Yoga is an excellent exercise to do for many reasons. It helps to keep the body limber and the lymphatic system working well, it’s wonderful for relaxation and coping with stress, and people can complete it at any age and with any ability level. If you’re keen to start a yoga practice in the coming weeks, here are some tips to keep in mind.
Get Advice from Your Doctor
Start by getting some advice from your doctor. Anytime we begin a new exercise, it’s wise to get the all-clear from our general practitioner, especially if we’re older or have any health conditions that could be compromised by doing too much or the wrong activities. Yoga is a more gentle exercise form than many others, but some movements can still be a problem for some people. Chat with your physician just in case there are any potential hazards you need to be aware of when beginning down your yoga path.
Learn from Knowledgeable Teachers
As with learning any new activity, when starting out with yoga, you want to ensure you learn from knowledgeable teachers. Whether you attend a gym or yoga studio or check out online tutorials or videos and the like, ensure you’re following instructions from someone who’s suitably qualified as a yoga instructor and has years of experience in the field.
The last thing you want is to hurt yourself because you followed incorrect or lazy methods or instructions or because you needed more expertise to stay safe than could be offered.
Test Out Different Styles
There are all sorts of different yoga styles, and some will likely suit you better than others. Don’t worry if you’re not a big fan of the first one, two, or even three or four yoga forms you try. It’s wise to test out multiple options to see what makes you feel good, works for your mind and body, and you feel you will want to continue long term.
For example, slower-paced styles are generally suggested as excellent for beginners, like Hatha yoga or the proper form-focused Iyengar, as well as restorative yoga that focuses a lot more on the meditation side of things and releasing tension. If you’re keen to lose some weight or tone up more quickly, though, you might be more interested in the energetic Ashtanga yoga or Bikram yoga, that’s completed in a heated room. On the other hand, if learning how to breathe deeply is vital to you, Vinyasa may be perfect.
Use Helpful Accessories
Accessories can make a huge difference when you’re new to yoga and trying to get comfortable and adapt to the various positions one gets into when practicing the movements. Don’t be afraid to utilize equipment to make yourself more comfortable and ensure you’re doing the exercises with the proper technique.
If you’re older, haven’t done much exercise lately, or have mobility or other movement issues, accessories can stop you from getting injured and help you enjoy yoga more and therefore keep doing it. There are numerous items worth stocking up on if you plan to commit to yoga for a while.
For example, buy a non-slip yoga mat that will help you complete the movements without falling over, whether you practice at home, in a park, in a yoga studio, or elsewhere. Also, you might like to invest in a high bolster, a block, some straps, and some yoga socks. Other options that some people like to use are an incline board and some gloves.
Pay Attention Purely to Your Own Progress
Another tip for when you’re new to yoga is to pay attention purely to your own progress. It may be natural and tempting to notice how well others can complete different poses or how quickly those in your classes might pick things up, but it’s essential to go at your own pace.
We all have different bodies with different areas of strength or weakness, so there’s no point in comparing yourself to others. Instead, release your expectations about what you think you should be able to achieve and in what timeframe, and listen to your body and its needs. Take your progression step by step and celebrate the wins as you have them.
Some other tips for yoga beginners are to wear clothing that suits the stretching activities, don’t eat or drink too much before you begin a session, and try to get into a regular habit of completing yoga, so you build up through consistency. Also, it pays to create an intention for each session.
Be patient with yourself and focus on how you feel after each yoga practice, and you’re sure to start seeing some benefits in no time.