I was about 13 years old when I was first introduced to Yoga. I took a class with my mom through the rec department. I enjoyed it, but it wasn't until after college that I began to practice Yoga on a regular basis. Some time around the early 2000's, I started taking a Hatha Yoga class at the local Community College. It was twice a week, after work and the class only cost about $50.00 for the entire semester. This is very inexpensive compared to what you would pay at a private Yoga studio. It was a great class and I took it for 4 consecutive semesters.
One down side to taking classes at the community college is the summer and holiday breaks. No class. Wanting to continue with my Yoga practice, during this time I would explore other Yoga class, both at my gym and other local Yoga studios. I never really found another teacher that was as good as the one at the community college.
I stopped completely when I had back surgery in 2006. My back surgeon advised me not to do Yoga anymore. Because my spine is fused in one area, it compromises the disk above it. Doing spinal twists and hyper-extending my back is very dangerous. While the practice of Yoga may be very beneficial for the back for most people, when you have a back structure like mine, some of these poses may do more harm than good.
I am almost five years post surgery. I am not flexible by any means and I really need to work on stretching on a regular basis. I decided to try Yoga again, just to see if it could help my muscles loosen up a little. I check to see if the community college was still offering the class and I was sad to discover it was cut due to the economy. I decided to try the Yoga class at my gym. Now, you may have realized I want against my doctors orders by doing this. I am not advising this. However, a big part of the Yoga practice is listening to your body. A good Yoga teacher will always encourage their students to only do what they can, to never push beyond your ability, and to always listen to your body. Because I have learned these tools, I decided I could try Yoga again, as long as I remember my limitations.
I went to class for about two months, but have decided to stop. The class was too repetitive and I felt like there were a lot of muscle groups not being stretched. I also could not do a lot the poses because of my limitations. I am going to try and continue some basic Yoga poses on my own. Poses that I know are safe, but can help me stretch out these muscles.
I also love Yoga because a big part of the practice is breathing. I really enjoy spending the time focusing on the breath and practicing big, deep breaths. Good mucus clearance. I have even experienced good sinus drainage from breathing deep through the nose.