Yoga is a holistic approach that offers a wide range of health benefits, including physical and mental wellbeing. Research shows that yoga strengthens muscles, improves body flexibility, enhances cardiovascular and respiratory function, promotes recovery from addiction and dependency, and reduces depression, anxiety, and stress. Yoga also improves your sleep pattern and improves your overall health.
Taking your first yoga class may be overwhelmingly daunting for many beginners, but experts say that it shouldn’t be intimidating if you know what to expect. A typical yoga class lasts between 45-90 minutes, depending on the instructor and style. A yoga class often begins with focusing on the breath, poses or “asanas,” and ends with meditation. Here are several tips to help practice yoga for beginners.
Step 1. Embrace a Yoga Mindset
Most people consider modern yoga as a form of exercise, but it is much more than that, for many, it is a lifestyle and perspective. Yoga is a Sanskrit word, which means “union,” something that reflects all aspects of life.
Living in a state of yoga means combining your thoughts and present state. Although the mindset usually takes many years to embrace, it is best to begin your yoga journey with an open mind and willingness both mentally and physically. Most yogis recommend taking a moment to appreciate your life, body, and circumstances before practicing yoga for the first time.
Step 2. No Expectations on the Mat
Expectations slip away when you start practicing gratitude. Examples of expectations are: “I should be able to touch my toes already,” “this looks very easy on YouTube, but can I do it?” or “I need high-quality equipment and clothing to practice some yoga postures.”
While expectations can be motivating, focus on the core of what you do, and then slowly add extra things in. Although yoga can be demanding physically, you can begin working on your mental state. Getting yourself into the right mindset and learning to practice mentally will lead to a more natural, safe, and pleasant yoga experience.
Step 3. Focus on Your Mind-Body Connection
Breathing exercises are very important in all stages of your yoga journey. Throughout your yoga practice, focus on connecting your breath with movement. The connection between breath and awareness is an essential aspect of yoga for beginners, whether you fill your chest with fresh air in a particular yoga pose or take a forceful exhale in a Kundalini Yoga class.
Focusing on your inhalation and exhalation is beneficial for beginners. Not only does it streamline your yoga practice, but it also leads to reduced stress, better sleep, and mental awareness. For instance, if you are having difficulty with some more advanced yoga poses, you should start by focusing on your breath and letting it guide your practice and restraints.
Step 4. Focus on the Fundamentals of Yoga Poses
Mastering the art of breathing and practicing physical poses goes side-by-side. Once you are ready to practice the physical aspect of yoga, it’s important to begin small to avoid injury.
Whether you begin with an online yoga channel or a local studio, it is crucial to start with basic postures like Child’s Pose, Downward-Facing Dog and Mountain Pose. Learn the fundamentals of yoga before moving onto poses that require advanced balance and upper-body strength.
While you may think beginner yoga poses are too easy for you, focus on the fundamentals of the poses. For example, Downward-Facing Dog can be refreshingly difficult, and you should focus on lengthening the spine, pushing your hips back, aligning your body, and pressing into your heels. That’s a lot to think about in one beginner pose! Make sure you keep this in mind as you practice. Learn the fundamentals of each pose and proper alignment before moving on to the next pose. This will help you maximize your practice.
Step 5. Find Beginner Yoga Classes Near You
Working with an experienced yoga instructor is the best way to begin your yoga journey. Use the internet to search for a qualified yoga teacher or browse local yoga studios yourself to find an instructor who inspires you and teaches you a well-rounded yoga class.
Keep in mind that every yoga studio offers different classes to students of all levels, and you need to ask the instructor about the best yoga class or program for you. Introduce yourself to the teacher and tell him or her about your requirements to eliminate your nervousness.
Let the instructor know that you are new to the yoga program, so your instructor makes adjustments and modifications for you throughout the class. Ease into your yoga practice and begin by practicing just once or twice a week. As you become more comfortable, practice yoga as regularly as you feel you need to.
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