Yoga is everywhere these days. All over the world, more and more people are discovering the excellent benefits of practicing yoga. Although the physical and mental benefits are more than impressive, sometimes people who are interested in trying yoga find themselves intimidated and unsure of where to start.
Here are some possible concerns of those who are intrigued by yoga:
These thoughts and feelings are all natural. The world of yoga may be unfamiliar territory and you may be worried that you’ll embarrass yourself or wont be able to keep up with others.
In this article, we will explore yoga with the intent of making it a little less intimidating and give you insight and tips that you need in order to get started on your journey. We will discuss the basics of yoga and talk about where and how to get started.
Everyone can do yoga. And you can begin your journey at your own pace and even in your own preferred style.
Let’s start with the basics.
What is Yoga?
Yoga originated within the Hindu religion, in India as early as 26,000 years ago.
Yoga includes spiritual, mental and physical practices.
The word yoga can be translated as “union”. The purpose of yoga is to disconnect from the outside world and to connect (or create a union) your mind and body with the universe.
Yoga involves physical movement as well as breathing techniques and exercises. Practicing different physical postures aka Yoga poses (or asanas) exercises and engages your body as a whole and helps to stretch, tone, and increase flexibility. Yoga poses help to relieve stress and pain, allow you to relax, and rejuvenate your mind, body and soul.
Now that you know a little background information about yoga, lets explore different options on how and where to get started!
Every person is different. We may all have varied preferences and comfort levels when it comes to trying new things. Luckily, in the world of yoga, there are many ways that you can get started. There are plenty of varied settings and learning tactics that you can explore in order to decide what works best for you. Lets look at some different options together:
Start from home watching tutorials. In this day and age, we have easy access to unlimited amounts of information. Thanks to platforms like Youtube, we can explore countless accounts that offer beginner yoga lessons. There are complete beginner videos that can walk you through a quick yoga workout and introduce you to some basic poses you can practice. Along with Youtube, you can purchase instructional beginners DVDs, explore yoga apps, read books about yoga etc. The knowledge is out there, waiting for you to explore and familiarize yourself with the world of yoga. You can even pay for your own, personal, private virtual yoga studio classes. This is a great way to get the experience of a class, with the instruction of an expert, from the comfort of your own home.
Venture out into the real world and try a beginners yoga class. Going to a physical yoga class can be intimidating. You may not know what to expect and this uncertainty can be uncomfortable. Since this is all new to you, you don’t want to be completely clueless with a bunch of yoga masters twisted up in pretzels. Don’t worry, there are level one, beginners classes that you can attend. This means that all of your fellow classmates are going to be new to this, just like you! Any good yoga studio will have a knowledgeable, patient instructor, ready to assist you and walk you through each pose with ease.
Go a little early to pick out your spot. Not rushing in will make you more comfortable. There will likely be a designated area to keep your socks and shoes. Don’t be shy! Introduce yourself to the instructor. You can tell them it is your first time and you are unsure of what to expect. Let them know of any injuries that you have so that they can offer you different modifications of each pose if need be.
When the class is complete, the instructor will likely put their hands together, bow to the class and say “namaste”. The meaning of namaste is to say “I see you, I honor you.” In order to participate, place your empty hands together in prayer stance. Place your hands in front of your chest and say “namaste” as you participate in a small forward bow. Repeating this is your way of saying “thank you” to the instructor.
Do your own thing. Your yoga journey can be as laxed as you wish. Put on some relaxing tunes. Stretch and do what feels good. There have been times where I have literally spent hours just stretching out my body and doing what feels good/right. There may not have been any actual official yoga poses involved at all. Just a lot of me laying on my living room floor, moving around and holding different stretches/positions wherever I felt any tension. As long as you are peaceful, and focusing on your breath and the needs of your body, you are doing something right. You can keep it as casual as you’d like. Stretch throughout your day whenever you get the chance!
Stay tuned for upcoming posts where we explore additional tips for beginning your yoga journey including yoga props you may need, ways to stay motivated, beginner yoga poses, tips on incorporating yoga into your schedule as well as reviews on some of my favorite yoga clothes and gear.