Tips for a Beginner Yogi
Updated: Jul 6, 2020
Yoga is more than just a moving meditative practice. It sharpens our neuromuscular response, thus impacting our natural motor control. It improves our soft tissue extensibility and contractility. It reduces joint stiffness and enhances our range of motion. Each pose is carefully and intricately connected to the next, allowing each breath to follow our movement.
When I started delving into yoga, I was incredibly intimidated. Once I learned that yoga is a journey tailored to the individual, I began to truly grasp how transformative it could be. These tips allowed me to integrate yoga as a daily practice. To this day, it centers me and keeps me grounded among a rather chaotic world.
Invest in a good yoga mat
During this time especially, it's good to be mindful that most studios/gyms will require participants to bring their own yoga mat. Be sure to look for quality yoga mats that contain cushioning and shock absorption. If yoga becomes a daily practice, your mat will be a staple and must be treated with care.
Don't be intimidated
When I first delved into yoga, I was bombarded with people demonstrating headstands and inversions. I remember feeling uneasy, and wishing there was more imagery for beginners. If you're completely unfamiliar (or uninterested) in performing the more complex positions, that's OK! Yoga is bioindividual and is about the journey. To this day, my favorite poses are STILL not headstands and center on deep hip stretches and spinal mobility.
Not everyone is an expert!
This tip is an extension from #2. Again, there are varying levels when it comes to any type of exercise format. There are forms of yoga more centered on breathing and gentle flow, while other forms tailor to power yoga and intricate poses. You don't have to be an expert and master on each pose to be a lifelong yogi.
Focus on your breath and poses
This underscores the meditative component. Your breath dictates the flow and fluidity of each pose, so it's imperative to be mindful of each inhalation and exhalation. For instance, our inhalation can signify extension or lengthening, preparing the body for a deeper stretch or twist. Our breath works in harmony with the output of our stretch, and can truly calm our central nervous system. With our body in a 'rest and digest' state, we can better release tension and allow a more peaceful mind.
Don't be afraid to ask questions or take breaks
There is no one size fits all when it comes to yoga. If your body is communicating to you, yoga teaches us to tap into our internal compass. Child's pose is always an option for whenever you feel a rest is necessary. Also, there are no stupid questions within this practice. Everyday is a learning opportunity, and when we demonstrate our curiosity for knowledge, we can better understand how yoga is a tool for mental and emotional clarity.
Push yourself to do at least 10 classes before giving up.
I'll be honest and say when I tried yoga back in high school, I did not get hooked. Part of it had to with the fact the yoga instructor did not provide the best environment for rejuvenation and enlightenment. At that time, I wish I had gone to another yoga class to continue exploring. With the wide array of yoga formats available, it's up to the participant to find what they enjoy the most.