Yoga has become very popular over the last decades and everyone seems to become a yogi lately, especially women. But do not let that fool you into thinking it is an easy thing.
Do not let it stress you either, what if you do not get the poses right from the first strike? It does not really matter; there is no judgment in yoga.
Everyone knows how pretty challenging it can be, especially for beginners, before it becomes really easy and pleasant.
It will increase your self- confidence, your emotional and physical well-being and most importantly, it will make you happier!
If you are thinking about practicing yoga soon, we have the best program for you: The 12-week Yoga Burn Challenge
It is a series of videos that cover everything a woman needs to know about yoga. It tells you how to exactly perform every movement in each exercise; you will have to complete three exercises of 45 minutes a week, with a bonus one if you have enough time.
The exercises will progressively increase in a way that will make your body easily adapt and get in a perfect healthy shape by the end of the program.
Is Yoga actually a good workout for me?
Yes, yes and yes! Yoga makes you work your flexibility and therefore your range of motion around every joint of your body.
It will increase your muscles’ strength and flexibility and will turn them into strong and long muscles.
But Yoga does more than tone muscles, it’s a mind-body workout that combines stretching and strengthening poses with numerous meditative benefits, resulting in total relaxation and a peaceful state of mind.
What type of Yoga is right for me?
Trying Yoga for the very first time can be a little confusing. Vinyasa, Hatha, Ashtanga... It never hurts to check out the different types of yoga to try to pick the best one for you but it is a bit overwhelming to have it all in a whole different language. What type of yoga is right for me? Is this one okay for beginners? How do I even know which one is which?
When in doubt, opt for a vinyasa yoga class. Vinyasa in Sanskrit stands for movement with breath. It is a great form for beginners to explore the principles of yoga and experience the fundamental postures. It is characterized by ‘flow’, which refers to continuous movement
associated to breath. For example, you might be in a seated position, asked to inhale your arms up and exhale them down repetitively for a few breaths.
It is considered as a ‘cardio’ yoga style, maybe the most cardio one among them. It is such a great way to make your heart pump and body sweat. It makes you easily burn calories considering its constant movement exercises (up until 500calories in only one-hour yoga session, depending on your weight and work-out intensity).
How long do I hold the poses?
This will vary according to the type of Yoga you are practicing.
For example, a hatha class will require holding the poses for a long period of time.
When it comes to a vinyasa class, every position has a different intention and therefore is held for a different time. Transition postures will make you stronger and more fluid in your movements, while balancing postures will make you able to focus more and improve your concentration, which is why they are required to be held for a longer time.
Now that we answered some questions that might have been intriguing your mind, we are going to provide you with ten practical tips that will make you ready to practice yoga.
1. Understand the reasons behind your practice.
Each yogi has different reasons behind becoming one. Some do it for spiritual reasons or to burn calories, while some others practice it only because it makes them feel better about themselves.
Each reason requires a different knowledge and different practices, which makes it important to take time and know the real reasons behind your interest.
2. Ask all the questions floating around your head.
Whether you are going to take yoga classes in a studio or start practicing it at home on your own, you should still take advice from a practiced person. Consulting an experience yoga teacher will help you a lot, because he will take in consideration your health and body structure, and give you a good understanding of the whole practice and how to start it.
3. Read books on yoga.
Yoga needs a many sided approach considering it is a pretty complex practice. Do not settle for the information your yoga teacher will give you, read along some books that will expand your knowledge. Articles on the internet can also help you a lot (aren’t we a proof?) but sometimes
the information can be quite a lot and therefore become very confusing. Make sure you get your information for a reliable source.
4. Take notes.
Use a practical journal to write down notes in order to keep up and avoid getting lost.
Take notes of everything, the names of the poses you master, the ones you need to work on more, the tips etc.
It will help you memorize the terms easily since you forget about 85% of the things you don’t jot down. It will also make you able to track down your progress by writing down the things you have learned in each time.
5. Do not push yourself over your limit.
The strength from yoga only comes with continuous practice. Be patient with yourself, you really do not want to end up with a muscle strain. If there is a pose that you can’t do, add some modifications like using yoga blocks or simply bending your knees (with your instructor’s supervision of course).
Practice makes perfect. So, unless you are already into cross fit or another sport requiring physical strength, you will have to practice more before being able to do any advanced posture.
6. Always wear comfortable clothes.
You should always make sure to wear something you can easily move in. It should also be made of breathable fabric. Stretchy pants or leggings with a basic top are perfect for yoga. It would be better if they are also moisture-wicking, considering you are going to sweat a lot. They dry very fast so that your sweat does not saturate the fabric which keeps it dry and non-sticky.
7. Eat light.
Yoga is an intense practice, which is why you need to fuel your body properly in order to get the most out of your work-out. Never practice on an empty stomach! A convenient diet would contain more substantial breakfasts with light suppers.
Your food should be lighter though, your diet should be essentially based on low carbs and fibers. You can find them in different foods such as oatmeal, grains, vegetables, fruits etc.
Also, you should wait from one hour to two after your meal before working out, unless it’s only a pre-workout snack, then you can eat it about 30 minutes before.
8. Stay hydrated.
Keeping your body hydrated is very important. You should drink at least 1.5 liters per day, including a glass of water a couple of hours before your yoga work-out, this way you will have something to sweat out and your practice will be more effective.
9. Buy a sticky mat.
The problems that beginners face the most are balance problems. A sticky mat is a very essential tool for some positions and will certainly make it easier and help prevent some yoga problems such as after work-out cramps or muscle sprains.
Also, remember that the most difficult part of practicing yoga is sticking to your practice schedule. So, what is a better reminder that your yoga mat? Put it out every night so that you can see it in the morning, or put it next to your door so that you will notice it every time you are leaving or entering the house.
This is a subtle psychological trick that works as a guaranteed positive reinforcement. It makes yoga stays on your mind and keeps you motivated all the time even when you are feeling tired from a long journey.
10. Focus on the spiritual part.
Yoga is not just a physical practice, incorporating the spiritual aspect to it brings powerful sense to the poses and exercises.
To complement your yoga work-out, meditation and yogic breathing (pranayama) are important. Not only they will help oxygenate your whole body and get rid of all the anxiety and stress, but they will also make you gain more of yoga’s holistic benefits and improve your physical and mental health. Your progress will, with no doubts, be faster and have a much deeper meaning for you.
Yoga is great! Do not stress about starting it because no one expects you to master the poses since day one. And avoid comparing yourself to the others, your level of experience is different, as well as your body, strength and capacities.
As long as you are maintaining a good work, you will progress and create your own practice that will suit your own abilities and will be most beneficial for both your body and mind.