There are so many types of yoga! Before you begin, do your research. What types of poses call to you? What sequences seem fun? And what style feels good--the slow, controlled style of Hatha yoga or powerful, flowing sequences of Vinyasa yoga?
You’ll also want to choose yoga clothes that fit well and don’t hinder your practice. Lastly, you’ll need a non-slip, comfortable mat to use for your practice.
Yoga necessitates a decent sized space that has plenty of airflow. You’ll need to make sure there are no sharp objects that you can fall into. It’s often helpful if the space is serene. You can add candles to your practice for a soothing feeling.
Choose a time of day that works for you, and that you can keep just for yoga every day. If you resolve to practice yoga every day, you’ll reap the benefits quickly, even if it’s for just 15 or 20 minutes. You can also decide to try a new posture weekly. That way you’ll keep progressing in your practice and it will feel fresh.
Phone, computer, TV, radio. Turn it all off when it’s time to practice yoga. You’ll want a distraction-free zone to ensure you’re getting the benefits of tuning into the present moment. You should keep your focus on practicing your postures--especially because being distracted can lead to injuries.
It’s easy to want to do complicated inversions from the offset--they look cool on Instagram! But if you’re a beginner, it’s well worth your time to learn the basics. Start off with a few Sun Salutations, and you’ll become more and more equipped to try the harder postures. Take it slowly with restorative postures, and move forward as you feel comfortable. Trust your body.
You can practice yoga anytime, but it’s best to do it 2 to 3 hours after your last meal. It’s hard to move on your mat on a full stomach, and can often lead to nausea. That’s not a good way to start your practice.
It’s easy to want to jump right into deep stretches, but just like any other physical exercise, you’ll want to warm up. Again, start with some slow, thoughtful Sun Salutations and Cat and Cow pose before you move into more difficult poses. This will protect your body from injury.
You want to take deep, long breaths while practicing yoga. If you’re working on Vinyasa flows, you’ll eventually want to link one move with one breath. That requires a lot of focus. If you find yourself out of breath, it’s your body’s way of telling you to slow down. Remember to focus on controlled, deep breaths and your body will thank you.
Just like you want to warm at the beginning of your practice, you’ll want to cool down at the end of a session. Slow, restorative postures at the end of your practice will let your body naturally cool down. And if you end with Savasana (lying down), you’ll allow your mind and body to unwind and return to a sense of normalcy.
Classes are wonderful ways to learn--and we’d suggest going to a few every now and then to gain new ideas about sequences and to ensure your alignment is correct. However, you don’t have to leave home to learn. There are plenty of yoga DVDs and online classes you can take. Just search for videos and websites that speak to you, and you’ll find sequences that you’ve not thought of.