Yoga For Beginners – An Introduction to Yoga
If you are rolling out your mat for the first time, it can be quite challenging to know how to approach the whole notion of yoga. What should be your first posture? How can it help you? What is the needed equipment? These are just some of the questions that arise when you decide to step into the world of yoga and focus on elevating your well-being. That is why today we will be answering EVERYTHING you need to know regarding yoga for beginners.
Before you do your first asana, it is vital to understand the whole concept and how it can help you improve your overall health. Thus, we begin our guide with the most obvious question – what is yoga?
What exactly is yoga and what is it good for?
In short, yoga is the art of unifying your body, mind, and spirit through a series of postures, combined with breathing techniques. These poses are usually called asanas in Sanskrit. What is fascinating is that this discipline has existed for thousands of years, but it is constantly evolving by combining different poses that are also focused on breathing.
You have probably seen many people practicing it and even noticed a certain hype during the last decades. That is due to the fact that the modern world has introduced a whole array of difficulties, so people seek to mindfully improve their well-being and face any challenge with ease. That is where yoga comes in. Think of it this way, for yoga to exist for more than thousands of years, it means that it must be beneficial to be practiced for so long!
Even though this is a subject we will be diving into in-depth in the next point in our yoga for beginners guide – it is essential to know what yoga is good for before you decide to include it in your life. You must first understand how it can help you.
It is vital to know that yoga focuses on three things – the mind, body, and spirit. That being said, it is specially tailored to weave clarity, strength, endurance, and peace within; leaving you in a healthier state of existence. Its benefits are vast, and they target your physical, mental, and emotional health. Regardless of which type of yoga you decide to practice, each of them leads to the same goal – enlightenment and unification.
Usually in the West, when people think of yoga they usually think of the Hatha technique (even if they don’t realize it) because it is the most widespread path, focusing on the postures. It is a discipline that aims for unification through a series of asanas, yoga breathing, and mudras, aiming to purify the body while also cultivating the life force energy. However, most modern practices are more about doing postures than connections with the spiritual.
Over the years, yoga has gained recognition in many fields as a therapy to improve overall well-being by alleviating various mental and physical conditions. Not only does yoga induce self-awareness and improves your health, but it also promotes self-love and care which can do wonders for your growth as an individual. Because it has proven its influence, today it is even promoted by most doctors and psychologists as a therapeutic tool.
20 amazing and proven benefits of yoga
When it comes to practicing for your health and overall well-being, there are a plethora of benefits that you will reap. Whether you are faced with some physical pain or simply wish to reduce your stress levels and sleep better, yoga can definitely help you! Here are 20 proven benefits of yoga and meditation:
- It improves your flexibility;
- Helps reduce physical pain;
- Builds strength in your muscles;
- Improves your posture;
- Helps you sleep better;
- Promotes healthy skin;
- Helps your digestion;
- Lowers blood sugar;
- Improves your blood flow;
- Reduces the symptoms of arthritis;
- Significantly boosts your metabolism;
- Gives you more energy;
- Helps you fight anxiety;
- Helps reduce any build-up of stress;
- Reduces the risk of developing osteoporosis;
- Increases your self-esteem;
- Helps you develop resilience;
- Helps you develop self-love;
- You become more aware of your emotions;
- Promotes a deeper connection with your being.
We are sure that to some extent, you are already contemplating some of these positive aspects, so let us tackle the subject of why you should start practicing yoga!
- Physical benefits of yoga
When you look at some posture or lessons for yoga for beginners, you might think – it is all about stretching. However, this is far from the truth. In fact, yoga is all about strength-building, flexibility, and breathing techniques to go along with it. With frequent sessions, you will notice you will have more strength to perform the poses. Along with flexibility, it induces many physical benefits and even helps various pains such as back pain. By having more strength and flexibility in your tendons, ligaments, and muscles, you will be able to move more easily and develop better endurance. Furthermore, yoga breathing techniques improve your lung capacity!
What makes yoga so popular is its ability to stimulate your nerves. Even if you decide to do a 10-minute session, it will prove to be highly beneficial for alleviating stress and reducing your anxiety. This is especially important for anyone that faces stress in the workplace, at home, has endured a stressful event, or simply has too many tasks to juggle.
Did you know that the nervous system acts as a neutralizer when it comes to stress? By practicing yoga and meditation you will be able to activate it and reduce the hormone responsible for it – cortisol. That will also help you fight insomnia and promote better sleep quality.
Imagine taking out your mat frequently and setting a calming atmosphere in a clean space in your home. It will become sort of a ritual that will infuse you with serenity and the feeling of safety. During these sessions, you will be able to let go, embrace your emotions and come to terms with them, while also nurturing your self-awareness, love, and care. In short, you will start to understand yourself better and achieve balance and enlightenment. This is vital for moving forward and growing as a person.
Find your yoga style – 7 main types of yoga that will help you on your illumination path
Previously in our yoga for beginners introduction, we mentioned that there are different paths that you can take. In essence, there are several types of yoga practices that can help you achieve your desired goals. You can choose whichever style fits your needs the most based on the information below:
This path is great if you wish to increase your flexibility. Its practices incorporate holding the asanas for a longer period of time (3 to 5 minutes) in contrast to other types. It is especially beneficial for your spine, hips, joints, and pelvis. Yin yoga helps you increase mobility and ease any stiffness. Not to mention, it is amazing for any recovery!
This is a popular style for core strength. Features fun and high-energy practices that will definitely make you sweat! Through a series of postures, you will be able to improve your balance, build strength, stamina, flexibility, and improve your focus. However, if you are suffering from any respiratory problems, diabetes, or heart diseases, you should consult with your health provider.
Wish to improve your balance? Then Hatha yoga will prove to be an amazing choice for you! The best part is that it is suitable for all ages. It also incorporates more challenging standing asanas, enabling you to sweat out toxins while also stretching your joints and muscles to a deeper extent. It is perfectly safe and one of the most practiced types.
We would definitely recommend this for yoga for beginners. It makes you transition through various well-chosen asanas without holding them for too long. With this flow of postures, you will increase flexibility, build strength, be more concentrated through breathwork, and even achieve a form of meditation that relaxes your senses and builds a connection with your inner self.
Need to relax and shake off stress? This path is great for reducing anxiety and improving your well-being. It is similar to Yin yoga, however in this case, you would use various props to help you support your body while making the asanas. Most commonly used props are straps, blocks, and yoga towels.
If you have experienced an injury throughout your life, Iyengar yoga will help you recover. Not only is it great for beginner levels, or even for the rehab phase, but it is an amazing way to introduce some physical activity after the injury. The postures are slow and you will do a fewer number of them during the practices.
This is a perfectly balanced style of yoga and meditation. Kundalini focuses mainly on the mindset, incorporating movement, chanting, and meditation. As it is not centered around asanas, it is great for all ages and all levels.
Essential yoga equipment and what to wear for yoga
Even though it may seem that you would need to spend much on your beginner equipment, in fact, you need only a little. This may gradually increase as you tap into more frequent yoga sessions. Below you will find all the yoga accessories, along with essentials regarding what to wear.
What is the essential Yoga Gear:
What to wear for your yoga lessons:
- Form-fitting Top – loose tees would be uncomfortable during some asanas, so it is best to choose form-fitting ones that have moisture-wicking properties.
- Sports Bras – they make your transition easier by keeping your breasts in place.
- Yoga Socks – these are totally optional because we suggest practicing barefoot. But if you don’t like being barefoot, yoga socks will provide a stable grip on your mat.
- Hair Tie or Headband – your hair will get in your way if it is longer, so secure it with a hair tie or a headband.
Where to buy your yoga equipment and attire from?
Online shops are a convenient way to get your yoga gear, just make sure they offer a variety and the items are of good quality. Some sporting goods stores and retailers sell yoga accessories, but we recommend always purchasing from dedicated specialized stores.
Find your flow by incorporating these 10 beginner yoga poses
As this is a yoga for beginners guide, we’ve included 10 yoga poses for beginners that will help you start and find your flow:
- Warrior Pose I
- Garland Pose
As you perform several poses, you will discover what is the best yoga routine for beginners aligned with your preferences. Eventually, you will develop a flow that will do wonders for your body and mind. While all of them include breathing techniques, in modern yoga you can first focus on the asana practice and then gradually get better with your breath. In fact, that brings us to the next point:
How to gradually advance your yoga practice
There is a reason why it is called a practice – you can improve and grow with each session! With yoga, you will always feel like you are on a journey. Your practice will evolve as you evolve and your life moves through various circles. If you are wondering how to improve yoga practice at home, these are the key aspects to pay attention to:
Advanced yoga benefits
Incorporating these tips above will enable gradual and organic growth without pushing your limits. With frequent practices, you will notice more changes and enhanced benefits. In time you will discover that you can do advanced twisting yoga poses and amazing core building, and you will improve your yoga flexibility. The key point? Patience and determination.
We hope that we have provided you with comprehensive information, regarding yoga for beginners, and now you are confident enough to embark on this amazing transformative journey! If you wish to buy gear and accessories, visit our shop page – both for yoga and activewear.