Yoga for Beginners: How to take those first steps into Yoga
Yoga is all around us these days. From Sting to Madonna, to maybe even your next door neighbor, everyone is hooked upon this fitness craze and with good cause. As a form of physical exercise, Yoga indeed is a force to be reckoned with. But just how can one go about using yoga for beginners? It is my hope that as a Yoga practitioner and enthusiast, this article will be of assistance in this regard.
If you have been considering learning yoga or have recently begun a yoga practice, I hope to provide you with some useful and helpful tips in which may be helpful to you in using yoga for beginners.
I have been doing Yoga for quite some time now, 6 years to be exact and since the first day I swore of free-weights and exercise machines, my use of Yoga and other body weight exercises like Hindu-Push ups (in my honest opinion a Yoga derivative) has been the main method for keeping fit. (in addition-of course- to my diet which co-incidentally changed when I started Yoga as a beginner those 6 years back.)
I will now enumerate the yoga poses to be learned as a starter which can aid or supplement your knowledge from your yoga classes, books and or DVD’s.
Yoga for Beginners: Yoga Poses to Learn first.
The Sun Salutations: Okay, this is the core of Yoga itself. This exercise is a combination of Yoga Poses, Breathing exercise, Sun Bathing and Prayer. It is the warm-up of a yoga class or personal yoga session and is a combination of poses, 12 to be exact, that are performed in a synchronized motion with emphasis on rhythmic breathing. They mildly exercise the arms and legs and are often recommended for obesity, depression and fitness. Friends, several Martial Artists, Indian and African Wrestlers perform tons of rounds of these exercises alone, so in learning yoga, for beginners, this will be a guaranteed must-know.
The Shoulder Stand: Don’t be intimidated by the name at all. Even for a beginner, this yoga pose is a piece of cake, really. It is actually a very important pose though, arguably the most important as its Sanskrit name (Savangasana) actually means the “all members” or “all limbs” pose, meaning it affects all parts of the body. As a beginner, be aware that some poses (such as this one) do have specific counter poses, so if you’re taking a Yoga for beginner class or learning from a DVD, make sure you are taught these poses to counter-act and balance the effects of the Shoulder-stand pose on the body, these are the Bridge and fish poses. Here’s a hint or ratio to adhere to in their combined execution: 6:1:2 , meaning the ‘bridge’ and ‘fish’ poses should be held for a sixth and third of the time you spend in the Shoulder-stand Pose respectively.
The Corpse Pose: You’ve got to learn this Yoga Pose as a beginner. It is the relaxation pose that is usually executed during and after your session as a means of relaxing the muscles used for your yoga exercise. At the end of a session, it is usually done for about 15 minutes and one always comes out feeling refreshed after its execution.
Arguably, these are the 3 main poses you have to lay emphasis on in learning yoga for a beginner, but there are other poses that should be included as you go further. They are
- 1. The forward Bending exercises: Head to Knee pose, Plough Pose and Wind reliving pose
- 2. The Back Bending Exercises: The Bow, Inclined Plane and Wheel Poses.
- 3. The Spinal Twists
- 4. The Balancing Exercises: The Peacock, Crow, Side Plank and 4-limbed staff Poses
- 5. The Exercises in Sitting and Standing Positions
- 6. The Abdominal and Breathing Exercises.
Each of these groups has several variations on the root poses; however, let me tell you a secret that would go a long way in aiding you as a beginner learning Yoga. Do at least 24 round of the previously mentioned Sun Salutations and the ease in executing these poses will come almost naturally. Trust me.
There are several styles of Yoga to pick from and in seeking the right style of Yoga for a beginner; it might be quite difficult to pick the best.
However, since Iyengar Yoga seems to involve a lot of props that can aid till flexibility is re-gained or enhanced, it may be one of the easier choices to pick. Kripalu and Bikram Yoga may also be quite easy to pick up as well as a beginner.
To find the best yoga for beginner class around you, you can always check your local YMCA or YWCA branches as they almost always carry information on Yoga classes for all stages: from beginner to intermediate.
One other factor that I must stress is the need to also pick up a Yoga diet for health and aiding these poses to both strengthen and detoxify you. This will-as a result of the symbiotic relationship that exists between Yoga and a proper diet-speed up an increase in fitness, weight loss, focus and the ability to execute these poses easily.
Though Yoga for beginners may best be learned from a certified instructor, your own practice will remain paramount for your mastery of this form of physical culture and there are tons of books and DVD’s to help in regards to this. Moreover, keep in mind that as a beginner doing yoga, not unless you intend to do lots of Sun Salutations as mentioned above, you may still want to incorporate some body-weight resistance poses (that co-incidentally are still Yogic in origin) such as the Hindu-Push-ups and Squats and the Bridge (now this is and the first one are basically Yoga poses in motion friends…).
This combination will see that till you have mastered the use of Yoga poses to make a complete session, you are still burning up enough calories and exercising the muscles for both weight loss and fitness.