A Beginner’s Guide to Starting To Practice Yoga

Yoga originated in India but is practiced by tens of millions of Americans. If you’re interested in starting it, it could be that you’ve noticed others around you enjoying the many benefits of the discipline. Trying anything new for the first time can be daunting, but the right tips can help you get started safely and effectively.

A Journey of Self-Discovery

People who are new to yoga can often see the benefits of starting the practice but might not know what it is defined as. There are many ways to define yoga, but you should know it’s a system of breathing techniques and physical postures that improve physical and emotional wellness. For many practitioners, there are also meditative and spiritual elements with ethical guidelines.

Different Kinds of Yoga

When you’re a starting yogi, you need to decide what kind of yoga practice you want to pursue. Hatha yoga is a foundational and traditional choice that’s friendly to beginners. Ashtanga is a more active form of yoga that follows predetermined sequences connected by smooth transitions. Vinyasa is similar in its movement, designed to help the body cleanse itself from the inside, and Iyengar yoga permits props for comfort and support.

Potential Health Benefits

Yoga is a holistic alternative medicine that can do many beautiful things for your mind and body. These include improving your overall fitness, reducing stress and inflammation, and enhancing your general quality of life. While every session of yoga should leave you feeling better for the rest of the day, remember that it takes an ongoing practice of many trips to your mat to get the most out of it.

Things You Need

Whether you practice in a studio or at home, you’ll need several things to start doing yoga. For starters, a mat is your space to practice poses, and a storage bag is an excellent place to keep it safe and clean when not in use. Wear clothes that let you move comfortably through the poses. Modification props make many poses safe and accessible to new students, including straps, blocks, pillows, and a blanket.

Mental Preparations

Yoga starts as physical exercise for many students, but there’s a vital emotional and mental aspect. A state of acceptance is a great place to start; don’t be hard on yourself or expect perfection. Yoga isn’t something you pass or fail or win or lose. Teachers might even tell you it’s “yoga practice, not yoga perfect.” Start where you are, and realize that your body might not be the same every day you get on your mat. Release any expectations you might have so you can focus on your breathing. Finding comfort in stillness is an essential skill to long-term benefit from your practice.

Self-Practice or Find a Teacher?

You can start a self-practice at home using video tutorials, but you can learn even more if you study under a yoga teacher. Whether you attend classes in a studio or follow live courses from the comfort of your home, a yoga professional can guide you through the postures and mechanics that let you learn and explore the discipline in profound, meaningful ways.