Are you curious to try yoga but don’t know what it is or what the benefits are? We have the perfect guide for you! In this article, we’ll explore what yoga is and why you should consider practicing it.
A. What is Yoga?
Yoga is a practice that incorporates physical, mental, and spiritual elements. It is an ancient practice, originating in India thousands of years ago, that uses a variety of poses, postures, and breathing techniques to stretch and strengthen the body. The goal of yoga is to increase flexibility, balance, and strength, as well as relax and de-stress the mind. Yoga is for everyone, regardless of age, physical ability, or lifestyle; there are various types of yoga to fit the needs of each individual.
B. Benefits of Yoga
Yoga is one of the best forms of exercise, offering a variety of physical and mental benefits. It helps to improve muscle strength, flexibility, balance, and coordination, and is also a great way to reduce stress and promote relaxation. Studies have shown that regular yoga practice can also help improve concentration, boost energy levels, reduce blood pressure and cholesterol, relieve chronic pain, and improve immunity. Whether you want to improve physical health, destress, or improve overall wellness, yoga is a great choice.
What Do You Need?
A. Yoga Supplies
When you are just starting out with yoga, you will need some essential yoga supplies for the best experience. Investing in a good quality yoga mat is a must as it will help with balance and give you a barrier between you and the floor. A yoga bolster is also a great item to have for support in certain poses. Yoga blocks are great for reaching deeper levels and Advanced Poses. Additionally, a strap can help to provide support and extend your reach.
B. Clothing & Accessories
When you are practicing yoga, it is best to wear comfortable and flexible clothing. Fitted workout or yoga pants are a great option, or even shorts in the warmer months. A comfortable, breathable top can help you to stay cool while you practice. Additionally, you may wish to invest in a pair of yoga gloves if the mat is slippery or sweat absorbing grips if you suffer excessively from sweaty palms.
C. Setting Up a Home yogastudio
When setting up a home yoga studio, you will need to create a calming and inviting atmosphere. Choose a quiet area that receives good natural light or bring in uplifting lighting if needed. You will also need a few key accessories to complete the space. A nice area rug with some comfortable cushions and blankets can help to create a cozy and warm atmosphere. A few calming pieces of décor like crystal or Himalayan salt lamps and diffusers with essential oils can help to set the ambience. Finally, choosing calming music to practice can be a great way to help you relax and focus.
A. Different Types of Yoga
Yoga is an ancient practice that can be found in many different forms today. Generally, there are six styles of yoga that beginners should become familiar with in order to find the best practice for them. Hatha is the most popular option, incorporating basic postures and breathing techniques. Vinyasa is a flow-style practice that links postures together in a sequence. If a more spiritual practice is what you’re looking for, try Kundalini, which incorporates breathwork, chanting, and meditation. Other styles include Power, Restorative, and Yin yoga.
B. Anatomy of a Yoga Class
Yoga classes typically start off with some breaths, giving practitioners the opportunity to focus their minds and increase their awareness. In most classes, postures (asanas) are done in a sequence, with teachers often focusing on one body area each session, such as the arms and shoulders or legs and hips. There will most likely be some instructions about how to modify poses if needed for your body and level, as well as how long to hold them. All classes will end with a period of relaxation (savasana) where practitioners can find peace and quiet.
C. Yoga Posture Basics
The basic postures in yoga are rooted in the Hatha tradition, although they are commonly used across most styles of practice. First, start by learning the most basic poses, such as the mountain, child’s pose, and downward-facing dog, as these will help you become familiar with the practice of yoga. As you become more familiar with the practice, start exploring more challenging poses such as plank, chair, and warrior. Be sure to focus on proper alignment to get the most out of your postures, and remember to breathe deeply to stay connected to your practice.
A. Breathing Techniques
When first starting out with yoga, it’s important to focus on your breath. Start to become aware of how often you are taking in air and how you are doing it. Start to focus on your inhales and exhales and breathing through the nose. Breathing correctly helps to ensure that you get the most out of each and every yoga pose. Once you start to get the hang of it, you’ll find that breathing correctly can really transform how you feel and adds a whole new element to each yoga practice.
B. Sun Salutation Series
The sun salutation series is a traditional set of poses in yoga. It helps open and warm up the body for other poses later. It consists of eight poses preformed in a series. Starting with mountain pose, raising your arms above your head for upward salute and then swooping the body down for forward fold. From there you’ll do a plank pose, cobra, downward dog and back to forward fold. Finish up with a few mountain pose and upward salute. We recommend starting with this series and then setting up for the next pose from it.
C. Basic Sequences/ Beginner Poses
When it comes to yoga there’s a variety of poses that you’ll come across, but when starting out it’s a good idea to keep it basic. Beginner poses are easy to follow and make a good foundation for the body. Some of the most common beginner poses are warrior I, warrior II, triangle pose, bridge pose, tree pose and cat and cow. Not only will these poses help build strength and flexibility but you’ll also get to practise balance and mindfulness. Give yourself a few weeks of consistent practice and you’ll be able to add in more advanced poses and sequences.
A. Moving with Mindfulness
When beginning a yoga practice, it’s important to approach each pose with mindfulness both for your physical and mental well-being. Be aware of how each pose makes your body and mind feel, and avoid pushing past your own personal threshold. Move with the mindfulness that your practice is a journey and not a race.
B. Yoga Etiquette
Whether taking a yoga class in person or streaming one online, there are certain yoga etiquette rules to be mindful of. Make sure to bring a mat, towel, and water bottle, and wipe down your mat before and after each use. Yoga classes are often a place of peace and reflection, so please respect the space and be kind to your fellow yogis.
C. Finding a Teacher/Studio
Consider asking a friend or family member if they can recommend a teacher or studio they trust. Alternatively, online reviews are another way to narrow down trusted teachers and studios in your area. Before booking a class, make sure to check out the studio and the teacher’s credentials. All the best!
Yoga is an incredible practice that offers the body, mind and soul a myriad of benefits. Not only is it a great way to stay in shape and healthy, but it can also reduce stress, improve flexibility, foster mindful thinking, and promote feelings of relaxation. On top of all of that, it can be practiced almost anywhere making it a great form of exercise to fit into even the busiest of schedules.
In this article, we discussed the importance of mindful breathing, the different types of postures, and different yoga staples such as chaturanga and vinyasa. We also explored how to move through poses that use the principle of muscle engagement, and which elements of yoga could easily fit into your daily practice.
Yoga is a lifelong practice that can be honed and perfected over time. It encourages us to find stillness of mind and a connection of body and soul. Whether you’re a complete beginner or simply looking to add something new to your routine, incorporating yoga into your lifestyle can provide invaluable balance and well-being. Now that you’ve learned the basics, what are you waiting for? Start your yoga journey today!