By Christine Barnabic, MS, RYT 200, Reiki Master
Yoga is a practice that involves mind, body and spirit. Yoga is for every BODY, regardless of age, gender, race, religion, size or shape. Whether you prefer to practice on your own or in a studio, there are options. Yoga is a mind-body exercise whose ultimate goal is to end suffering, be that tight hips, stress, anxiety or something else. The foundation of yoga is breath (pranayama), asana (physical poses) and meditation/mindfulness. It is not religious in nature and does not have to be physical, for example the practice of yoga nidra which simulates sleep patterns. Further research on Yoga benefits can be reviewed the Cochrane Library Collection of systematic reviews on yoga.
Yoga practice can be done sitting as well as standing and can be modified to get the most benefit with the least chance of injury. In fact, yoga can be done anywhere and anytime. Props can also be used such as blocks, bolsters, blankets and straps to aide in alignment and posture of poses.
In the day of technology and time restraints, you may prefer to do a practice on your own and/or online. If you are just starting to practice Yoga and prefer in the privacy of your own home this may be a great option for you. Try different videos with various instructors to find a person who may resonate with you and your practice. Using the online resources of YouTube and websites, there are a variety of options to choose from. Take time for yourself, click, practice and enjoy. It is recommended that beginners or those who are just coming back to the practice look for videos labelled “Beginner” and to check out the “How to” videos for certain poses you may need more guidance with practicing.
There are over 150 Yoga studios in Baltimore. It can be hard to narrow down which studio may work for you. The location, price, atmosphere, and teacher’s expertise, or other requirement are important aspects to find the experience you are looking for. Most studios/gyms have websites to explore their mission, class schedule and pricing. If you set aside some time to narrow down what you may want in a yoga practice you can explore their websites and look for reviews/testimonials. This website narrowed down studio options down with a brief description and link to their website. Yelp also reviews the Best Yoga studios, updated January 2019 by Yelp reviewers.
You may want to talk with friends or family to see if someone may want to join you and try out a yoga class. Having someone with you or even just encourage you is a great way to experience comradery and accountability in your yoga goals. There are even programs specific to health conditions, such as stroke, cancer and pain. Our Director of Yoga Programs and Yoga Therapy, Kelli Bethel, runs two that can be found here.
Yoga and You
Yoga is a practice of body movements and mindfulness. People choose to be physically active and choose things that make them feel good and keep them well. EveryBODY can do yoga and you decide how you would like to experience the practice. Please keep in mind that certain medical or chronic conditions, pregnancy, or seemingly benign conditions like arthritis require specific modifications. We recommend that you work with a knowledgeable practitioner/teacher. Below are some resources that give more information to help you find the best yoga for you.
For additional information, check out this article by Kelli Bethel, our Director of Yoga Training and Yoga Therapy, as well as these websites:
National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NIH/NCCIH) - Yoga: In Depth
The International Association of Yoga Therapists (IAYT) - Supports research and education in yoga and yoga therapy and serves as a membership-based, professional organization for yoga teachers and therapists worldwide.
Yoga Alliance (YA) - The largest nonprofit association representing the yoga community to promote and support the integrity and diversity of the teaching of yoga. Website contains bios of Registered Yoga Teachers (RYT), Yoga Teacher Training Programs and Continued Education in Yoga.
Free Baltimore Yoga – Free, studio quality yoga in non-studio spaces in Baltimore City.
MindBody – Search for Studios offering Yoga at locations near you.
Yogaworks – Offers memberships and community classes with drop in rates.
Movement Lab – Offers various levels/styles of yoga classes including Aerial Yoga and unique events and workshops.
M.Power – Offers heated and regular yoga classes. They also have a Yoga Trade program.
Yoga Gallery and Wellness – Offers various levels/styles of yoga classes in a nice studio space right off of 83/695 in Kenilworth.
May the light in me honor the light in YOU!
Why Namaste? The word is a way of greeting or showing respect originating in ancient India. Namaste spoken in a yoga practice is accompanied by holding the palms upright in front of the chest and bowing. The Sanskrit root word “namah”, means “salute or bow.”
About the Author: Christine Barnabic, MS, 200 RYT, Reiki Master
Christine is the Program Management Specialist at the Center for Integrative Medicine, part of University of Maryland School of Medicine. She received her Master’s Degree in School and Administrative Health from Towson University in 2010 including her Bachelor of Science degree in School and Community Health from Towson University in 2007. She taught Elementary health in Carroll County for seven years including staff health and fitness initiatives.
She has volunteered with the American Red Cross, Cupid’s Charities benefiting the Children’s Tumor Foundation, Fundraisers for the Lustgarten Foundation for Pancreatic Research, Safeminds support research and treatment for Children with Autism, Back on my Feet to combat homelessness and her own neighborhood association.
Christine is passionate about physical fitness and is active with health and wellness initiatives in Baltimore City. She is involved in the fitness group November Project and works out locally in the UMB Gym. She has been to many of the studio gyms and bigger gyms in Baltimore City. She has worked at Federal Hill Fitness and participated in a Yoga Trade program at M. Power Studio. She has completed trainings in Barre, Pilates, Yoga and is a Reiki Master. She continues her passion for all her activities teaching within the University of Maryland Systems.
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