5 Tips For Beginner Yogis
Yoga can have some truly great benefits for health and overall wellbeing. If you are just beginning your yoga practice or are considering taking it up and want to learn more, here are 5 tips to help keep you happy, healthy, and on the track to success.
1) Keep comfortable and take things slow.
We practice yoga to help better ourselves. While it’s good to push the limits of your comfort zone, it’s also important make sure that you’re looking out for your own mental and physical wellbeing. Take the time to perform each position properly, and move on to more advanced positions at your own pace, even if that means that your friends and classmates get ahead of you. And if you ever encounter a position that makes you uncomfortable or that you just can’t seem to get the hang of, drop into Child’s Pose and take a break. If you find yourself struggling or uncomfortable on a regular basis, talk to your instructor and work out a plan that’s better suited for you. Sometimes a certain style or instructor just doesn’t work out, and that’s okay.
2) Come prepared and ask questions.
It’s always good to come to class prepared. Start by making sure that your attire is appropriate for what you’re doing. This doesn’t need to be top-of-the-line yoga clothing; anything that’s stretchable and comfortable will do just fine. Many studios lend or rent out yoga mats and other props, but if you’ve taken several classes and are serious about pursuing yoga further, it’s a good idea to pick up some equipment of your own. You may also want to bring along a hand towel if you think you’ll be sweating, and a bottle of water to help hydrate you once your session is over.
Try to make a habit of arriving at the studio a few minutes early, which gives you the opportunity to choose your spot and maybe warm up with a few stretches. This is also a great time for you to approach your instructor with any questions you may have about the class, yoga in general, or your own experiences.
3) Incorporate yoga into your daily routine.
The benefits of yoga become more apparent the more you do it, and the best way to reap the rewards of your yoga practice is to incorporate it into your daily routine. Many people like to start off their morning with a bit of yoga, but any time of day is fine. Once you feel as though you have mastered some of the basic positions in the studio, you can start practicing at home as well. Create a designated space in your home for yoga, and store your mat and whatever else you may need nearby so it doesn’t feel like a chore to get started. Set aside a few minutes from your day go through some of your favorite positions to keep yourself relaxed and fit even on days when you can’t get to the studio. You can also try keeping a journal of your experiences where you can write down any breakthroughs you have (either at home or at the studio) and questions you’d like to ask your instructor. It’s a great way to track your progress and see just how far you’ve come.
4) Yoga can benefit more than just your body.
Many people do yoga with the intention of improving strength, flexibility, and overall fitness, but it’s also important to remember that this is a mind and body practice. So take some time to work on the mental side of things as well as the physical. Before you begin each class or at-home session, mute or turn off your phone so that nothing intrudes on your (or your classmates’) sense of zen. Try to relax or meditate as you move through the positions. Brush aside distractions and keep your mind clear and focused on what you are doing right here and now, paying attention to your breathing and the way that your body is moving. By incorporating the mental as well as the physical side of yoga, you can get a more well-rounded experience and benefit more from your practice.
5) Stay positive.
Yoga can be challenging at times, and it’s easy to become discouraged when your alignment isn’t perfect or you aren’t able to grasp a new position as quickly as some of your classmates. It’s important to remember that you’re your own worst critic, and self-doubt is your biggest obstacle. Everyone starts somewhere, and everyone moves at their own pace. Everyone makes mistakes too, so don’t be embarrassed if your instructor corrects you. He or she is there to support you and help you work through the challenging parts. The most important thing is to do your best and keep an open mind and a positive attitude. You’ll see a lot more improvement if you have faith in yourself and what you’re doing.
Subhankar Ray has been a Yoga practitioner for over 10 years and is the founder of TeddyCanHeal.com, for which Claudia Rallis is the editor and content manager. TeddyCanHeal.com is a wellness consulting service using data-driven software to help users evaluate the effectiveness of over 500 treatments and wellness options for specific symptoms before the start of a new program. The service also alerts the user when new research becomes available.