April 18, 2018

a man doing a yoga handstand

Does, the thought of yoga, make you anxious?

You shouldn't be afraid.

The most important thing you need to remember is that yoga classes are very welcoming you will feel at home. You will find other beginners there, so you will not feel alone or intimidated.

Yoga is a moment you connect your body, mind through breath and movement. You can use yoga as your daily physical exercise.

Some people view yoga as a spiritual practice because of its roots in the ancient Hindu philosophy. However, the western yoga is not affiliated with any religion, and you don't need to practice any beliefs. Just show up with your mat and get on with your yoga.

Read on, and you will learn about the health benefits and some helpful tips to know before you begin your class.

Shall we? So

What is Yoga?

Yoga is a discipline which is believed to be the practice of both body and mind. It is a discipline involving breathing techniques, physical postures, relaxations, and meditation. People widely practice yoga for health and relaxation.

Why do Yoga?

To achieve a peaceful mind and body, Yoga helps you bring together your physical and mental discipline. It enables you to relax and manage anxiety and stress. It increases your flexibility, body tone, and muscle strength. Yoga will improve your energy levels, vitality, and respiration. It also builds your confidence.

Yoga is different from aerobics. However, research has shown that it is as good for improving your health. You could be wondering how? But, yes. Do you know it takes you a lot of energy to hold your body in a balanced pose?

In fact, research has revealed that it outperforms aerobics at improving body balance, strength, flexibility, menopausal symptoms, pain levels among seniors and social and occupation function.

Other physical benefits include weight reduction, maintaining a balanced metabolism, protections from bodily injury and improved athletic performance.

So before you dismiss yoga, think about these benefits for a moment.

How do you start yoga?

There is a lot to learn, explore and discover in Yoga. And, as a beginner, it can be overwhelming. So how do you ensure you are not overwhelmed?

You start by learning simple aspects of yoga.

Let me take you through some of them.

  1. Learn the breathing exercises

Breathing when holding your posture is the most important thing to do in Yoga. It involves breathing in and out through the nose into the belly.

  1. Meditation and Intention

Sit in a comfortable position for a few minutes on the ground. During this moment, you are required to focus inwards- that is meditation. You can make it a practice to pray or set goals during the meditation time.

  1. Start with the simple beginner level postures

There are General Practice Guidelines you need to read before you attempt any yoga posture.  Always start with the warm-up sequences.Then the primary yoga poses sequences.You can then explore other yoga poses to practice.

  1. End with the relaxation Pose

It is advisable always to end your yoga practice with a relaxation pose. You consciously rest and relax on your back. Relax your body for about 5-15 minutes. Then meditate for a few more minutes after this stage in a seated position to integrate your yoga practice, transitioning back into the world.

What gear do you need for Yoga?

People who practice yoga do it on bare feet. However, there are basic gears you need to feel comfortable during the exercise. You should wear comfortable workout clothes such as tights and leotard, t-shirts and shorts, sweatpants and sweatshirts.

Experts recommend shorts because you will be able to see where your knees are aligned with your feet and ankles.

Other accessories include sticky mats which provide padding and safety when doing positions. They give your feet a good grounding.

As a beginner, you may need a form block to extend your reach. They should be dense enough to support your weight.

Yoga Blanket or Towel to provide you with warmth and padding for a variety of postures.

Yoga Belt to help support and align your back and extend your grasp. You will find them very helpful when stretching your muscles especially the hamstrings.

Where do you do Yoga?

When you decide to start yoga, you need to find the right place. You can find a yoga class near you, or you can choose to practice it at home.

There are four easy poses a beginner can do to start.

  1. Mountain Pose

The mountain pose is the basic pose for all poses. You get a sense of how to ground into your feet and heel to feel the earth beneath you. You may think this is simply standing, but actually, a lot going on.

  1. Downward Facing Dog

It is a common yoga practice. It straightens and stretches your entire body.

  1. The Plank

The plank involves the balancing of your hands while using the entire body to support yourself. It strengthens your abdominals, while you learn to use your breath to help you stay in that challenging pose.

  1. The Triangle

The Triangle stretches the side of your waist, opens your lungs and strengthens your legs and tones your entire body.

Do's and Don’ts? 

There are many do’s and don’ts when practicing yoga. You may be required to read and understand the General Practice Guidelines before you begin.

Below are just some of the do’s and don’ts you have to consider.

Dos

  1. Always warm up before your yoga sessions and stay within your limits
  2. Use mat or blankets when doing your postures.
  3. Always lay on your back after your back after your posture with relaxed breathing for 3-5 minutes.

Don’ts

  1. Do not practice yoga on a full tummy. Give yourself 2-3 hours after a heavy meal
  2. Do not shower or drink water within the first 30 minutes after yoga
  3. Do not practice Yoga under direct sunlight.

When you start practicing yoga, it may feel awkward and intimidating. However, you learn best when you join a live class. You will learn to do the possess correctly. When you know what to expect, you can then focus on learning the techniques.

You can then do it at home once you have learned the basics and make progress at your own pace.


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