Years ago if someone had told me that yoga would help me with walking I would have told them that they were crazy. However, in recent years I have added yoga into my training regimen. My first exposure to doing yoga was actually at my church and we did Holy Yoga. This form of yoga has the same physical forms as other forms of yoga, however the difference is the music and the Bible lesson that is spoken during yoga.
I have since started doing yoga at a gym that has 4 forms of yoga. We will go through them to see how each will help with walking.
1) Root – this is the starting point of yoga. As the name suggests, it is the root or foundation that will help you build in your yoga practice. A class such as root will show you how to do the various yoga positions, moving between them and what alternative moves you can do. Just as when you get started walking you want to make sure that your core is solid and that you have a great sense of balance. This will get you started and you can remain in root classes as long as you like. This is one of my favorite classes. It really gets me to focus on form and how to do the various yoga poses. Plus, each time I take the class I get a variety of poses that I can do. One thing I have found with the yoga class is that some days I have balance and other days, not so much. You just keep trying and practicing.
2) Flow – this is the next level where you could proceed to. Just as the name is flow, you flow continuously through various movements. In some of the classes you can get a lot of instruction or very little plus some of the classes are in heated rooms. These are higher intensity classes. I recommend the Flow classes after having gone through the Root classes for awhile and you are comfortable in the poses without a lot of instruction. These classes may give you up to 6 moves to do in a row/sequence.
3) Surrender – these classes are a yin form of yoga. So, you can expect a very low impact class, however you will find yourself holding poses for long periods of time. This enables you to get a much deeper stretch to increase your flexibility. I highly recommend having this class along with either Root or Flow. It gets me stretching further into the positions. You will move slowly through the poses and your flexibility will get better with time. There is no hurry in the Surrender class. When you enter the yoga studio, leave the rest of the world and worries behind.
4) Be – this is a meditation class, which helps you with your breathing and focus. In this class you will experience a very quiet and calm room. You can expect to be in class from 15 minutes to as long as an hour. With walking, you want to get into a nice breathing pattern that will assist you in going further and further yet making it easier. You can work on your breathing and focus in the Be class and take that with you out on your walks, only keep your eyes open during your walks.
I hope that you can see where yoga will benefit your walking with breathing, balance and flexibility. Even if you aren’t convinced yet, try it out and see how it works for you. Quite a few yoga studios do have free classes you can take to see if you’d like to continue going there. Find one in your area.