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Tips for Yoga Beginners

by Jasmine McNenny on Nov 18, 2015

Yoga is a great way to exercise, relax, and just get away from the pressures and stresses of everyday life.There are countless benefits to doing yoga or some other form of stretching exercise that include alleviating pain, delaying the physical effects of aging, and reducing stress.With the internet, yoga is fairly easy to do at home, but there are usually many different classes available at local gyms and yoga studios.If you’re considering starting yoga, but feel a little nervous about the strange names, odd poses, and the expert gymnast on the mat next to you, here are a few simple tips to alleviate at least a few of those fears.

1.Make sure you know what kind of class you’re signing up for

There are many different styles of yoga and they all seem to have names that don’t give us much insight as to what they will be like.No one style is right for everyone, so whether you’re taking a class or just doing a routine at home, you may have to spend some time researching the best type of yoga for you.Vinyasa, for example, is more movement based, Power yoga includes an emphasis on strength training, and Hatha is focused on stress relief and slow movements.Whatever your goal, there is probably a yoga out there for you.Just make sure you take the time to pick the right one!

2.Find an instructor or programthat fits your needs

Going to a class at your local recreationcenter may be the perfect fit for some who are motivated by joining in with a group, but some others may find the environment intimidating or uncomfortable. Fortunately there are other options that could be a better fit for those who choose to practice at home. There are numerous youtube channels, exercise apps, guided online programs, or printed books; there's a format that willfit your needs. When the pool of sources is opened to these formats, you are able to pick an instructor that's best for you, whether it's a fierce rock'n'roll yogi, or an instructor who teaches in a way to accomodate different body types.

3.Don’t worry about the “equipment”

Most yoga classes require that you bring your own mat.Mats can be bought for around $20 at most places, and quickly rise in cost depending on how serious you want to be about it.As a beginner, just get yourself a comfy mat that gives you enough cushion, friction, and area to do the poses properly.If yoga really turns out to be your thing, you can upgrade to a high-end mat.But until then, all yoga mats pretty much function the same way – there is no reason to go crazy.

4.Recognize that you’re not an expert

Most classes are open to all levels, so as a beginner you may be lumped in with some yoga experts that have been taking classes for years.This is okay!Yoga is a personal exercise and many of the poses can be modified based on level of difficulty.Your instructor will usually give two or three options for many poses so that everyone can choose the level of intensity they are comfortable with.Unless you’re feeling very limber, don’t try to do the expert poses right off the bat.Yoga is not about straining your body, but rather gently working it into the different poses.You’ll get more out of yoga if you take your time and only attempt the more difficult stretches when you’re ready.

5.Drink water before and after

Doing yoga is not like running a 5K, nevertheless, you will probably work up a sweat doing yoga and it’s always important to stay hydrated when performing a physical activity.Since drinking water during the class itself may not be an option depending on how your instructor runs the class, it is crucial to drink plenty of water before starting and right after finishing the class.It has also been suggested that you should not drink cold water to hydrate yourself for yoga.Yoga is focused on calming the body, so a shock of cold water before or after could prevent you from getting the most out of the class.

6.Be in tune with your body and mind

Most forms of yoga involve mental relaxation.Breathing is very important, as your instructor will tell you, but so is letting your mind concentrate on something other than life’s little worries.To do yoga properly takes complete concentration on the body and the breath.Through the stretches, you will feel a release of muscles, the bending of joints, and perhaps a small amount of pain.These are all things to be aware of as you should be pushing your body to achieve results, but not to feel pain.Additionally, the mental exercise of staying in the movement and focusing on one’s body has a meditative effect and has been shown to reduce stress and boost happiness.

Once you get started and banish all those little insecurities, an hour spent doing yoga can be the perfect haven for forgetting about the world and focusing on yourself.So enjoy life, and be happy!