Freelance writer, born and bred in South Australia.
Published October 25th 2016
Don't trip as you step into the sport
Yoga is a relaxing, effective and modern form of exercise. I initially began yoga because I was experiencing severe back pain, and it was suggested to me. But that was more than a year ago, and although the pain has disappeared, I'm still attached to the sport. Why? Because it helps me to de-stress and improve general health.
But, it can be difficult to know how to begin your yoga journey. Here's some tips I discovered along the way.
Image: By Robert Bejil, CC BY 2.0,https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=21741081
Yoga does not just come in one form. There's Bikram, Hatha, Vinyasa, Yin Yoga, and more. Check out this list to read more about the different types.
I first began with Vinyasa yoga. For beginners, this style seems one of the most simplest to grasp and have a go at. There's a fair bit of flow and movement involved so you won't get stuck in one pose for too long.
Bikram Yoga, or Hot Yoga, has recently spiked in popularity. It's certainly an activity that you should try at one point, but I recommend getting the hang of other yoga forms before you give it a go. Basically, Bikram Yoga is conducted in a 40 degree room where you sweat until there's barely any water left inside of you.
Some very common yoga poses include the Downward Facing Dog, the Mountain Pose, the Warrior 1 and 2, and the Triangle Pose. To make sure that you don't injure yourself, you should have a quick read of this article to understand exactly how each position should be attempted.
It's normal to feel some slight stretching and burning as you do yoga. It is, after all, exercise. However, if you're feeling genuine severe pains, then it is likely you are doing something wrong. There's no point pushing yourself too far and getting injured - because then you could be unable to practice for weeks.
Don't dive straight into just any yoga class
Yoga can be incredibly expensive if you don't know where to look. For tips on where to get the cheapest equipment, and how to get great discounts on classes, head to this link.
Also, you might find it embarrassing to be in a room with professional yoga enthusiasts when you can't even stand up straight yet. I strongly suggest having a go at some poses and stretches in your own home or backyard before venturing to a real class. That way, you can build up your confidence before other people get to look at you.
Before you do head to an actual class, check with the instructor to ensure that it's suitable for beginners. Just imagine joining your first class and being expected to do a headstand.
You need to be dedicated to see results
Typically, people who promote and advertise yoga have incredible physiques. Their abs are rock solid and their legs are shaped to perfection. It is definitely possible to lose weight, get fit, and tone your body by completing yoga. However, don't expect instant results.
The yoga enthusiasts that are capable of holding poses for crazy lengths have been working on their expertise for years. It didn't happen overnight for them, and it won't happen overnight for you.
In order to see real changes in your appearance and health, you need to be practicing yoga in conjunction with eating a well-balanced diet.
Good advice, especially the last piece. I have been doing yoga for about three years and we have a very small class. Part of the problem is that people come to one session, find it a bit hard or think they aren't as good as the others in the class (who have been doing it for a while) and then don't come back. You have to give it a chance.