Yoga’s popularity is at an all time high with more than 200 million active practitioners worldwide. Though you may have friends and family who are yogis, you haven’t quite stretched yourself to try it yet, or you may feel a little intimidated as a newbie. Well, we all had to start somewhere. So if you’re interested in becoming a part of the yoga community and reaping its benefits, here are some things to get you started.
What to Know
Yoga isn’t a fad, it’s an ancient practice with holistic benefits. In fact, the word yoga means “yoke,” as the practice seeks to connect the body, mind and soul. Here are some of its benefits.
Mental: Yoga helps improve your mental well-being by incorporating meditation and breathing that creates mental clarity and calmness. It’s a great way to manage stress, relax your mind, and sharpen your concentration.
Physical: Yoga has numerous physical benefits that can help remedy issues such as chronic pain, lower back pain, arthritis, headaches or insomnia. Here are some other key physical benefits:
- Increased flexibility
- Increased muscle strength and tone
- Improved respiration and energy
- Balanced metabolism
- Weight reduction
- Improved cardio and circulatory health
What to Bring
To help you show up for your first class prepared, here are a few things you need to bring along.
Yoga mat: Though the yoga studio may have mats you can use, it’s best to invest in your own mat. Yoga mats are well-padded and non-slip. If your class is on a wood floor, you may want to get a thicker mat.
Yoga clothing: Be sure to wear clothes that are loose or stretchable so you can easily perform poses. You may already have some of these garments, but of course, you can get some comfortable SOYBU gear.
Yoga props: Using props makes yoga a bit easier for beginners. Yoga blocks can help you stabilize yourself during standing poses, and yoga straps help you stretch further in seated poses.
Now that you know the benefits and have the equipment you need, here are some tips as you start your yoga practice.
Focus on breathing: Yoga isn’t just about contorting your body, it’s about intentional breathing. In fact, breathing is the most important part of yoga! Learn to properly breathe in through your nose and into the belly while holding poses.
Use basic postures: No need to try those difficult postures when you’re just starting. If it looks too hard, don’t try it. Start with some simple beginner poses such as Warrior 1, Warrior 2, Forward Fold, and Downward-facing Dog.
Moderate your intensity: Your yoga practice can be as challenging as you want it to be, but we recommend starting slowly to make sure you understand the proper alignment. You can moderate intensity by holding poses for longer or shorter periods.
End with Savasana: End all your yoga sessions with Savasana, which is a corpse pose where you lie resting on your back. It puts you in a meditative state and rejuvenates your body from the session.
Now that you have these beginner tips, you can go to class confidently. Just remember to move at your own pace, and be consistent. You’ll be an expert yogi in no time!