No matter what your current age or fitness level, yoga can be a great way to strengthen your mind and body, and improve your flexibility. But it can, admittedly, be a bit intimidating for beginners. The good news is that yoga is actually incredibly easy to do almost anywhere — all you need are some comfortable clothes, although a nonslip mat is also a great addition if you have one handy.
First, do a bit of homework. “Yoga” is a bit of a misnomer — there are many different styles of yoga, and they all approach things a bit differently, and have different goals. Here is a great breakdown of all the different yoga types, but for most beginners, hatha or vinyasa will be the way to go. Hatha offers a slower, more measured approach, while vinyasa is a bit more energetic.
Second, don’t underestimate the power of expert help. There are gyms and dedicated yoga studios around the country, so there is always that option, but if you don’t have one near you, or you don’t want to leave the house, consider getting a beginner’s yoga DVD or Bluray. There are quite a few great options out there, and they will walk you through all the basic movements, and explain what you should be feeling in each one. They will also give you the opportunity to see what the pose should look like, so you have an idea of what you should be doing with your body.
Third, practice breathing. Yoga is as much about breathing as it is the movements themselves, as it helps to develop the meditative mindset that goes along with the poses. You’ll want to breathe in and out through your nose, and you’ll want to breathe deliberately, paying attention to each breath.
Fourth, don’t eat a big meal before you try doing a routine. Ideally, yoga is done in the morning to start the day, but if that doesn’t fit into your routine, just make sure you’re fitting it in before you eat, and not after. You will, however, want to make sure you’re drinking water before, during and after the routine. That will help to keep your joints lubricated and flush out toxins.
Finally, don’t be so focused on jumping right into a routine. There is nothing wrong with just focusing on the basic poses at first, and learning how each one feels. Once you have mastered — or you’re at least comfortable with — all the basics, then you can look at putting them together into a cohesive routine.
Take the time to learn the poses and embrace the mindset, and you will find yoga is good for your mind, body and soul, brining health benefits across the board.