Yoga is a combination of traditional techniques, including physical poses, mindful meditation, and deep breathing. There are many physical and mental benefits of yoga, but the biggest advantage of practicing yoga is to achieve holistic health connecting your body with your mind and spirit. Yoga can become part of your daily ritual, and you can tailor your practice to your body and any conditions you may have.
Yoga’s benefits go well beyond flexibility, with benefits from brain health and healthy aging to sinusitis and osteoporosis
If you are new to yoga, here are 10 tips for beginners that will help you start your yoga journey.
1. Find a Professional Yoga Instructor
Before taking up yoga, be sure to find a yoga instructor that is certified to avoid injury. If you are practicing from home and using online resources, be sure that your online instructor is certified and not giving you false information. One way to do this is by asking or looking for certification information. Finding a good, certified yoga teacher will not only lower the risk of injury, but it was also ensure that you are receiving the best yoga education and leadership. Many beginners quit yoga at first because they find the practice boring or unenjoyable, a good yoga instructor will lead you through practice in a fun, informative and mindful manner.
2. Don’t Push Yourself
Simply put, some yoga poses are just not designed for beginners. They require more flexibility or balance, and practicing these poses too early on can lead to injury. To avoid this, you should work with your yoga instructor to moderate poses and build up to more advanced postures. It is imperative that you do not attempt poses that are beyond your reach or that make you feel uncomfortable. Instead, focus on your strength and flexibility, and slowly build on it over time. Ahimsa is the principle of non-harm, which can help you master skills and practice yoga safely.
3. Master Breathing Techniques
Many people think yoga is all about physical poses. However, it is essential to focus on breathing techniques because no yoga pose is complete without proper breathing. It helps you balance your body and find harmony between your body and mind. Learn to breathe into your entire body while performing different poses. Try Breath of Fire for a full-body, essential breathing technique.
4. Focus On Your Own Progress
If you start comparing yourself with others and how they are progressing, you may lose your momentum, especially in a yoga class with all different levels of yogis. Remember, each yogi has their own goals and objectives. So, avoid comparing yourself with others and focus inwards on your progress. Yoga is not a competition, and is instead, about focusing on your mind and body. Remember, slow and steady wins the race!
5. Don’t Take It Too Seriously
As with all new exercises, don’t be so hard on yourself! Take your yoga practice lightly, and expect to wobble, fall and have some true fails. All of us have been there, and this is part of any yoga journey. Undoubtedly, yoga requires you to pay full attention to your mind and body. Instead of beating yourself up over not being able to achieve an advanced poses early on, master the poses you have already started and then learn new, more difficult ones. Relax your mind and body, and do not try to force poses early on, this will lead to injury.
6. Maintain a Healthy Diet
For a healthy mind and body, it is important to maintain a healthy, balanced diet. With regular yoga practice, you should also stay hydrates and avoid alcohol, sugars and caffeine. An Ayurvedic diet is rich in vegetables and purifying spices that naturally detox the body – leading to optimum health and improved focus. Avoid ample amounts of caffeine, sugar, alcohol and drugs, and include as many vegetables in your diet as possible.
7. Wear Comfortable Clothes
Yoga involves various stretching exercises that you will perform in different directions. Avoid wearing clothes that will restrict your movement. Make sure you wear loose clothes, so you can easily bend your body, bend forward, or turn upside down. For women, we recommend yoga pants or leggings that are not too restrictive, and either a sports bra or exercise top. For men, you may choose exercise shorts and a t-shirt.
8. Practice is Key
Ease your way into yoga, but do not get disheartened by difficult poses or monotonous classes. Instead, focus on mastering the path that is ahead of you, and stay consistent in your practice. Set small targets for yourself, and then advance – this will ensure you are always challenged, but never lose flexibility, and are consistently improving your flexibility and awareness throughout your practice.
9. Don’t Skip Savasana
Experts recommend finishing your yoga practice withCorpse Pose (Savasana), however many people skip this pose at the end of class under the assumption that it is a boring or unproductive pose. While it is a simple pose that requires you to lie flat on the floor and relax, Savasana is one of the most difficult poses to calm and focus your body.
10. Modify Poses with Props
There are many tools and props that you can use when just getting started with yoga. Even more experienced yogis still use props for certain poses, to help them deepen a pose or balance better. There is no shame in using these tools in your practice. Whether you are practicing at home or in a studio, be sure to have the proper equipment, even though it is minimal, like a yoga mat, blocks and straps. We recommend the Mounts Adams Pro Fit XL mat. It is large enough to really spread out and stay comfortable, thick enough to kneel without hurting your knees, and made with a closed-cell design that inhibits bacterial growth and is easy to clean. Throw all of your yoga tools in an easy-to-carry yoga bag like these.