Over the years, fitness and health have evolved into major facets in many people’s lives. Not that they weren’t in the past, but options in food, lifestyle and exercise have expanded so widely, that being healthy has become a valuable trend nowadays.
Part of this evolution is the appreciation as well for Yoga. In my humble years of practice, I have witnessed how it has grown both for its meditative and physical value. We are seeing more men in the studio, a stretch in age range, and all other demographics entering the Yoga sphere.
As an advocate of Yoga, often I am asked how to get started with it. And just like any other exercise, you just have to do it. But of course, as it is still an unusual or even an intimidating practice for others, I know it would be helpful to have an overview on what to expect from a class.
So if you’re a beginner, here are some thoughts I’d like to share so you can truly commit to the practice, and enjoy the benefits of Yoga.
1. Flexibility not required
This is number one on the list as it is the major consideration preventing many from keeping an open mind. Flexibility is not a requirement, but the result of continuous practice. So if the initial perspective is hesitation because of lack of flexibility, then you got it wrong. It is the consistent practice that will give you more of it.
2. Breathe in, breathe out
If there’s one thing you have to do consistently during practice, that is to BREATHE. If posture becomes difficult, breathe. Feeling dizzy? Breathe. If you can hold the pose, breathe. Finding your breathing rhythm will set up your system. It is more important to find your pace at it, than focusing so much ongoing deep, but sacrificing the air that goes in and out. In time, proper breathing will allow you to stay longer and go deeper into a pose.
3. Easy come, easy go
Postures are meant to be done effortlessly. If there’s pain or discomfort, stop. Stay where you are and hold the pose with utmost concentration. But if you are okay to go a little beyond your comfort zone, do so to train the muscle’s flexibility. But again, it shouldn’t be of pain that will harm you, but that which will harness you into a body of gentle flow. (Don’t forget, still breathing!)
4. Get it going
Yoga is often described as a full body workout in every pose. All postures are ideally executed with all muscles active. Doing so contributes to your proper grounding, balance and focus. You are also orienting muscles to be aware of an array of stretches and movement that will eventually add up to your total flexibility. So when in a pose, simple or challenging, contract. (Better be breathing, and flowing!)
5. Perfectly right where you are
Remember, depth in posture is not an indicator of a right or wrong practice. Doing your best, wherever you are in your journey, as long as poses are done with control and focus, you are benefiting 100%. An honest practice is a beautiful practice.
So I hope this list sets you ready with an open heart and mind. As you go along with fervent commitment and enthusiasm, Yoga will for sure introduce itself to you on its own. Eventually, you’ll realize it is bringing you closer to the power that has always been in you.
Have you started with your Yoga journey? Comment below, I’d like to hear your story.