Today yoga is one of the most popular workout practices for those who want to become more flexible, sturdier, and stronger or lose weight. Whatever your reasons are, here is how to make the most from your journey.
Once you start your yoga experience, you understand that it’s so much more than just practicing in order to work out and keep yourself fit. It becomes your philosophy, your passion and a way of life. You may even become a teacher for someone or inspire others to change their lives. You start to explore and comprehend all your layers to discover your own unique rhythm and move at your own beat.
But, unfortunately, not every class makes you feel blessed and ready to take on the world. So, what makes one class feel like a way to serenity, and another a struggle to get through? Perhaps it doesn’t depend so much on the teacher or the studio but is all about our longing to get the most out of our yoga class. Here are some yoga tips for beginners to get the most of their practice.
1. Find the right class and yoga teacher for you
If you don’t feel like you can start practicing yoga on our own, go to the studio to take yoga classes. It’s better to get good advice at the beginning to understand where to start. A teacher can advise you which poses to do and how often, based on your actual health and body structure.
Remember that yoga teachers love questions. Don’t hesitate to ask if you don’t understand something. Especially if your teacher demonstrates a pose you have never done before. Watch it first to enter the pose safely. Don’t try to get into a pose and listen to your teacher at the same time. It’s really hard and may even be dangerous.
If you tried yoga and feel unsure about it, don’t give up. Try other classes with new teachers before you abandon completely on yoga. Sometimes it may take a couple of classes before you get connected and discover the right teacher for you.
2. Come to class with intention, free of expectations
People decide to do yoga for various reasons. They may get into it to extend a religious practice, to gain spiritual growth, or simply to keep good health. Each reason entails different approaches and knowledge, so it’s important to understand your reasons.
Don’t expect too much. The teacher will hardly offer you the secret to life. Another student may take your favorite spot. Come into each class with an open mind to fully experience the moment instead of troubling your head about your unreasonable expectations. Just admit it: a lot of things are out of your control anyway. Handling the unexpected is part of the practice. If you begin without expectations, you’ll have a fighting chance.
3. Your spot in class matters
Get a good mat spot. Come a couple minutes earlier to get a comfortable place in the class. Grapple with the temptation to hide in the back. The central row can be a nice spot, and it’s always good to be beside a wall to use it for balance if it’s necessary.
You will see poses demonstrated better and easily hear your teacher speak. And don’t worry about the students behind you. They’ll hardly stare at you as yoga poses require concentration, and they will focus on their own yoga practice.
4. Take your time and go step by step
Start with yoga practice for beginners, with very basic poses. You need to get acquainted with the yogic practice step by step. Always warm up at the beginning. Thus, you’ll prepare the body for upcoming activities and protect yourself from injuries.
Take your time. Respect your body and give it enough time to get used to the practice. Listen to your body and properly increase the duration and repetitions of each asana.
One more thing. Always end your yoga session with Savasana to calm down the rejuvenated muscles. This asana is needed to relax the body, restore your breathing and normalize blood circulation.
5. Listen to your body
Let the teacher be your guide, but listen to your inner voice. Never get through the pain. If something makes you feel a sharp pain, don’t do it. Remember that most yoga poses have different versions. It can be very inviting to go for the more advanced options even when your body is asking you not to.
Listen to your body, calm down your ambition, and stay in the first variation if that’s where your breath is steady. If the pose makes you hold your breath or the breath becomes labored and ragged, you’d rather take a step back. Listen to your intuition, take a rest when you need to and trust the feedback of your body.
6. Get rid of any distractions
Respect the time dedicated to the yoga practice. Leave your watch, phone, or any other device at the door. A yoga class pretty much is about staying focused.
Get rid of those thoughts that take you away from the studio and return to the office. You must focus on your goals and the asanas you perform while practicing yoga. Any negligence can at times result in serious injuries.
7. Choose a sticky mat and explore props
A sticky mat is essential for some poses. If you have balance problems, a sticky mat (like a cork one) will facilitate the moves. Besides, you’ll have better chances to avoid muscle sprains and cramps.
If you feel the practice is for you, you can buy your own mat. Thus, you’re more likely to start yoga at home or while traveling.
Don’t hesitate to use props. It’s not a sign of weakness. It actually means that you’re patient and listening to your body. Ask your teacher about props you may need. For general class, they usually recommend having two blocks, a strap, and a blanket to put under your knees or cover yourself when you relax during Savasana.
8. Wear comfortable clothes
Wear something stretchy and comfortable. Leggings, a sports bra, and a t-shirt is a great option for many. Make sure your clothes allow for free movement. Choose the designs that let your body breathe and materials that absorb sweat as you have your practice.
9. Adjust your eating and drinking habits
Take up the habit to drink more water, especially in the day leading up to your class, and afterward. You can also take a bottle of water to your every yoga class. Water helps to flush toxins that are released out of the body while practicing. Try not to eat anything too heavy within two hours or so before your yoga class.
If you eat right before practice, you may have a mild feeling of heaviness, but it’s better to have your strength up. Resist the temptation to come to class hungry. It’s not that good lying in Savasana at the end of class and thinking only of what you’re going to have for dinner.
10. Perfect your breathing
Breathing helps you manage stress better and oxygenize your body. Try to inhale and exhale mindfully. Thus, you’ll stay balanced, emotionally stable, practicing within your capacity. You’ll be able to fully experience and appreciate the moments in your practice.
Be aware that meditation and yogic breathing (pranayama) are two essential practices that complement the movement part of yoga (the asanas). They will enhance your physical and mental health, and make yoga a much more significant experience for you.
Keep your spirits up and practice regularly
Remember that every beginning is challenging. If something doesn’t work out, try it later. Manage your motivation smartly, and don’t listen to anybody but your inner voice.
Try to practice yoga every day. Choose the most suitable time for you and devote it entirely to yoga every day. Even if you do it just for 20 minutes, try new postures step by step. After a while, you’ll become more experienced and learn more poses.
Yoga is a very rewarding and worthwhile practice. It surely is worth your time and effort. Keep your spirits up and have fun!