Want to start a yoga practice? Don’t know much about yoga burn challenge 3 times per week? Aren’t sure what to wear to your first yoga class? It can be intimidating going into a yoga studio for the first time. Here is a primer for starting a yoga practice. Yoga is the path to greater wellness of your body and mind. After practicing for 16 years, I enjoy yoga benefits daily and encourage anyone at any age to try yoga. My first yoga teacher was 84 years old and said “Congratulations. You found yoga. Yoga is the fountain of youth.” As she was able to stretch in ways many in the class could not, who would argue?
Yoga benefits you by keeping your body pliable, strong, and “well-oiled”. As you practice, the fluids around your joints build, allowing greater ease of movement. Yogic breathing is the main component and you will learn to expand your lungs and use your breath for relaxation or extra energy.
Who can do yoga? Yoga was developed thousands of years ago to be practiced by men. As such, some of the positions can be challenging for women but anyone can do them. Be sure to tell your instructor if you have any body limitations such as neck or back problems so they can ensure your safety. I have yet to hear a doctor advise not to do yoga. It is merely a stretching session, done standing, sitting and/or lying down. My motto is “If you can breathe, you can do yoga.” Listen to and honor your body. You are the only one who knows if you are experiencing a “good stretch” or “bad pain”. Try to clear your mind while in class. Send your to-do list mental chatter out of your head. I mentally put it all down with my purse and keys as I enter the studio, knowing I can pick it back up as I leave. Give yourself permission to give this time to you. For More Help, complete research can be made at the stores. There should be granting permission to the person to get the best materials. The pain in the muscles should be low with further information. The experience of the person will be great at the stores.
Clothing / Equipment Yoga is wonderful, as it requires so little equipment. You will work in bare feet and you should wear clothes that stretch with you. You really don’t need the matching yoga clothes; I have always worn a t-shirt and Capri length sweatpants. If wearing a tee, bend over at the waist to see if your chin gets stuck or if the neck will show more than you want. It is unlikely you will invert (go upside down) but it is possible so make sure shirts aren’t too loose. Yoga teachers like to be able to see your body so they can give you better suggestions on how to improve your “pose”. Come to class clean with no perfumes that might bother others. You will want your own yoga mat and I find them inexpensively at TJ Maxx but many stores sell them including sports stores and Target. If you aren’t ready to spend the extra $20, you may be able to borrow a mat from the studio. Keep your mat clean; I put mine in the washing machine then hang to dry. I like to blow my nose well and use the bathroom before going to yoga so I am ready and can breathe well. Don’t eat right before class so you aren’t burping up a Balance Bar. Some people bring water bottles but my teachers have usually discouraged drinking water during the practice.
Studio/ Gym -which is right? Places such as the YMCA have yoga classes. This is often a great place to start but don’t overlook your neighborhood yoga studio. It is usually owned by someone who loves sharing yoga with others and will make every attempt to make you feel comfortable. Some studios will give your first or second class free but the typical yoga class runs $10-15 with discounts for packages.
Terminology Because yoga is an ancient art that originated in India, and the language used in that time was the now-dead language of Sanskrit, many of the words and especially the names for the poses are in Sanskrit. What? You don’t speak that? Relax. Often instructors will say the name in English instead or as well. As you practice more, you will learn it and may even be able to say them. Surya Namaskar (soor-yah nam-ah-scar) or Sun Salutation is one example. While you are taking it all in, just watch your instructor and copy what they do. The first time yogis are usually surprised they “were able to do it” and remark that they have done these types of stretches before in gymnastics or dance or military training. When the class is ending, many teachers close with everyone saying (“chanting”) Om. Om is the seed sound of the earth, its tone is supposed to bring you and the world greater harmony and peace. Om is generally held for as long as possible in roughly a B flat. The genesis of the word is from Aum. If you do not feel comfortable joining in, don’t do it. That is part of honoring yourself. You will hear the names of different yoga schools such as Iyengar, or Hatha (hah-tah), or Ashtanga. There are so many but they are variations on ways to do the movements (“poses”). If you don’t like the first class you go to, try another somewhere else, or try a different teacher. – “Practice” We practice yoga because no one is ever an expert. One must always practice towards improvement at any level. – “Props” some classes use canvas straps, pillows, the wall, or nothing. These are usually provided and they will tell you if you need them for that class. – “Savasana” (shi-vah-sah-nah); relaxation. At the very end of class, you will lie on your back and relax. Actually, this is the hardest thing you will do as it is challenging to relax one’s mind. – “Namaste” (Nah-mah-stay) Almost always said at the end of class, this one word expresses “May the light in me, recognize, salute and love the light in you” or “my self sees and honors your self”.
Confidence Yoga teaches non-judgment towards yourself and others. It is non-competitive and is not like an aerobics class where the best and fittest get the front row and you get to feel bad until some physical goal is realized. A good yogi will be in their own practice and not watching yours. As yoga teaches you to master your ego, you should not encounter haughty attitudes from accomplished students. Acceptance of yourself is key and yoga teaches you this. It is very important that you listen to your own body and not to stretch beyond what is reasonable for you. To do so would be violence against your body and yoga teaches you to respect yourself and others. For your first class, try to concentrate on the breathing instructions as you move. The breath connects you to the practice and practice connects you to life.
When older people are sent to the hospital, deaths are most likely not from what they were sent in for, but from pneumonia due to weak intercostals muscles in the chest. Yoga builds and strengthens these and all of your organs and muscles to give you better health and more resilience at any age. I find a great tool is to smile if I am having trouble or something is difficult. It eases me and reminds me yoga is a path, not a destination. Good luck on your journey. Namaste.