If you’ve been stressing a lot more lately due to the global pandemic, financial uncertainty, Christmas preparations, etc., it might be time to try yoga. This exercise is excellent for both the mind and body and has many benefits for people of all ages. Here are some tips that all beginners to the practice need to know .
Talk to a Doctor Before You Begin
It’s wise to speak with your doctor before you begin yoga. Although this exercise is a gentler form than many and can undoubtedly be done by most people, some movements aren’t the best for people with mobility limitations or medical issues.
For example, anyone with glaucoma is advised to steer clear of inverted yoga positions, as these can increase pressure on the eyes. As such, chat with your regular medical practitioner before starting yoga in case there’s anything you need to know.
Learn from a Trained Professional
It’s possible to learn yoga moves these days from a wide variety of sources and platforms. Besides traditional on-site classes, you can also get lessons and tutorials via apps, YouTube and other videos, books, and other avenues. This is helpful because it means yoga is accessible to anyone no matter their budget, location, or other means.
However, it does mean you need to be careful to take tips from people who know what they’re talking about. You don’t want to hurt yourself by following incorrect methods or being unaware of pertinent factors. As such, make sure you learn from trained, experienced professionals.
Try Different Yoga Types to Find the Best Fit for Your Needs
Since there are so many different yoga styles on offer, it pays to trial a variety. Don’t be put off by testing one yoga class and then thinking the whole exercise form isn’t for you because you didn’t like it. Instead, trial options such as the general, slower-paced, suitable-for-beginners Hatha, or Iyengar, which is focused on having proper form.
There’s also, among others, restorative yoga that concentrates on getting to a meditative state and releasing tension; faster-paced, more energetic Ashtanga; Bikram, that’s done in a heated room; and Vinyasa, which concentrates significantly on breathing.
Beginners generally don’t have the best flexibility. They often come from a base where they haven’t done much stretching or have limitations in particular body parts, such as bad knees, a stiff neck, a sore shoulder, or issues-prone back. Even if you don’t have any body tightness, it pays to utilize accessories to help you get comfortable in different yoga poses.
Props such as a quality yoga pillow made from natural materials, a high bolster, straps, blocks, socks, gloves, incline boards, and more will help you get into and out of positions, hold them for longer, and attain the correct form. They’ll make it easier to ensure you don’t hurt yourself, too.
Focus on Your Own Progress
If you’re like many people, when you start doing yoga, you might want to try to keep up with others in your class or see rapid progress, so you feel like you’re a success. However, it’s essential to go at your own pace and focus only on your own progress. Everyone has a different body with different strengths and weaknesses, after all.
To enjoy your yoga sessions and get the most out of them, try to release expectations about what you can achieve and when. Respect your body’s individual limitations and take it step by step, week by week. Remember, too, that you’ll have good days and bad days, so you won’t always be able to stay in poses for the same length of time or to the same degree each time you practice. The more frequently you engage in yoga, though, and keep up your commitment to it, the more progress you should see over time.
Some other tips to help you as a beginner include:
- Wear suitable clothing so you can move freely
- Don’t eat or drink too much before you begin each session
- Set an intention for each practice to give you something helpful to focus on and make it more mindful
- Complete yoga with friends or family members if you struggle to make time for it and many other things get in the way
Yoga is an ancient exercise that can be done by anyone, pretty much anywhere. There’s never a bad time to begin it, so why not make 2021 the year that you regularly incorporate this practice into your life?