A Beginner’s Guide to Yoga

Now that you have decided that you want to experience the benefits yoga brings into your life when practiced better concentration, an easing of anxiety and stress, the alleviation of depression, muscle pain and so much more, it is now time to get to your first class and get on board the yogi train.

Due to it being perceived as more than a typical exercise routine, yoga is often an intimidating sport to take on for beginners but really, there is nothing to be scared of, as it is all about you finding a connection between your mind and body rather than competing with other yogis.

In lieu of all the questions yoga beginners often ask their teachers, other yogis and questions googled on the internet, we thought we would come up with a list answering the questions yoga beginners often have.

Is there only one kind of yoga?

No, in fact, there are a few different styles, such as:

  1. Ashtanga (Power) yoga is an intense form of yoga due to it being quite fast-paced as practitioners move from one pose to the next.

  2. Hatha yoga includes poses for beginners with a flow moving at a slow and gentle pace.

  3. Bikram (hot) yoga is performed in a room with temperatures of 95-100 degrees Fahrenheit to stimulate sweating to ease muscle tension and enable the body to cleanse.

  4. Vinyasa yoga involves more advanced stretches with workouts revolving around the connection of the breath to the movement of the body.

  5. Iyengar yoga gives more attention to the detail of each pose so the postures are held for a longer duration and this class includes props like blankets, belts and blocks.

What should I do in my first class?

While following the directions of your teacher, keep in mind that this is your first class so stay calm and focus on your breathing and how your body is feeling. Dont try to perfect the poses on your first day.

Should I practice yoga every day?

You will be able to feel the benefits of yoga even if you practice it for one hour a week but the more you practice yoga, the more you will see the positive elements that come with this form of exercise.

Can I do stretching exercises instead of yoga?

Yoga is great for stretching but it is more than a mere form of stretching sequence to prepare your body for other forms of exercise. Yoga helps us to connect the mind, body, and breathand it enables us to direct our attention inwardthus creating an inner form of awareness that proves yoga is not just a goal oriented exercise but a practice that is ongoing.

What should I wear for yoga class?

A comfortable pair of gym yoga pants, together with a sports bra and a top that allows you to move without having to fix your outfit with every posture is the best way to dress.

I lack flexibility should I give up on yoga?

Absolutely not! Come to class however much you may feel inadequate and inflexible ? you will find that in time and with practice, you will be able to move in ways you could not have before.

Should I stop eating three hours before yoga class?

You are going to be moving and bending quite a lot during class and so while there is no real set time when you should stop eating, you should refrain from coming to class feeling like you have not digested your last meal yet.

What shall I bring for my first class?

Unless stated otherwise by your yoga teacher, a mat and an openness towards this new sport is all that you really need to start your journey towards a more connected, grounded and present-oriented state of mind.

If you want to feel extra prepared, you can visit Yoga Journal to get an idea of some of the poses yoga involves.

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