Yoga is one of the most popular forms of relaxation and exercise, and it’s stuck around for long enough to prove that it’s a lot more than just a passing fad – it’s here to stay, and the numbers of active yoga practitioners is still on the rise.
If you’d like to be healthier and feel better, yoga is a great form of exercise to start no matter where your fitness levels are at.
Here’s the essential guide to tackling yoga for beginners.
Types of Yoga for Beginners
The first thing you have to decide on is the type of yoga that you’ll be practising. There are thousands of books available on specialist forms of yoga like practising yoga with your newborn or tackling yoga when you first start out, and it’s recommended that you settle on the type of yoga that you’re most comfortable with.
· Kundalini Yoga is a popular form of yoga that focuses on poses, breathing techniques and releasing Kundalini-energy through yoga.
Hatha Yoga is another one of the most widely practised forms of yoga; “Hatha” means “force”, and Hatha Yoga combines several poses and breathing techniques for a healthier lifestyle.
· Bikram Yoga uses many of the traditional breathing techniques and poses of other yoga disciplines, but Bikram Yoga is most often practised under special conditions, such as a heated room.
Research each a little bit more before you make your choice, and if you’re struggling to decide, ask a yoga teacher to recommend a form of yoga that suits you and your needs best.
The Physical Benefits of Yoga
There are many studies that attest to the physical benefits of yoga, and it’s greatly contributed to a lot of the popularity yoga has received. People love yoga because it makes you feel better – and that’s not all.
People who practice yoga often report improved levels of flexibility and much less pain in their muscles or joints in just a few weeks of regular yoga practice.
Yoga can also improve your long-term health for the better and has been shown to help with breathing, overall strength, joint and muscle pain, endurance and heart health when practised a few times per week for as little as eight weeks.
The Mental Benefits of Yoga
Yoga isn’t just meant for the body; yoga practice has also been shown to be great for the mind. There are many long-term mental benefits associated with practising yoga, including alleviating the symptoms of depression, lessening general anxiety and improving mood – when your body is happy, your brain naturally releases its “happy chemicals.”
Yoga can even improve your general mental sharpness and help to make you more aware of your general health. Regular yoga practice is often what people need to kick their bodies into gear and make them realize they need to live a regular, healthy lifestyle that includes a healthy diet.
The Best Poses for a Beginner
There are thousands of yoga for beginners poses out there, and beginners often don’t know where to start. As a first rule-of-thumb, don’t start with advanced yoga practices when you’re only starting out – skipping right to the “advanced” moves puts you at risk of serious injury when your body isn’t ready for the poses meant for people who are used to stretching that way!
If you’re only beginning your journey into yoga, you can start with these five essential poses:
· 1. The Sun Salute
· 2. The Downward-Facing Dog
· 3. The Cat Pose
· 4. The Corpse Pose
· 5. The Mountain Pose
Remember to stretch your muscles properly a few minutes before you move into a new yoga pose!
Getting Yoga Accessories
Do you really need yoga accessories? No – but they can sure help. Luckily, you don’t need anything fancy to get started with yoga practice at home. Most people are happy with a simple roll-up yoga mat as their first (and sometimes only) yoga accessory, but others like to branch out with more yoga accessories, and some people even use weights.
As a beginner, it’s a good idea to start small. You don’t need much more than a yoga mat, and that’s part of why yoga has become so immensely popular.
When it comes to yoga for beginners, apps can be a big help in getting to know yoga terms and yoga poses. Try Pocket Yoga, Daily Yoga or Yoga Studio for yoga poses right at your fingertips.