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Yoga is a type of physical activity focusing on a better mind-body connection. It involves different postures called poses. The practice can also involve relaxation techniques. Breathing plays a large role in yoga poses. Practitioners are often instructed on how to control breathing for certain poses.

Yoga is a broad umbrella-term for a number of ancient exercise programs which aim to increase the strength and flexibility of the body in order to improve the physical and mental health of the body.

There are many different elements to yoga, but the main ones including postures, which are a number of fixed positions which help to increase flexibility and strength, and breathing.

If you are interested in learning yoga, then there are several places where you can learn, including in leisure centres, gyms and health clubs across Australia.

Why choose yoga?

If you are interested in learning about yoga, then there may be several reasons why you could benefit from this type of exercise. In the West, Yoga is typically used due to its excellent health benefits, which can include an increase in core strength, helping balance and movement, greater flexibility and better breathing techniques.

The exercise routine is also considered to be useful for those with arthritis, since it is much gentler than other forms of exercise, and can be used to move joints which are stiff or tender.

Most yoga learners with arthritis need to make use of a specialist trainer in order to ensure that all of the movements used are suitable for those with arthritis.

For those with more spiritual intentions, Yoga also has a number of philosophies designed to improve the mind.

Yoga in this field is seen as a discipline for follows of Buddhism, Jainism and Hinduism.

It is used to control the mind and body during religious observation and in Buddhism is seen as one of the ways to separate the mind from the physical world around it.

Schools of Yoga

There are several different schools of Yoga, depending upon the following of the tutor. For example, Buddhist Yoga is used as part of a process of meditation and focus.

In Hinduism, Classical Yoga is used as one of the Vedas religious schools of Yoga, with the Yoga Sutras being some of the most well-known works of this form.

Ashtanga Yoga, or Raja Yoga, is a more religious form, which practices self-development and healing, and ethics. Hatha Yoga focuses upon the mental and physical development of the follower, and uses exercises and poses described in classic Hindu texts.

Jainism uses yoga as a path to self-realisation, and to create a pure state beyond attachment. Tantra Yoga, a disputed form of both Hindu and Buddhist Yoga, is also common in the West, though it is a much more private method than other forms of Yoga.

Yoga and exercise

Since the development of Yoga teaching in the West, Yoga has come to stand for a form of health exercise and breathing techniques that have little to do with the traditional religious exercises.

Most people in Australia will learn this modern form of Yoga, with a focus on core strength and muscle stretching without the use of any spiritual methods.

If you are interested purely in the fitness methods for Yoga, then you will be able to find many schools offering these classes.

  • Low impact – With some forms of exercise like running and contact supports taking their toll on the body’s systems and joints over time, yoga is a great way to exercise without having long term detrimental effects.
  • Convenient – Because yoga is so popular, you’ll definitely be able to find a class close to you at a time that fits in to your schedule.
  • Practical – There are a wide range of formats in which you can do yoga. From group classes, to one-on-one instruction, to practising at home, the minimal equipment you need for yoga makes it a practical and accessible form of exercise.
  • Relaxing – Stress is on the rise, and even half an hour of mindful yoga will go a long way towards diffusing the tension that builds up because of our hectic schedules.
  • Something for everyone – Whether your goal is weight loss, meditation, flexibility, a social opportunity or some time to yourself, yoga can fit into the lifestyle of anyone, at any age.

Yoga training

Yoga training is based on group classes. These classes are organized per skill level. Therefore, experienced practitioners train with other experienced practitioners. Beginners are directed towards simpler yoga classes.

There are thousands of types of yoga classes to choose from. In general, Ashtanga yoga classes are reserved for more experienced practitioners while Deshpande yoga classes are better suited for beginners. The difference is made in the complexity of the poses which might require different skills.

Yoga studios

Yoga studios are dedicated spaces for practising yoga. They run daily and weekly classes for different types of practitioners from beginners to yoga experts. Some of these classes can be considered too diverse for beginners as their names and descriptions can sound confusing. For example, hot yoga classes are held in high-temperature rooms. It’s believed sweating during yoga has associated health benefits. These classes are reserved for those more experienced in the activity.

Yoga instructors

Yoga trainers are called yoga instructors. Most of them don’t need any qualification to start teaching others. Some yoga trainers, especially those employed by studios, undergo short-term qualification courses. These courses last anywhere between 200 and 500 hours similarly to those for personal trainers. However, yoga instructors don’t require a higher education degree to start teaching others.

Activewear and clothes for yoga

Clothes for yoga are typically made from elastic materials. Spandex and polyester are preferred to cotton.

Yoga leggings

Yoga leggings are ideal for all types of poses. They offer the right stretch regardless of the practitioner’s skill set in yoga. Leggings are also looked good as they’re form-fitting. A direct advantage is that yoga instructors can see the pose better in practitioners compared to when they wear loose sweatpants.

Yoga shorts

Hot yoga is a type of yoga performed at high temperature. It’s the ideal location for yoga shorts. Excess sweating makes shorts and tanks the better yoga outfit when exercising in high-temperature classes.


Yoga tops come in all shapes and sizes. These are also made from stretchy breathable fabrics, similar to fitness tops in general. These tops are available in sleeveless or sleeved cuts for all ages.


Sweaters are normally worn in outdoor yoga sessions. They are also popular among practitioners who want to lose weight as it’s believed they help you sweat more.

Sports bras

Sports bras are a comfortable choice for women in yoga. Highly breathable and stretchable, these are more comfortable than regular bras.


Stretchy breathable fitness underwear is ideal for yoga. These types of underwear are normally made to serve active people and various sports in general as they’re not specific to yoga.

Yoga equipment

Yoga is an activity that can be practised with minimum equipment. A mat is all that’s needed to start the practice. In time, multiple accessories made their way into yoga. Most of them include the following.

Yoga mat

Yoga mats are made to offer comfort when sitting on the floor. Specific yoga mats are made with anti-slip materials. General fitness mats can also be used for yoga poses.


Straps can be used in advanced yoga practices. It’s best to practice poses with straps under the guidance of a yoga instructor in a studio.


Blankets are ideal for lovers of outdoor yoga. Those who don’t want to get their hands and feet dirty outdoors will need a blanket under the yoga mat.


Chairs in yoga are already popular. Different types of chairs can be used to practice poses such as planks and any other type of movement that combines strength with balance.


Yoga blocks are simple padded accessories that support a wider range of motion and multiple poses. Practitioners can use them to push personal limits towards higher joint flexibility.


Some parts of yoga simply require relaxation. Cushions are ideal for meditation and the relaxation part of yoga.

Exercise ball

Fitness exercise balls are also used in yoga. They are used to support the back of the legs in various poses.


Sweating can be a problem in yoga. Excessive sweat makes the yoga mat slippery. A good towel is a must among other yoga accessories.

3 Common Yoga Mistakes

Yoga requires constant attention with each movement. Characterized by a long learning curve, yoga poses can be seen as easy or difficult. Both these types of poses come with associated typical mistakes.

  • Not paying attention to back positioning

The back dictates the position of the body in all poses. It’s also where many of those with poor mobility struggle at first. While rare, yoga injuries are also mostly felt in the lower back. Paying attention to the posture of the back is essential when getting into each pose.

  • Breathing out of tune

Controlled movements and controlled breathing are essential in yoga. Some poses are strictly possible when breathing correctly. As a beginner, sinking breathing with moving can be a bit difficult. Yoga instructors typically show practitioners how to breathe at a certain pace according to a pose.

  • Using too much muscle power

While muscles are involved in yoga, they should not be overworked. Some associate yoga with Pilates where muscles work more. But yoga requires synchronization between body parts together with a lesser demand on a certain muscle.

Highly popular on its own, together with a fitness routine, or an as a healthy practice, yoga has exponentially grown in popularity. Yoga studios are the ideal places for practice as they have some of the most informed yoga instructors and some of the best premises for free movement even for group yoga. Practitioners are required to pay a membership to yoga practices which are normally held a few times per week for all skill levels.

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