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June 26, 2021
So you’ve decided to try Yoga for the first time, but where do you start? It can be incredibly daunting when starting something new, which is why we have pulled together our beginners guide for Yoga newbies, filled with all the essential information to help put you at ease. No matter your age, shape or size, Yoga is inclusive for everyone. Read on to find out how to start your Yoga journey today and reap the many benefits it has to offer.
What is Yoga?
Yoga is an ancient practice which involves breathe control, simple meditation and bodily postures to promote physical and mental wellness. The word ‘Yoga’ comes from the Sanskrit word “yuj” and is often translated to mean “union”. It aims to bring together body, mind and spirit as well as aligning your individual self with the universal consciousness, creating a sense of spiritual awakening.
There are several different styles of yoga to choose from which can vary in complexity. Hatha yoga is great for beginners and is one of the most commonly used forms. A typical class will involve meditation, breathing and basics poses whilst providing a great introduction into the holistic benefits it can offer. If you’re looking for more of a ‘workout’ then Vinyasa yoga is a little more fast paced and encourages a continuous flow of movement through the different poses. These are both great places to start before moving onto something more adventurous.
What are the health benefits of yoga?
Practicing yoga has many health benefits for both your mental and physical wellbeing. Yoga encourages mindfulness with some styles offering meditative techniques which can help to reduce anxiety and stress. With regular practice you can also look at improving your strength and flexibility whilst developing a better posture all at the same time!
Yoga can also:
What equipment do I need?
The good new is that as a beginner you won’t need a lot. Start by choosing a yoga mat, this will be essential for practice at home, or at a class. Investing in a high quality mat is important, length, thickness and stability are all major factors that need to be considered when making a purchase. Having a non slip mat will help you to maintain some of those trickier poses and provide a safer environment for you to practice. Our mats at One Happy Yogi are specifically designed to cater for all experience levels, from beginners to yogi masters. You can view our full range of eco friendly yoga mats here.
Once you have chosen your mat, you can then turn your focus to clothing. Firstly, what you wear should be comfortable and allow for all the bending and stretching you will be doing. Leggings that stay opaque and don’t restrict movement are a good choice, along with a longer length top that doesn’t ride up. Shorts are another good option particularly for men. Wearing materials that are breathable will also help to keep you cool, especially if you find yourself in a particularly sweaty class.
There are other pieces of equipment that you can look to invest in at a later date such as blocks and straps. Blocks can be useful if you struggle with range of motion, they are designed to be used either as an extension of the arm or as a support for the back, head and hips. Likewise, yoga straps can aid in stretching and improve motility, as you progress they can also be used in more challenging yoga positions.
Will I need to know the names of the poses?
When you’re starting out it’s a good idea to have a basic understanding of the yoga poses. Often in classes, teachers will use the traditional Sanskrit names to define the pose and whilst it’s not imperative to learn them all, it can help you transition smoother through the movement if you are aware of the posture.
Here are some of the basic poses and their traditional names to get you started:
Where to learn and practice?
Finding a class that is suitable for your level is the first step, you can try an online directory such as yoga hub which connects you with classes in your local area. It also includes a brief outline of the classes available and ratings to help with your decision making. Attending a yoga class can prove to be very valuable, having an instructor to observe and make adjustments to your form will help give you a better understanding of the postures. A yoga teacher will also provide the discipline and framework needed to guide you on your internal journey too, which is an integral part of the practice itself.
As a beginner it can sometimes be less intimidating to take part in a virtual class as apposed to attending in person. For some this is a favourable choice due to lack of classes nearby or other commitments at home. This usually comes with a fee, so it can be best to do some research and look at reviews to ensure you are getting a reputable instructor. Jenny Stewart is a local instructor here on the Isle of Wight who does some fantastic virtual classes that are designed to get you moving and feel energised. Jenny is a founding member at Balance & Glo who have a range of online yoga classes to suit all abilities, as well as pilates, HIIT and strength training, with durations from 20-60 minutes. They also offer weekly live classes! Go check them out here and take advantage of their 14 day free trial. They also host amazing yoga retreats, offer delicious recipe ideas, wellness tips and more!
There are also free resources online for you to take advantage of, as well as tutorials to follow. This particular one from verywellfit.com has some great tips on achieving the basic poses with handy visual guides to aid you in perfecting the correct position. Youtube is also a great platform to explore, with yogi influencers on the rise there are a huge range of videos to dive into and unlock your inner chakra.
Once you get started and see the results that yoga can bring there will be no stopping you. Maintain a consistent practice and before long you will be perfecting poses like a yogi master.
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