It’s National yoga month and whether you’re a complete beginner, a seasoned yogi or a yoga practitioner yourself, it doesn’t hurt to brush up on your yoga class knowledge and discover the right yoga styles for you.
So, what is this ancient practice you hear so much about and what can it do for your mind and body? When embarking on your yoga journey, it can be hard to know where to start. Luckily for you, we have put together an easy guide to get you off on the right foot.
What is yoga?
Yoga, is more than just the physical practice that you may have seen in gyms and yoga studios. Whilst yoga asana (postures) is a big part of what yoga is, it is by no means the only part. The word ‘yoga’ comes from the sanskrit word ‘yuji’ which literally translated, means ‘to bind’ or ‘to yoke’. It is therefore used in this context to describe the union between body and mind.
If you’ve been curious about beginning your yoga journey but aren’t sure where to start, fear not, we have you covered with a few fundamental steps.
The Fundamental Steps
Step 1: Define Your Intentions
Before diving into any new endeavour, it’s essential to clarify your intentions. Ask yourself why you want to embark on a yoga practice. Is it for stress relief, increased flexibility, inner peace, or a physical workout? Understanding your motives will help you stay committed and focused throughout your journey.
Step 2: Choose the right style
Yoga offers various styles, each with its unique focus and intensity. From the gentle, meditative practice of Hatha yoga to the dynamic and athletic Vinyasa flow, there’s a style to suit every individual. Take the time to explore different styles, either through online classes with a yoga teacher or a local yoga studio, until you find the one that resonates with you.
Step 3: Gather the Essentials
To get started with yoga, you’ll need a few basic items. Invest in a quality yoga mat that provides adequate support and grip. Comfortable clothing that allows unrestricted movement is crucial, so choose breathable fabrics like cotton or stretchy materials. Additionally, a water bottle and an open, inquisitive mindset are all you need to begin your practice.
Step 4: Begin with the Basics
It’s tempting to jump into advanced yoga poses, but building a solid foundation is key to avoiding injuries and progressing in your practice. Start with beginner-friendly poses like Mountain Pose (Tadasana), Child’s Pose (Balasana), and Downward-Facing Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana). Online tutorials and beginner classes at local studios are great resources to help you understand proper alignment and form.
Step 5: Cultivate a Consistent Practice
Consistency is vital in yoga. Aim to practice regularly, even if it’s just for a few minutes each day. Consistency helps your body adapt, improves flexibility, and enhances mental focus. Set aside dedicated time for your yoga practice, and gradually increase the duration as you become more comfortable.
Step 6: Breathe Mindfully
The breath is an essential aspect of yoga. Practice mindful breathing, known as Pranayama, to connect with your body and bring tranquility to your mind. Simple techniques like deep belly breathing or alternate nostril breathing can be practiced anywhere and anytime to reduce stress and promote relaxation.
Step 7: Embrace the Journey
Yoga is not just about the physical postures; it’s a journey of self-discovery and growth. Embrace your progress, no matter how small, and avoid comparing yourself to others. Each individual’s yoga journey is unique, and the benefits go beyond the mat, enriching every aspect of life.
Starting your yoga journey can be a rewarding and transformative experience. By setting clear intentions, choosing the right style, building a solid foundation, and cultivating consistency, you’ll find yourself gradually diving deeper into the world of yoga. Remember, yoga is not a destination but an ongoing journey that empowers you to find balance, strength, and peace within yourself. So, take a deep breath, unroll your yoga mat, and begin this beautiful exploration of self-awareness and well-being.