For a lot of beginners, yoga is synonymous with twisted postures or seeing someone upside down. And that deters a lot of us from taking up the practice, missing out on the immense benefits that yoga has to offer. Whether it is increasing your body’s flexibility, creating a mind-body balance, sleeping better or detoxifying our system through its various poses – yoga has a solution for all.
The essential thing to remember is that you have to slowly build up your daily practice, beginning with the basic asanas and then moving on to the advanced asanas and the time you hold each posture. So for all of you out there planning to start with your yoga practice, do take note of these 5 important tips!
- Find a qualified teacher – I know, with all the information overload that we have these days, we feel that Google can actually tell us about anything and everything at the click of a button.I know of a few people who google in their symptoms and try to diagnose their health issues! Please dont do that with your yoga practice. Nothing can replace a qualified teacher, who has been practicing and guiding students for a good number of years. You need someone who can gently guide you through your yoga journey, from basic to advanced poses and the more experienced your teacher is, the better is for you.
- Go slow – Don’t start your yoga practice thinking that you can master the headstand in a week’s time! Headstand definitely has its benefits, but so do the other basic postures. Go slow, gradually building up your strength and stamina. Dont push yourself too much, just try to bend or twist a little more than you did the previous day. As its often said, stretch as much as you comfortably can and then do just a little bit more! Doing this will make you more and more flexible. Also, listen to your teacher – he or she will know how much to push you with each posture.
- Breathe – A lot of yoga beginners are so focussed on getting their asanas right, that they completely forget the importance of regular, deep breathing. Yogasanas work best when they are combined with mindful breathing. Be aware of your breath coming in and going out, as you move from one posture to the other. Also, for beginners into yoga – don’t try to hold your breath for too long, just let it flow.
- Listen to your body – As you begin your yoga practice, there will be times when you may start feeling aches and pains in some parts of your body. Dont ignore these completely, thinking that the pain may go off over time. While a lot of the aches may be due to the muscles not being used to pulled and stretched, if any particular posture is causing you a nagging pain – discuss with your teacher. Your teacher may make some adjustments to your pose or ask you to stop doing it for sometime. Whatever, be the case, never let the pain worsen. If you are doing yoga the right way, the pain should lessen over time and not the other way round.
- Don’t compare yourself with others – Last but not the least, yoga is an individual exercise and however tempting it may seem, please dont try to copy the person sitting next to you! I know, it does feel a little embarrassing when the person next to you is able to touch his or her toes comfortably doing the forward bend while you are struggling to reach just a little below you know! But its okay, it really is. Just keep up with your practice, and guess what – you will soon be able to touch your toes as well:)
Do remember these 5 tips – find a qualified teacher, go slow, breathe, listen to your body and don’t compare yourself with other, when you head out to your first yoga class. Doing yoga at least three times a week will increase your body’s flexibility, strengthen your muscles and relax your internal organs. So get off that smartphone and get on your yoga mats. You will be doing your health a huge favor!