If you’re looking to improve your wellbeing, there’s no better way to do it than through yoga. Though it may seem daunting at first, we promise that once you get started, you’ll be hooked!
To help ease you into the world of yoga, we’ve put together a beginner’s guide complete with all the different types of yoga and their benefits, as well as some tips on how to get started.
Trust us – after reading this guide, you’ll be ready to jump headfirst into your new wellness journey!
What is Yoga?
Yoga is an ancient practice that originated in India. The word yoga means “union” in Sanskrit, the language of ancient India.
It is a practice that brings together the mind, body, and spirit.
Common Types of Yoga
From the more gentle Hatha yoga, to the faster paced Ashtanga yoga, there is something for everyone. Different types of yoga also offer different health benefits, so it is important to choose a style that suits your needs.
We’ve outlined a few common styles below:
Hatha yoga is one of the most popular types of yoga in the western world and is a good place to start if you are new to yoga.
Hatha means ‘forceful’ or ‘willful’ in Sanskrit, and this type of yoga focuses on physically challenging poses as a way to calm the mind.
Classes typically move at a slower pace than some other styles of yoga so that you can hold each pose for longer and really feel the stretch.
If you want something more vigorous, Ashtanga (or power) yoga might be for you.
This style links breath with movement and builds heat within the body through flowing sequences. The same sequence is followed each time allowing students to progress as they become stronger and more flexible.
Because classes can be quite fast-paced, it may not be suitable for beginners but if you already have some experience with Yoga then give it go!
Bikram, also known as hot Yoga, is another popular form of hatha Yoga performed in a room temperature studio heated to approximately 40 degrees Celsius with 40% humidity.
Bikram classes last for 90 minutes and generally consist of 26 postures performed in sequence 2 times. Breath control is emphasised throughout the classes to help regulate body temperature.
If you’re looking for an intense workout then this could be right up your street but be prepared to sweat a lot! This is not for the faint hearted!
There are various other yoga styles also available, including: Vinyasa, Iyengar, Kundalini, Anusara, Jivamukti and Restorative Yoga to name a few. It can be overwhelming at first, to know where to start. Just try a few different styles and see which ones resonate with you. There’s no rush and there is no one-size-fits-all path that is right for everyone.
The Health Benefits of Yoga
If you’re like most people, you probably think of yoga as a good workout for your mind and body. Yoga can improve your flexibility, balance, and muscle strength.
It also helps with conditions such as anxiety, depression, fatigue, pain management and blood pressure control. But what you may not know is that yoga can also boost your immune system, increase energy levels and improve cardiovascular health.
In fact, there are endless benefits of practicing yoga regularly.
Here’s a closer look at some of the key ways yoga can benefit your health:
Yoga Can Improve Your Flexibility.
One of the most obvious benefits of yoga is increased flexibility.
When you stretch and tone muscles through different poses, you’ll eventually be able to move your body in new ways and achieve positions you never thought possible.
This increased range of motion helps reduce stiffness in the joints and increases overall mobility.
Improved Balance & Coordination.
Another great perk associated with improved flexibility is better balance and coordination.
As we age, it’s common to lose our sense of balance – but regular sessions on the mat can help maintain this important function well into old age!
The more flexible you become, the easier it will be to keep your footing during everyday activities like walking or standing up from a chair.
Yoga Can Enhance Your Mood & Relieve Stress.
We all know how good it feels to finally take a break from work and relax on the couch with a glass of wine after a long day.
But what if we told you there was an activity that could provide the same sense of relaxation without the need for alcohol or Netflix?
That’s where yoga comes in! Studies have shown that regular yoga practice can help alleviate stress, anxiety, and depression.
In fact, one study even found that just eight weeks of practicing yoga helped participants reduce their levels of cortisol – the stress hormone – by nearly 30 percent!
So next time you’re feeling overwhelmed, skip happy hour and head to your local studio instead.
You (and your wallet) will be glad you did.
Yoga Can Boost Your Energy Levels.
If you’re someone who always feels exhausted, even after a full night’s sleep, yoga may be able to help. One study found that just eight weeks of practicing yoga helped participants increase their energy levels by nearly 20 percent!
Another study found that regular yoga practice can help improve fatigue and quality of life in cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy. So if you’re looking for a natural way to boost your energy levels, add some Downward Dogs to your daily routine.
Yoga Is Good For Your Heart.
Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women in the United States.
But did you know that regular yoga practice can help reduce your risk of developing heart disease?
Yoga has been shown to lower blood pressure and slow down the heart rate – two important factors in maintaining a healthy cardiovascular system.
All told, there are countless reasons why you should give yoga a try – no matter what your fitness goals may be.
And with so many different types (from hot hatha to restorative Yin), there’s sure to be a type of class that suits your needs perfectly. If you’re looking for a workout that will benefit your mind, body, and soul, look no further than yoga!
Quick Tips for Getting Started with Yoga
If you’re thinking about giving yoga a try, here are a few tips to help get you started.
- Find a Class That’s Right for Your Level. There are classes available for beginners as well as more experienced yogis. There are also many online classes available if you want to practice at home.
- Don’t be afraid to ask the instructor questions if you’re unsure of something. There are no stupid questions and instructors welcome any questions.
- Wear comfortable clothing. You want to be able to move freely and not have anything constricting your movement or breathing.
- Invest in a good quality mat. Many yoga schools provide this for you, but it’s always nice to have your own personal mat, that you can take care of and keep clean. This will provide cushioning and support for your body during all those downward dogs (trust me, your arms and legs will thank you later).
- It might be helpful to have blocks handy during certain poses where you can’t quite reach the ground just yet – no shame in using props!
- Don’t forget about water breaks! Staying hydrated is important especially when doing physical activity. Make sure to bring along a water bottle so that you can stay refreshed throughout your session.
- Remember to relax and have fun!
That’s all for now – remember these essentials next time you hit up the studio or unroll your mat at home!
Common Mistakes Made by Beginner Yogis
We all know that yoga is a great way to improve our overall wellbeing, but as beginners, it’s easy to make mistakes. Here are some common ones to avoid!
1. Not Doing Your Research.
Before you jump into your first yoga class, it’s important to do your research and find the right type of class for you.
There are many different types of yoga with varying levels of difficulty, so it’s important to choose one that suits your abilities and interests.
Trying a challenging class when you’re not ready can be frustrating and overwhelming, so take the time to find the perfect fit before heading to the mat.
2. Wearing the Wrong Clothing.
When selecting an outfit for yoga, comfort should be key. You want something that won’t restrict your movement or cause any discomfort while you’re flowing through each pose.
Avoid anything too loose or baggy as this can get in the way, and steer clear of clothes made from thick materials like denim – they’ll only make you hot and sweaty (trust us).
Instead opt for light layers made from breathable fabrics such as cotton or bamboo.
3. Skipping the Warm-Up.
One of the most essential parts of any workout is warming up beforehand, yet many people skip this step when doing yoga. Warming up helps increase blood flow throughout the body, loosen stiff muscles, prepare joints for activity, and reduces injury risk.
So before jumping into things headfirst (literally), take some time to warm up with some basic stretches.
4. Going to Class on a Full Stomach.
Eating a big meal right before exercise isn’t generally advised no matter what type of workout you’re doing.
But since Yoga involves twisting, bending and inverting the body in various ways it’s especially important to not have food sitting in your stomach during class.
Try eating at least 2-3 hours beforehand or sticking with lighter options like fruit smoothies or yogurt if you need something closer to the start of class.
5. Holding Your Breath While Exercise
It may sound counterintuitive but proper breathing is actually quite important when working out– including during yoga flows.
Having trouble remembering to breathe?
Just focus taking deep inhales whenever you transition into a new pose and exhaling completely as you exit it. If deep breathing sounds difficult at first don’t worry!
With time (and practice) it will become second nature.
6. Overdoing It in an Advanced Class.
Just because a particular class is labeled “advanced” doesn’t mean that it isn’t for beginners as well. Many studios offer all levels classes so don’t worry about being out of place.
Do however keep in mind that these classes will often feature more difficult poses so take it easy on yourself if needed. And if ever doubtful about whether or not a pose is only for advanced practitioners simply ask your instructor.
7. Letting Distractions Take Over During Yoga.
Mindfulness is one of the core principles of yoga but that doesn’t mean you have to pay attention to every single thing happening in your body or even on the mat.
Allowing random thoughts or tasks crowd your mind is called monkey mind and any serious yogi will tell you to throw those monkeys right out the window.
Instead try focusing on one thing at a time whether it the sensation on your mat or near the nose a single word like the word “peace”. Consistency is yoga practice number one tool so keep trying.
Don’t matter if you do your flow perfectly or you fall every five seconds. What counts is that you showed up on your mat!
Essential Yoga Gear for Beginners
When starting out on your yoga journey, there is some essential gear that you will need in order to get the most of your practice.
Here are a few things to consider investing in as a beginner yogi.
FAQs in Relation to Beginners Yoga
Can I teach myself yoga?
Yes, you can teach yourself yoga. However, it is important to note that there are different types of yoga, and some may be more difficult than others to learn on your own.
Additionally, while learning the basics of poses and breathing techniques may be possible without a teacher, developing a deeper understanding of the practice takes time and commitment.
For these reasons, attending classes with a qualified instructor – at least occasionally – is generally recommended for those interested in pursuing yoga seriously.
How many times a week should a beginner do yoga?
There is no one definitive answer to this question. Depending on the individual, some people may benefit from practicing yoga once a week, while others may need to practice multiple times per week.
Some beginners may find that they feel better after attending a regular weekly class, while others might prefer to do shorter practices at home more frequently.
Ultimately it is up to the individual to experiment and see what works best for them in terms of frequency and duration of practice.
Is 30 minutes of yoga a day enough exercise?
There is no one definitive answer to this question. Some people may find that 30 minutes of yoga a day is enough exercise, while others may need more or less depending on their fitness goals and level of activity.
Though it may seem daunting at first, with our beginner’s guide to yoga, you’ll be an expert in no time.
There are many different types of yoga, each with their own health benefits. To get started, all you need is some comfortable clothing and a mat.
Be sure to avoid common mistakes such as forcing yourself into uncomfortable positions or comparing yourself to others. Instead, focus on your breath and finding your flow.