Let’s face it: life can be stressful. Between work, family, and social commitments, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed by everything around you. Yoga is one of the best ways to combat this feeling of stress and turn your attention inward to rejuvenate yourself physically and mentally. However, as with any activity, certain precautions should be taken before starting a beginner yoga practice, especially those involving physical exertion.
Here are some tips for beginner yoga:
Get a mat.
If you’re going to do yoga, get a mat. Mats are available at most gyms, and if not there, then check out your local yoga studio. They can be expensive, but they’re worth it—especially if you plan on doing yoga regularly. The mats come in many different sizes and textures:
- Standard: This is the standard 4×6-foot size most people are used to seeing in gyms or studios. It provides plenty of room for the poses described here (and more).
- Longer versions: If you have space for it or want extra cushioning between you and the floor during Downward Facing Dog (the classic “doggie pose”), try getting a more extended version of this standard size. Some models offer as much as two feet more length!
Set the intention.
Be sure to set the intention before beginning your practice. This is a reminder of what you are trying to achieve and can be anything that helps you focus. For example, “I will be mindful of my body” or “I will feel calm and relaxed.”
Setting an intention can help keep you focused on your goals during your practice and encourage self-compassion when frustration arises.
Before you start any exercise, it’s essential to warm up. This helps prevent injuries and prepares your body for what’s to come. The warm-up stage in yoga is typically called Savasana or Corpse Pose. You can do this by lying flat on the mat with your arms at your sides and feet together. Close your eyes and focus on breathing in and out deeply through your nose; try counting each breath (inhale 1-2-3 exhale 1-2-3). You can also add some stretching into this practice if you’d like; simply use one leg at a time to stretch out each leg individually (i.e., extend left foot back with toes turned under as far as comfortable; hold for 5 seconds before returning foot into starting position).
Practice on an empty stomach.
- Practice on an empty stomach.
This is important, as it allows your body to focus on yoga without being distracted by other things (like food). However, if there are any questions about this, check with your doctor before beginning a regular practice.
- Practice early in the morning or late at night (after dinner).
The ideal time for a beginner yoga is early morning or late evening. This is because you will be less tired and more likely to stay awake during your entire practice if it’s at these times of day than if you were practicing during lunchtime or mid-afternoon when most people are tired from work/schoolwork/etc.
Tune in to your breath.
When stressed, it’s easy to get caught up in your thoughts and forget your feelings. Your breath can help you tune in to what’s happening in the present moment and bring your mind back down to earth.
- As you inhale, focus on taking in a full breath.
- Exhale fully with each breath out.
- Repeat for several minutes as a way of slowing yourself down and focusing on the present moment.
Take it slow and listen to your body.
Yoga is an excellent way to start your day and get the blood flowing, but if you are new to yoga, it is essential to take things slow. This will help prevent injury and allow you to enjoy the benefits of yoga much sooner than if you try too hard too fast.
Try these tips:
- Listen to your body. It would be best if you never pushed yourself beyond what is comfortable for your body—doing so will only lead to injury or frustration with the practice itself. If something doesn’t feel right, stop doing it! If something hurts or feels uncomfortable, stop doing it! Listen closely and pay attention when practicing this pose; if it’s not working for you now, maybe later on down the road, it will become easier.
- Stretch gently but regularly throughout the day by using props such as blocks and blankets in addition to (not instead of) traditional stretching exercises like the Yoga Journal suggests here.
Connect to yourself.
The first thing you need to do is connect with yourself. To do this, focus on your breath and what it feels like as it goes in and out during each inhale and exhale. As you concentrate on the feeling of your body sitting or lying down, notice where you feel tense or relaxed in comparison to the other parts of your body. Feel free to let go of that tension by breathing into it and letting it go as you exhale.
Connecting with yourself also means connecting with all parts of your mind—the rational part (the “I”), the moving part (the “me”), the intellectual part (the “we/us”), and the spiritual side (the “it”). If one area feels tense or contracted while another area feels open and flowing freely, take a moment to breathe into any contracting areas before moving on to another part of your mind-body connection meditation practice.
Yoga is a great way to practice mindfulness and self-care
Self-care is important. Mindfulness is a great way to practice self-care. Yoga is a great way to practice mindfulness, and it’s also a great way to practice self-care!
As you can see, yoga is a great way to practice mindfulness and self-care. If you’re new to it or need tips on getting started, consider starting with these beginner yoga tips. They may seem simple, but they are also effective ways to begin your journey toward greater wellness and balance!