• 21/07/2024 03:22

Yoga for Beginners: 5 Ways to Improve Your Practice

Pilates may have gotten our attention in recent years, but yoga is still one of the best low-impact exercises you can do to build full-body strength and develop calm. Various studies have shown that yoga is a useful tool in the fight against depression. And you don't have to perform difficult asanas to reap these benefits. Yoga for beginners will also give you many benefits.

ContentYoga for Beginners: Choose the Right Type of Yoga for Your GoalRead Yoga Philosophy (It's More Than Just the Poses)Yoga for Beginners: Focus on Feelings, Not PerfectionLearn to Love (or Tolerate) the Things You HateMaster the Art release

However, if you're new to yoga, your practice may serve as a reminder that you're not as flexible or strong as you'd like. Or perhaps you find that the moment you hit the mat, your mind is filled with an ever-growing to-do list. WomanEL shares 5 steps to improving your practice from yoga teacher Aine Donnellan.

Yoga for Beginners: Choose the Right Type of Yoga for Your Goal

There are over 100 different types of yoga, so there's a style for every goal. Age, size and fitness are also no barriers as there are modifications for most yoga poses. You need to think about what you really want to achieve with your practice.

Want to reduce stress and anxiety? Are you looking for a full body workout? What about reducing the risk of injury when running or working out in the gym? Once you understand the purpose of your yoga journey, it's time to try different styles.

There are four different directions to choose from:

  • Home practice;
  • Classes at a gym;
  • Studio classes that offer a variety of styles;
  • Classes at a niche studio that offers a specific style of yoga (such as Ashtanga yoga and Kundalini yoga).

Each path has a unique set of benefits and challenges. So consider which one best suits your needs and intentions. Often the only way to know for sure is to try a session, so it's worth experimenting with the style of yoga and its setting.

Teachers will also have a big impact on your yoga experience. So be open to new activities until you find one that really suits you.

Read the philosophy of yoga (it's not just poses)

Most of us think that yoga is about exercise and meditation, but stretching is only a very small part of the practice. Yoga asanas (flows) are just one of the eight paths that make up yoga in a broader sense. “Yoga” means “union” in Sanskrit, and it is all about unifying the physical and mental systems of the body.

In addition to asanas, the other seven paths of yoga consist of:

  • Yamas (attitude towards the world);
  • Niyama (attitude towards oneself);
  • Pranayama ( work with breathing);
  • Prathayara (exit of feelings);
  • Dharana (concentration);
  • Dhyana (meditation);
  • Samadhi (enlightenment).

By helping a friend, focusing on your breathing, sitting on the couch, speaking the truth, or learning a new skill, you are technically practicing yoga.

If you are not interested in spiritual aspects, that's okay; everyone has the right to take from yoga what they need. This openness reflects the essence of yoga – it is an inclusive activity left to individual interpretation.

Yoga for Beginners: Focus on Feelings, Not Perfection

Yoga is not only complex asanas, but also the work of the mind, Source: freepik.com

If you are a perfectionist who is always trying to do the hardest exercise, yoga can be a really challenging activity. Instead of forcing your body into the perfect position, try reducing each pose until you're moving for yourself and not for someone else to see. A big part of yoga is working on your relationship with your mind, recognizing which thoughts serve you and which you should strive to get rid of.

The first mental task is to let go of how ” should” look like a pose or flow. Allow your mind to be controlled by your body, not the other way around.

By changing your thinking, your practice will move from an experience of self-judgment to an experience of deep connection. It is at this point that you will begin to feel that “zen” that will leave you hungry for more.

Learn to love (or tolerate) what you hate

The poses, exercises or practices we want to avoid are usually the ones we need most. Force yourself to stay in savasana if you desperately want to talk on the phone or check the laundry again; Hold chair pose for two more breaths if the thought makes you want to squirm.

Breathing despite the discomfort can help you overcome mental barriers. This inevitably leads to a feeling of empowerment and independence, and the rewards of flexing these mental muscles will benefit you both on and off the mat.

Master the art of letting go

If you get on your mat and do the best you can with what you have you exist, everything that happens next will be right. What this looks like will change from day to day, so being able to let go of any expectations will mean that you enjoy and get the most out of your yoga practice every time you do it.

Tune in to the present , heighten all your senses and be mindful of every breath, movement and sensation that arises during your practice, and this will help you get into (and stay) in the flow.

Find out what you want from yoga by reading a yogic philosophy, prioritizing feeling over form, and overcoming limiting self-beliefs will make your practice unique. And then a magical connection will occur.

Chair yoga has become popular recently. Interested in learning more about her? A short overview awaits you here.

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