How To Start Yoga
Compared to other forms of exercise, yoga is known to keep you fit and strong and bring you a better mental health state, positive vibe, and well-being. Though yoga is proven beneficial in physical health as well as in mental health, the poses and the terms used in it make some people hesitant to get started. So to break the barrier, here are the things that can help you create your yoga practice.
The Basics of Yoga
It is often a misconception that the poses are the only element or form of yoga, but the truth is that yoga practice starts with breathing. The prana, or breath, is needed as you move and use your energy. There are several breathing techniques in yoga, but the very basic is breathing through your nose, filling the abdomen and chest, and slowly releasing the air through your nostrils. There are several videos available online that teach various deep breathing techniques used in yoga.
Learn The Poses
Right after you learn how to breathe properly, then you go ahead and start exploring the poses for beginners. There are a lot of poses that require you to bend, lie down, and so much more, and so you might want to start with some very simple and basic poses like the ones below:
Mountain pose (Tadasana)
This is said to be the mother of all poses because it establishes balance in the poses. To do it, simply land your feet on the ground firmly with your tailbone tucked slightly and your arms just beside your hips. You can add simple movement to this pose as well. As you inhale, extend your arms out to the sides and up overhead. As you exhale, draw your hands together and bring them down in front of your heart center.
Downward-facing dog (Adho Mukha Svanansana)
It is believed to be one of the most popular poses in yoga. It stretches your back, arms, and hamstrings. It is also great for finding the center and releasing stress. To execute it, start with your hands and knees (aligned with your hips) on the floor as your palms adjacent to your shoulders, then lift your hips up to form a triangle. Stretch your hips up as your chest moves in. Maintain this pose and feel your muscles stretch.
Cat/cow pose (Marjaryasana to Bitilasana)
This pose is great for your back. Start with your hands and knees on the floor and your back in a relaxed state. Make a big inhale, and as you exhale, pull your back up, and your chin moves in towards your chest. Onto your next inhale, arch your back, allowing the belly to move towards the floor as you lift your tailbone and head upward.
Child’s pose (Balasana)
It is considered an easy and refreshing pose after a series of challenging poses. To start, place your hands and knees on the floor, gently pull your buttocks down until your stomach rests upon your legs, leaving your back, shoulder, and arms stretched while your head rests on the mat.
Know Your Type of Yoga
To know the type of yoga that you want to practice, you must first know your motives for doing yoga. Is it for health or physical fitness? Do you want to ease your worries and find your center? Are you battling anxiety and sleep deprivation? There’s yoga for everything. Also, know what suits you well. If you are new to yoga, then it is recommended that you start with hatha yoga because of its slow-paced movement, thus allowing you to give time to work on your poses. It will also help you learn various breathing techniques so that over time you can build confidence to try other forms of yoga such as; Bikram yoga (a high temperature and intense 26 series of yoga poses) or hot yoga (a heated surrounding with a free pattern of yoga poses), kundalini yoga (chant and meditation-based yoga for mental and self-awareness), or vinyasa yoga (a fairly fast-paced class that links movement to breath).
Things to Prepare
Yoga is meant to be stress-free and simple, and you only need few things to have it start.
It is considered an essential thing in yoga. The mat will serve as your protection and your space. It would be best to have a mat in practicing yoga to avoid slipping and hurting yourself as you do the poses. It also serves as your cushion against the ground. There are rubber mats available in stores, but if you don’t have one, you can use a non-slip rug or carpet just as long as it holds its place and does not slide. Those other tools like yoga blocks, blankets, and cushions can be improvised if you plan on practicing at home. You can use a pile of hard-bound books for the yoga blocks, any blanket in your house for the blanket, and a rolled-up towel for the cushion.
There is no required or strict dress code in yoga. Wear whatever you want as long as you are comfortable, and you can move with whatever it is you’re wearing. Many yogis typically wear comfy yoga pants or shorts, and some opt to wear yoga socks as well.
This is very important, especially in hot yoga and Bikram yoga, where you will sweat a significant amount, and you’ll need to replace your fluids eventually. It is also a way to cool down if you are too exhausted.
You will need this if you plan to practice yoga at home, especially if you are not familiar with how to do the poses correctly. There are many videos and DVDs that you can choose from that will guide you and inform you of the whole yoga process now; there are many excellent online yoga classes and yoga YouTube channels available to learn from.
How to Start
Whether going to a studio class or practicing at home, it’s essential to minimize distractions. Start by turning off your phone or keeping it away. Next is to prepare your body and mind. As a newbie, it is ideal to start your yoga with breathing exercises and meditation. If you are following an instructional DVD, they begin by teaching you and explaining the breathing exercise and sounding om as a chant, and then they will smoothly transition to the poses they will guide and explain to along the way.
Likewise, if you are attending yoga for beginners in yoga class, the teacher will walk you through it by leading an example. What’s great about following a course is that the teacher can teach you the correct yoga postures or assist you if you have a hard time. Lastly, do not feel intimidated if you cannot ace the poses immediately. Remember that not all people have the same flexibility and strength. You will eventually move fluidly and gracefully as you keep practicing and being consistent in your yoga sessions. The important thing is that you are doing your best and you are enjoying what you do. And not for long, you’ll reap the benefits of yoga in your overall life.
They say that the most challenging part of doing something is starting it. It is challenging to create something like a new fitness regime because it is hard to fight our laziness – the comfort of doing nothing and just lounging is more appealing than getting up, changing clothes, and sweating. Our biggest competition is ourselves – it is ourselves who defy our will, it is our self-doubt that keeps us from succeeding, and it is ourselves who pull us from where and what we are meant to be.