Yoga for Beginners

Submitted by victoria1981 on Sun, 02/28/2010 - 18:13

I don't know about you, but I don't consider myself particularly “limber”. For that reason alone, I would scoff at the idea of taking up any sort of yoga. I had nightmarish visions of my body awkwardly tumbling backwards, forwards and in any other direction possible due to my poor coordination and balancing skills.

Fact of the matter is, being flexible or having a good sense of balance are not pre-requisites to yoga. All that's required is an open mind, confidence, and a touch of humility (for those times you may end up falling over!).

What do I Need to Start Yoga?

You don't need to go crazy with buying a ton of new gym equipment to practice yoga, which is perhaps part of its appeal. All you will need to begin is:

  • Loose or stretchy clothing that allows for easy movement
  • A non-slip mat
  • Water bottle

You may also want to add the following things later on:

  • Belt
  • Chair with arm rests
  • A wooden/foam block or a phone book

What Do the Basic Yoga Positions Entail?

Warm-Up Exercises: Before you begin any sort of exercise, you always need to slowly condition and stretch your body. By loosening your body up, you are protecting it from injury.

Standing Poses: Standing poses are all about opening up your hips, stretching out your legs, strengthening your back and increasing your body's range of motion. These positions are also great for those who want to lose weight.

Sitting Poses: These poses are to relax your body. Sitting poses will both help shape your lower body as well as help condition your spine.

Twists: Suffer from backaches? Then do the yoga twist! Twists help release any tension from your spine, improve your circulation and increases the flexibility of your back and shoulders.

Supine/Prone Poses: These poses are all about increasing your spine's mobility by strengthening your back, arms and legs while also releasing abdominal tension.

Inverted/Balance Poses: Coordination, strength and stamina are the three key things you will improve upon through these kinds of poses.

Backbend Poses: These poses are used to release frontal body tension as well as your shoulders and hips.

Finishing Poses: Aimed at cooling your body down, finishing poses help relax both your body and your mind.

Anything Else I should know about Yoga?

What most people need to remember that it is the technique that's important in yoga rather than the extent of the stretch. It is the technique that works your body best, not the extension of your limbs. If you ever feel pain while practicing yoga, stop immediately and take a breather. Most of all have fun!

photo by Matteo Canessa

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