Yoga for Beginners: Where to Begin and How to Get Started
If you're new to yoga and feeling overwhelmed by the different yoga styles, yoga poses, and yoga terminology, don't worry - this beginner's guide is here to help. Whether you're looking to improve flexibility, reduce stress, or simply try something new, we'll provide you with tips on how to begin your yoga journey and find the right yoga style and yoga class for you.
Swami Sivananda the famous yoga teacher and founder of the internationally renowned Divine Life Society once said “The mind is responsible for the feelings of pleasure and pain. Control of the mind is the highest Yoga.”.
Why Do People Do Yoga?
There are a multitude of reasons and benefits that brings people to yoga. The most common reasons people do yoga are physical fitness, flexibility, stress reduction, improved mental wellbeing, increased energy and vitality, pain relief, injury prevention, mind-body connection, spirituality, and community.
People often come to yoga for one specific reason and often over time that changes when they learn and experience more of the benefits of yoga. A good friend of mine first tried yoga to help him feel more comfortable in his body due to a back injury however now if you ask him he says he practices yoga for peace of mind and spirituality. My dad on the other hand tried yoga for stress relief and now does yoga regularly for mental wellbeing and mind body connection.
Where Does Yoga Originate From?
Before diving into the world of yoga, it's helpful to understand where yoga originated. Yoga is a practice that originated in ancient India and focuses on physical postures (asanas), breathing exercises (pranayama), and meditation. Scholars speculate that yoga began 200 - 500 BCE. In its essence yoga is a holistic approach to health and well-being, combining physical, mental, and spiritual elements.
What Language Is Yoga In?
Original yoga terminology is often in the ancient language Sanskrit because yoga originates from a time in India when the language people spoke was Sanskrit. Fascinatingly English and many European languages originated from Sanskrit. As you try different yoga styles you will likely notice that different yoga traditions and yoga styles translate Sanskrit yoga pose names in different ways.
Understanding the foundations of yoga will help you feel more confident and prepared as you begin your practice. If you would like to learn more about the basics of yoga read the book below.
Book To Read: The Shambhala Guide to Yoga by Georg Feuerstein
Common Yoga Terms
Asana = Yoga Posture e.g Parvatasana (Downward Facing Dog)
Pranayama = Breathing Techniques
Savasana = Laying Relaxation Pose (Corpse Pose)
Yogi = A Person Who Does Yoga
What Is The Best Yoga Style For Beginners?
As a beginner, it's important to find a yoga style that suits your needs and preferences. There are many different styles of yoga, each with its own focus and intensity level. Two popular styles for beginners are Hatha yoga, which focuses on basic poses and more gentle movements, and Vinyasa yoga, which involves flowing sequences of poses. It's also worth considering Restorative yoga, which uses props to support the body in relaxing poses.
Take some time to research and try out different styles of yoga to see which one resonates with you. Keep in mind that you will also want to find a yoga teacher that you like and that every yoga teacher has their own unique style of teaching. The most important thing is to find a yoga style that you enjoy and feel comfortable with, as this will help you stay motivated and committed to your yoga practice.
Most yoga studios will have a special introductory offer which will enable you to try multiple different styles of yoga and yoga teachers. Choose a yoga style that aligns with your goals and what you would like to get out of yoga. If you're looking for a workout look for a more invigorating yoga style like Hot Yoga or Vinyasa Yoga and if you are looking for peace of mind and stress reduction try Yin Yoga, Restorative Yoga or Hatha Yoga. For most people, Hatha Yoga is a great place to start as it is often very beginner friendly with its more simple yoga poses and transitions between the yoga poses.
Which Yoga Poses Are Best For Beginners?
When starting your yoga journey as a beginner, it's important to begin with simple yoga poses and gradually build your practice. This allows your body to become familiar with the movements and helps prevent injury. You will find plenty of simple yoga poses in a Hatha Yoga Class. These poses help to improve flexibility, strength, and balance. As you become more comfortable, you can start to incorporate more challenging poses into your practice. Remember to always listen to your body and come out of the pose if you need to. With time and practice, you will be able to progress and advance in your yoga journey.
How To Do Yoga Breathing For Beginners?
One of the key aspects of yoga is breathing. It's important to focus on your breath and use it to guide your movements. Deep, controlled breathing can help to calm the mind, reduce stress, and improve focus during your yoga practice enabling you to go deeper into each yoga pose. Start by taking slow, deep breaths in and out through your nose.
As you move through each pose, synchronise your breath with your movements. Inhale as you lengthen or expand your body, and exhale as you contract or release tension. E.g inhale as you lift your arms up and stretch tall and exhale as you fold forward and touch your toes. This mindful breathing will not only enhance your yoga practice but also bring awareness to your breath which will then continue into your daily life.
Seek Guidance From A Yoga Alliance Certified Yoga Teacher
When starting your yoga journey, it's important to seek guidance from a qualified yoga teacher. A knowledgeable yoga teacher can help you learn the proper techniques and alignment in each yoga pose, ensuring that you practice safely and effectively. A yoga teacher can also provide modifications or variations to accommodate any physical limitations or injuries you may have.
Look for a Yoga Alliance certified yoga teacher who has completed a reputable training program and has experience teaching beginners. Taking a few classes with a yoga teacher in person rather than online can make a big difference in your understanding and enjoyment of yoga. So don't hesitate to reach out and find a qualified yoga teacher to guide you on your yoga journey.
Where To Find A Yoga Teacher?
If you live in or by a city or large town most likely there will be a yoga studio close by. You will also often find yoga classes at health clubs and gyms. Private yoga classes are also common so by searching “yoga class or yoga teacher near me” in Google you will definitely find something.
For yoga classes in the UK there is a helpful website called Yoga Hub. On Yoga Hub, you can easily find yoga teachers, yoga studios and yoga classes in every county and even search by yoga style.
Do You Need A Yoga Mat When First Starting Yoga?
Having a yoga mat is essential for anyone practising yoga, and bringing your own yoga mat to yoga class offers numerous benefits. Firstly, a yoga mat offers comfort and cushioning, supporting your joints and protecting your body from hard surfaces. Specifically a non-slip high-quality yoga mat will help you maintain proper alignment and balance, reducing the risk of slipping and potential injuries.
Additionally, owning your own mat promotes hygiene and cleanliness. By using your own yoga mat, you avoid practising on communal yoga mats that may have accumulated sweat and germs. Many yoga studios charge a small rental fee for borrowing yoga mats. Investing in your own yoga mat can save you money in the long run by eliminating yoga mat rental fees.
What's The Best Yoga Mat For Beginners?
Jute Yoga Mats are an excellent choice for beginners due to their exceptional grip and stability. When starting out with yoga, maintaining balance and stability during poses is crucial, and jute yoga mats provide the necessary traction to prevent slipping. Jute, a natural fibre, has inherent anti-slip properties that enhance grip even when perspiring. This feature gives beginners the confidence to explore different poses without worrying about their feet or hands sliding.
Furthermore, jute mats are eco-friendly, biodegradable, and free from harmful chemicals, making them a sustainable and safe option for both practitioners and the environment. The natural texture of the jute also provides a grounding and tactile experience, enhancing body awareness and alignment. Overall, non-slip jute yoga mats are an ideal choice for beginners, providing the necessary grip, stability, and eco-consciousness to support your yoga journey.
High-quality jute yoga mats are not only great for when you are first starting out yoga but also once you’ve become a yoga pro. Jute yoga mats are also popular with advanced yoga practitioners and yoga teachers so by choosing a jute yoga mat as your first yoga mat you can be sure that you will not outgrow your yoga mat.
The best yoga mat for beginners, advanced yoga practitioners and the planet is a Sustainable Non-Slip Jute Yoga Mat like the bestselling CompleteGrip™ 4mm Yoga Mat or if you are on a budget the CompleteGrip 2mm Travel Yoga Mat.
Do Beginners Need Yoga Props?
As you delve deeper into your yoga practice, you will find it beneficial to invest in a few essential yoga props and accessories. These can enhance your practice and provide additional support at home and in the yoga studio. Some common items include yoga blocks, yoga straps, yoga cushions and yoga bolsters. At Complete Unity Yoga we specialise in sustainable yoga equipment to inspire you to take yoga into your home and daily life.
Conclusion: Yoga for Beginners: Where to Begin and How to Get Started
Embarking on a yoga journey as a beginner is an exciting and transformative experience. By understanding the basics, choosing the right yoga style, finding a yoga teacher that like, and establishing a consistent practice, you'll be well on your way to enjoying the many benefits of yoga.
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