Things every beginner should know
Deciding that you want to start doing yoga is the first step to exercising and feeling better.
Make sure you start with a basic level class and finding a good teacher will help you stick with it. You will see there are many types yoga classes, and for most beginners, a hatha or vinyasa class will be most appropriate, de- pending on whether you want a slow or fast- paced class. These are basic styles, and you can always try something fancier later. Here are a few tips how to stick to yoga and start with a smile:
• Whether you are in a yoga class or using a DVD, keep a close eye on the instructor’s alignment. That’s the precise way that the body lines up in each posture. Good alignment is very important to maximize each pose’s benefits and minimize the chance of injury.
• On the first day, you will not need to bring much except some comfortable, breathable clothing. Start slow and don’t strain yourself on the first day.
• When you are first learning the poses, it is ok to glance around the room to see what everyone else is doing, but look at the teacher for your primary instruction. Also, listen for her verbal cues as she describes how to do the poses.
• There is no need to dive into a 45-minute sequence immediately. Start with just 15 or 20 minutes when creating your home practice. You’ll be more likely to stay com- mitted to your new routine if the length of your practice doesn’t seem so daunting. Get started with our 20-minute total-body yoga sequence.
• Every day, do your best to hit your mat at the same time. Whether it is first thing in the morning or once you are home from work, a stable routine will train your mind to crave a regular practice time. You also won’t have the excuse about where to find the time to practice if it is built into your schedule.
Don’t have a big meal right before class. Try eating lightly a few hours before the start of class or your home practice. Also, don’t drink water while doing yoga, but have some before and after.
Don’t feel bad if you teacher corrects your postures – it is the best way to learn good form. Try not to judge yourself harshly in comparison to what others are doing on their mats. Everyone is at a different place.
Remember that your practice is an individual process. No one else is inside your body, so rely on your own judgment about what you can and can not do. There is no hurry to get into any particular pose. Listen to your own body and respect what it tells you about how to practice.■