Yoga for Beginners
"Yoga for Beginners" is a Guest Article by Giselle Toner,
If you are interested in adding this wonderful, ancient, scientific healing system to your life, don't become overwhelmed thinking you have to learn something obscure and difficult. That is the complete opposite of what yoga is, which is a deeply inward practice that seeks to unite the body, mind and spirit with ease and gentleness.
Beginners may get discouraged by seeing all the advanced poses and decide not to practice yoga out of intimidation. But just give it a try and before you know it, you will feel wonderful and look forward to your yoga practice. You will be amazed at how well the body responds.
Yoga for Beginners
Another deterrent with yoga for beginners is the many styles of yoga. You may be wondering which one is right for you. The confusing array of different yoga styles, names and techniques all proclaim to be the best one. With yoga for beginners, just focus on doing some basic yoga stretches, deep breathing and relaxation. As you progress and learn, you may start to gravitate to more advanced learning, but for now, just take it unhurriedly.
All you need to do is be receptive, be consistent, be willing to gain knowledge, and set time aside every day to practice some basic yoga stretches. If you are hard-pressed for time and are stressing over when to fit it in, it would be much better to do an easy ten to fifteen minute session of yoga stretches each day than to practice just once a week for an hour and a half. After you have begun to practice some very basic poses, you can begin to practice Sun Salutations.
also known as Surya Namaskara, is a flowing sequence of poses with forward bends and gentle backbends that take the body through a full range of motion. Sun Salutations improve flexibility and steadiness, making the body strong and help to build endurance and enliven the major muscles of the body. They are also used at the beginning of most yoga practices to warm-up the body for the ensuing poses. Learning and adding new poses happens gradually as the regularly practiced poses become perfected.
The key with yoga for beginners is to make yoga convenient for your time frame and level of physical strength, and you'll look forward to your day-to-day practice. The positions are only a small percentage of what yoga is about. Meditation (clearing the mind) and Pranayama (breath control) may be slowly added in. Yoga rejuvenates the body and balances the nervous system. In time, you may find yourself advancing effortlessly into more challenging poses, but taking it easy is the prescription for beginning yoga.
No one should ever force the body into agonizing positions. That is how people find themselves at the doctor’s office, sustaining injuries that may be permanent and incapacitating. Just take it one step at a time and you'll find yourself flowing into a new level of health and wellness. You don't find yoga, yoga finds you and works its therapeutic magic through you. In time, the body will naturally grow stronger. The beauty of beginning yoga is all about the transformation you will experience, apart from whether or not you want to get to the level of highly developed physical moves. Perhaps, as you move beyond the beginners' yoga positions, the history of yoga will lead you on a wonderful spiritual journey.
Yoga for Beginners: Classes, Teachers and Videos
When no teacher is accessible, you may have to start your own process of learning by reading books and watching the many yoga videos that are available.
One of the good things about practicing yoga at home is that it is inexpensive; you can practice at any time, even 3 am, and don’t have to worry about anyone else around you if you feel self-conscious going through the learning curve. There are a broad variety of exceptional books and DVD's that can be used for your practice. You can find yoga DVD's at a good number of the larger bookstores.
The Internet is a great source for learning, too. What is really necessary is your participation and readiness to learn. You may need a few props or other pieces of equipment such as straps or belts to help with stretches, yoga blocks for assistance with certain poses, and most importantly, a high-quality yoga mat. Also, comfortable clothing is a must. Natural fiber clothing is best, and clothing should be stretchable, but not too loose.
There are many places you'll find yoga classes. Just about every sports club, recreation center and gym offers them, and if you are fortunate enough you'll find a studio devoted to nothing but yoga within a short drive. According to where you live, you may have a yoga studio on every street corner, or you may have to travel quite a distance if you live in a secluded area. The best way to start a practice is with a qualified yoga instructor. However, if you are new to yoga, you may not know how to ascertain if a teacher is qualified, safety-minded and appropriate for you.
Look for a teacher who has the right qualifications. He or she should have, at the very least, two years of teaching experience and be registered with Yoga Alliance - an organization that registers both individual yoga teachers and yoga teacher training programs (schools) who have complied with minimum educational standards established by the organization. Yoga Alliance supports yoga teachers and the diversity and integrity of yoga. Their mission is to lead the yoga community, set standards, foster integrity, provide resources, and uphold the teachings of yoga.
Yoga Alliance registration does not promise that a teacher will be the proper one for you, but it does give more reassurance to the quality of the teacher. A good instructor has a wealth of knowledge and takes into consideration the fact that each person is an individual and will never make you feel awkward, embarrassed or uncomfortable.
Go by your feelings, they're frequently accurate. Practicing in a non-competitive, supportive setting will help you get to your true capability.
Yoga for Beginners: Making the Practice Your Own
A gentle, slow-moving sequence will give remarkable benefits due to its relaxing qualities that can lower blood pressure, improve posture and help with sleep.
Sick or injured people can benefit from yoga because it can be done in a chair, or even a bed. Supported yoga poses, using bolsters, blocks and blankets to align you in complete comfort, help calm the mind and open the spirit.
Beginning yoga can build strength, flexibility, and body awareness, better breathing capabilities, balance, confidence and a greater sense of well being. The most memorable part will be once you can perform and hold a pose with perfection that was seemingly impossible to do previously. Holding the poses is the key to gaining greater flexibility and coming to the place of stillness within.
Basic yoga poses form the foundation for more difficult postures, should your practice unfold and develop into something more physically challenging. Understanding, practicing and perfecting a few basic yoga poses will help you develop an appreciation for the practice and make you want to include more.
Yoga for Beginners: The Science of the Breath
Without breath, there is no life, and the ancient yogis developed many beneficial breathing exercises. Breath control in yoga is called Pranayama. These techniques utilize controlled breathing that boosts lung function and enhances the life force, called Prana.
Some Pranayama techniques energize the body and others relax the body. Gentle Ujjayi Breathing is one way to start a very basic Pranayama practice. This easy breathing practice is frequently done while performing the physical postures and will help to relax the body, adding a meditative quality to your yoga practice due to the audible sound of the breath. Pranayama breathing techniques multiply the benefits of the postures by bringing in more oxygen to the body and increasing the remedial properties of the asanas.
Yoga for Beginners: Learning Meditation Techniques
Meditation is an essential part of yoga. A transformation through yoga and meditation is accomplished after the seeker realizes the difference between the ego-dominated physical body and the vast qualities of the soul.
As a result of meditation, higher consciousness and the intuitive aspects are finely tuned. The awareness of oneness and connection to the unbounded power of the universe becomes clear. The mind, body and breath are all connected and beginning a meditation practice will open the doors to new areas of perception and greater intuition. Meditation is the gateway to the subconscious and brings benefits to all facets of your conscious life.
Yoga uses the power of the mind to unlock the body's extraordinary capability for healing, expansion, power and eventually, enlightenment.
Beginning yoga is a worthy investment of your time. There is a vibrating symphony of cosmic energy in the universe. Through yoga, you will realize that you are an integral part of that symphony and will begin to resonate your energy for the good of all creation.
The various practices of yoga (remember the word, “union”), which combine all aspects of body, mind, and spirit, direct us to the ultimate realization that all of creation is a balanced manifestation of one universal energy. My heartfelt wish is for you to find that that place within your true Self, known as yoga. Namaste!
To learn more about yoga and the various practices noted in this article, visit
She is an E-RYT 500 with Yoga Alliance and also conducts yoga teacher trainings through her yoga teacher training school, Power Fusion Yoga. She is one of Deepak Chopra’s educators on the East Coast and teaches his Perfect Health Course in Ayurveda. Visit her brilliant site today for all your yoga needs!
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