness and body shape, make you stronger, calmer and more able to cope with the stresses and strains of life. Types of yoga Hatha (or physical) yoga is broken down into eight stages or limbs.
Traditionally these are followed progressively to reach Samadhi, the last stage, where the spirit is liberated and becomes 'at one' with the universe. Yoga practised in the west mainly encapsulates stages three and four. Stage three (Asana) is the practise of the postures or poses and stage four (Pranayama) is rhythmic control of the breath.
There are many styles of Hatha yoga currently being taught, all of which have slightly different emphases.
- Astanga yoga is the form of yoga currently enjoying the most attention. Also known as power yoga, the moves or transitions between asanas are performed at a higher speed than usual, thus providing an aerobic workout, missing in the alternative yoga forms.
- Iyengar yoga, based on the teachings of BKS Iyengar from Pune, India, concentrates on the postural alignment of the body and limbs. The practice makes use of ropes, blocks and belts to aid in the attainment of the asanas.
- Sivananda yoga focuses on the flow of energy in the spine. This style is built around a specific sequence of twelve postures or poses.
What to look for in a yoga class
Yoga includes elements such as stretching, balancing and posturing - the combination of which can seem like a contortionist act to the newcomer. However, a good yoga teacher will tailor the postures to suit the different abilities within a class. Some classes will focus heavily on meditation and visualisation, but for others, meditation simply refers to the period of cool-down or relaxation at the end of the session. Controlled breathing is a hugely important part of the practice.
Yoga is suitable for both men and women and can be enjoyed by the full range of fitness abilities. Even if you have trouble touching your toes, yoga can still be open to you. Classes can be found by looking in the telephone book or by recommendation from friends or work colleagues.
There are numerous teachers in the larger cities and a few are listed below. Try out one or two sessions before committing yourself to a lengthy course, as your relationship with your yoga teacher is one of the most important factors in your enjoyment and progress of yoga.
Where to take yogaA.E.A.S.I. Asbl
Tai-chi, yoga and Qi-Gong courses and trainings. Beginners and advanced levels.
21A rue General Patton, L-2317 Howald
Tel: 26 20 10 77
Qi Gong specialised school offering stages, trainings and various courses in Niededonven and Luxembourg-Kirchberg, whether yoga, meditation, relaxation and Qi-Gong.
57 rue des Romains L-5433 Niederdonven
Tel: 76 07 55
Centre de Yoga - La Source
Ashtanga and Sivananda Yoga, Hormone Yoga, Pregnancy Yoga, Yoga-for-the-back and weekend workshops in Nidra Yoga and Kundalini Yoga
25 rue Josy Welter L-7256, Walferdange
Tel: (00352) 33 34 19
Centre Yoga Cesar-Luga
Yoga and reflexology centre.
10 rue Michel Rodange, L-8337 Capellen
Tel: 40 98 56
Ecole du dos
Specialists treating back problems. Pilates lessons.
12 rue du Scheid, L-6996 Hostert
Tel: 621 77 94 18
Lucile Risch - Pilates & Yoga Research Lab
Pilates & yoga private or a semi-private lessons. Also private sessions for sport, dance and ongoing pilates professionals.
Tel: 621 19 21 06
Wellness academy and pilates center. Lessons from Monday to Saturday. Private lessons.
66 route d'Arlon, L-8310 Capellen
Tel: 661 89 13 00
Pilates Studio Luxembourg
Pilates studio - group classes and personal instructors.
6 rue Glesener, L-1630 Luxembourg
Tel: 27 28 25 51
Yoga classes and workshops, short retreats, and bodywork holistic massage.
Luxembourg, G.D. Luxembourg
+352 621 176263
Yoga 4 all
Yoga classes with specific pre and post-natal courses. Classes take place at different locations and can be organised at home or in offices.
Tel: 00352 621710778
Yoga & relaxation in the comfort of your home or office. Private yoga classes taking into consideration personal health & fitness level, injuries and objectives.
Tel: +33 (0) 6 89 65 76 38
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