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An Introductory Guide to Yoga & Pilates SEARCH  for NORTH WEST PILATES CLASSES YOGA is a comprehensive system of personal development, originating thousands of years ago in India, but the type of Yoga most commonly practised in the West today is Hatha Yoga, one of the branches of yogic philosophy that focuses mainly on the physical postures, or asana. The aim of Hatha Yoga (from the Sanskrit word meaning to yoke, or join), is to bring about a 'union' of the opposing energies in our bodies... 'ha' meaning sun (masculine) and 'tha' meaning moon (feminine), through the practice of specific physical postures (asana), controlled breathing, (pranayama) and meditation. Regular practice can develop strength, power and balance in the body, stillness in the mind, and spiritual purity. Yoga can be practised by anyone, of any age, and there are classes available to suit all levels and abilities, from the absolute beginner or less agile, to the more experienced who want to develop further. Hatha Yoga incorporates many different styles, and varies from a gentle, relaxed pace, where various physical poses are maintained for a certain length of time, to the more powerful, dynamic styles, such as Vinyasa, where the emphasis is on synchronised breathing and flowing movement between one posture and the next. As a complete workout for body and mind, this style is is both relaxing and energising... bringing increased vitality, improved concentration and a sense of inner calm. Variations in basic Yoga techniques have also been developed by different teachers over the years, one of the most widely popular being that taught by BKS Iyengar from India. Many people practise Yoga for the health benefits alone, as it can improve and maintain suppleness in the joints, relieve headaches and migraine, improve respiratory conditions, improve quality of sleep, help to reduce stress and anxiety levels and enable you to cope better with the demands of a busy modern lifestyle. It can also be very beneficial for pregnant women, both during pregnancy and afterwards, as yoga helps to strengthen important muscles and promotes relaxation. Attending regular classes can also provide a welcome opportunity to meet up with other new mums. You'll find many different types of class listed on this website, for all ages and abilities, and there are even classes for children. (Also see our new Holistic Parenting section) Some styles of Yoga you'll find offered in listings include: Hatha Yoga, Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga, Iyengar Yoga, Sivananda Yoga, Dru Yoga, Yin Yoga, Kundalini Yoga, Dynamic Flow Yoga, Shen Yoga. If you're not sure which type of class is best for you, or need more information about a specific style of yoga, please refer to the class listings or contact any of your locally listed teachers for further details. PILATES is a gentle holistic exercise system, originally developed by Joseph Pilates in Germany during the early 20th Century, as a method of improving physical and mental health. Pilates exercises are designed to improve the body's core strength - focusing on the toning of the back, abdominal and pelvic muscles, whilst at the same time improving flexibility, posture and fitness. The holistic approach also trains your mind to become aware of how your body works, and aims to bring about physical and mental balance. The exercises can be beneficial to both men and women of all ages and fitness levels, and can also be useful during and after pregnancy, under the guidance of a properly trained teacher. Pilates teachers modify the basic techniques to suit different abilities as required, so the exercises can be used either as a general workout, or tailored to a more specific purpose, such as rehabilitation from an injury. Pilates classes are very popular today, and you will generally find two types being offered, either Apparatus or Matwork. Apparatus classes are usually held in a specially equipped fitness studio, as the exercises involve using large pieces of equipment such as the 'Reformer', 'Cadillac' and 'Ladder Barrel', which are designed to provide resistance and support for the body during the exercise routine. This type of class is usually held in small private groups, or on a one-to-one basis, and you will normally receive a higher level of individual attention in this type of class. Your instructor will tailor the exercise programme to your specific needs & rate of progression. Matwork classes are more widely available, and you'll find them in all sorts of venues, from community halls to leisure centres. This type of class is usually larger and less expensive than an apparatus based class, and most of the exercises are carried out lying down on mats, sometimes using small pieces of equipment. Again, the pilates teacher can modify the programme to suit your needs if you have a specific health problem, such as a bad back or arthritis. Because Pilates improves co-ordination and balance, it is a popular choice for sports people, athletes and dancers. These benefits however, are also advantageous to older people, as maintaining good physical balance decreases the risk of falling or having an accident. In addition, regular Pilates practice can help to maintain bone density and keep the body strong into old age. If you're not sure which type of Pilates is best for you, please refer to the listings and contact any of your locally listed teachers, to find out more... About Us Advertising Options Update your Listing Listing Help & Advice Contact Us Find Holistic Therapist & Healers Find Meditation Classes & Groups Find Development Groups Find Yoga & Holistic Exercise Classes Find Courses, Workshops & Retreats Therapy Organisations Terms & Conditions Privacy Policy Site Map Home In our Holistic Exercise Class Directory  you can Search for Classes  offering: Yoga, Pilates Tai Chi, Qigong Holistic Dance Dance styles include: BellyDance Circle Dance & Nia All Classes are held within these areas of the North West UK: Cumbria Lancashire Gtr Manchester Cheshire Merseyside Wirral North Wales Search  for NORTH WEST YOGA CLASSES Did you know...? Yoga or Pilates practised during and after pregnancy can be very beneficial in helping your body and mind to prepare from and recover from the birth. Some Yoga or Pilates teachers run special pre/post natal classes which you can search for under Yoga or Pilates. Also see our  Holistic Parenting  section, for birthing classes, Yoga for children  and more... PRE/POST NATAL YOGA & PILATES You can find North West Pilates Classes in our: Holistic Exercise Class Directory You can find North West Yoga Classes in our: Holistic Exercise Class Directory North West Events Diary  Add an Event Holistic Market Place Holistic Parenting Therapy Rooms & Venues If you’re looking for a Yoga Retreat  or Workshop  try our NW Events Diary or the Courses, Workshops & Retreats Directory ADVERTISE your CLASS *Free Listings Available* Add the details of your Classes to our Holistic Exercise Class Directory,  and see how your class numbers increase! Teachers of Yoga, Pilates, Tai Chi, Qigong, Bellydance, Nia, Circle Dance etc all welcome... Click Here to Add a Listing