Regularly practicing yoga comes with numerous health benefits, including increased flexibility and strength, stress reduction and improved breathing. That said, beginning yoga can be a daunting task to novices, who must be mindful of ways to make the learning experience easier.
Start a Journal
The many tips involved in first learning yoga can easily turn into an overwhelming amount of information. Rather than trying to cram them all into an overworked brain, simply jot down the basics in what becomes a yoga journal instead. Use this notebook to keep track of postures to work on, observations of various classes and any other helpful reminders that make the journey easier.
Buy a Yoga Mat
For budget reasons, it may be tempting to just practice yoga at home on the carpet. For every other reason, this is not a good idea. Investing in a yoga mat provides a firm surface for a body that will inevitably be forced to twist into unnatural positions regularly. This is especially true with some of the more advanced yoga poses, including the spread-legged and downward-facing postures.
Use a Variety of Resources
Attending yoga classes is a great way to get started, but there’s plenty of learning to be done outside of the classroom as well. Slowly build up a collection of yoga books and instructional videos over time and watch as the knowledge successfully transfers. Books are a great way to learn more about yoga and rekindle passion when the desire to master it fades, while instructional videos assist in learning even the most complicated poses in private if desired.
It’s Not Just Physical
Yoga is more than a series of flexibility exercises; it also serves as a way to enhance mental flexibility as well. Make sure not to over-emphasize the physical aspect of yoga when first breaking in. Remember to balance the various poses and exercises with the relaxing aspect of yoga as well. Consider adding meditation to the list as well.
Practice Breathing Often
The breathing awareness that comes with yoga is an invaluable tool to manage stress, anxiety and anger in everyday life, but don’t hesitate to use it throughout the day as well, even when not in an official yoga session. Take frequent breathing breaks of roughly five minutes and focus on nothing other than the in and out rhythm of breathing. Breathing is an important aspect of yoga, and mastering these techniques will greatly aid the learning process.