Are You a Yoga Novice or Even a Non Starter? Top 10 Tips to Get You Going
As I write this, it is the beginning of a New Year and what better time for new beginnings and that old chestnut, the New Year resolutions. I have already made up my mind, deciding to join a yoga class for the very first time, with every intention of slowing down the aging process just a little!
And being a blog writer, I had to find out what I was likely to be letting myself into and to share it with you. I contacted an old friend in another part of the world (who is a successful yoga instructor) and he kindly gave me some of the following tips.
Those top 10 tips
1. His top tip about starting yoga is to have no ambition at all!
2. Wear comfortable clothes that let you relax and stretch.
3. Just do a little yoga at the beginning.
4. Don't ever be embarrassed when you find you cannot do anything or a particular move.
5. Learn to just let it happen as it does – go with the flow.
6. Remember that yoga is not always about contorting your body and pushing your limits.
7. In time you will learn to start a yoga habit. More strenuous poses will come later.
8. Breathing in the form of exercises help to get you centered and ready for your yoga practice.
9. One exercise is to sit cross-legged on the floor with a straight spine and your hands, palms up, on your knees while closing your eyes and taking a deep breath in. Hold your breath in for a slow count of 4 before exhaling to a slow count of eight. Wait for for eight seconds before repeating several times until you feel the calmness taking over.
10. Don't give up at the first hurdle - persevere and it will become easier in time.
Other likely exercises in a beginner yoga class
- Alternative nostril breathing.
- The cat/cow position.
- The downward facing dog pose.
- The standing forward bend.
- Warrior II.
- The lunge.
- The bridge pose.
- The reclined twist and...
They are all set out in more detail and with wonderful accompanying images here.
Yoga for health reasonsYoga is not just about slowing down the aging process. It is also associated with a wide range of physical and psychological benefits that can be especially helpful for anyone living with a chronic illness such as arthritis and there are many reasons for this:
- Beginner yoga classes provide simple, gentle movements that gradually build strength, balance and flexibility – all elements that may be especially beneficial for people with arthritis.
- As you progress, yoga goes on to increase muscle strength, improve flexibility, enhance respiratory endurance and promote balance.
- Yoga has also been shown to boost energy, build positive feelings and ease anxiety. Yoga is mind boosting and energy increasing, leading to fewer body aches and pains.
- Yoga really helps with the increased stress that goes hand-in-hand with living with a chronic disease.
- Yoga leads to lots of increased mental energy as well as positive feelings (you become more alert and enthusiastic), fewer negative feelings (less aggression and anxiety) and somatic complaints.
Yoga for pregnancy
Yoga, when specially adapted from classical yoga, is a great form of exercise for moms-to-be too, helping them to be ready for childbirth with a strong and clear mind while assisting with the body’s physical changes during pregnancy. Yoga introduces deep breathing, mindfulness and relaxation techniques that benefit and prepare a woman both physically and mentally for childbirth - and every mom-to-be could use that kind of help.
How to get started on the yoga habit?
Look for a beginner class led by a qualified teacher – who can gently and safely guide you into the ways of yoga – by checking online or your phone book. Yoga has become so popular that you will find instructors, classes and studios everywhere including local health clubs, community centers and seniors centers in your area.
When attending your first class, be sure to arrive a few minutes early and take time to introduce yourself to the instructor.
If you too are planning to join a yoga class for the first time, remember that the trick to yoga is to have no ambition. Just do a little, don't be embarrassed when you can't do anything and just let it happen as it does.
American Psychological Association. (2017). Yoga effective at reducing symptoms of depression [Press release].
Dodge J. (2014). Researcher: 'Hot' yoga yields fitness benefits.
Exercise for your bone health. (2018).
Fritz ML, et al. (2014). Acute metabolic, cardiovascular, and thermal responses to a single session of Bikram yoga.
The health benefits of sweating. (n.d.).