Yoga is an ancient Indian practice which has been going for thousands of years. The main purpose is not to lose weight, but to become one with the self and understand how your body works and is connected. Yoga, in short, is a physical form of meditation, and is a practice which many swear by to keep them healthy, sound of mind and flexible through their lives.
Now that we are in the new year, many of you might be wanting to start looking into new ways to stay fit, and yoga has certainly become one of the most popular ways for people to add flexibility and mindfulness into their lives over the last few years. It can also be a great way to recover from injury or illness.
If you want to become a student of yoga, you will need to start looking at what yoga is all about and really understand WHY we do what we do. Yoga is a path which can lead to spirituality, happiness and contentment. You must step into the discipline of yoga with an open mind and heart, and be prepared to dedicate some time to this form of activity.
The main aim of yoga is to bring your mind in alignment with your body. You need to be able to focus on yourself and bring that attention deeper inwards to connect with yourself on a deeper level. It will allow you to see the truth of yourself more clearly and will often help you to lead a healthier lifestyle. When you bring your attention to yourself you will notice more about the strength of your body and also about the weaknesses. In seeing these strengths and weaknesses you will feel inclined to change and improve. Many who start yoga will begin to crave more healthy foods and a more active lifestyle because they are truly in tune with what their body needs and wants.
Relax into it
When you first think about practicing yoga, you may be wooed by the beauty of those who can perform the more advanced poses and asanas. However, although you may be enthusiastic to learn these moves as soon as you physically can, you need to not worry pushing your body beyond its ability. This is not like other forms of exercise where you want to force yourself to push past your edge. In yoga you shouldn’t push yourself past the point of slight discomfort and stay where you feel you can hold the pose. Even if you cannot complete a pose perfectly for the first few weeks, keep calm and relax into it. Your body will take a long time to get used to the positions you put yourself in so you need to be patient. Enjoy the feeling and take your time, you’ll get there eventually but it will take some time. The more you practice the looser your muscles will become and the easier it will be to hold the poses.
Part of relaxing is making sure that you are wearing the right clothes. Sites like Monsta Clothing Co will give you a range of gear to wear. Yoga is about being relaxed, comfortable and focussing solely on the movement of your body and having comfortable clothing is key to this.
If you are new to the practice of yoga, you will want to start off with a goal of around 3 sessions a week. These sessions can be anywhere between 20 minutes to an hour. It depends on the type of session you are completing and your personal goals with yoga. Once you have been doing it for a few months you can up the times to 5 times or even 7 times a week. Those who practice yoga every day have been proven to be less stressed and healthier in older age, so it’s worth trying to practice as much as you can!
If you don’t want to take part in a class when you first start out, there are plenty of ways you can practice yoga at home. You can follow YouTube channels and they will walk you through yoga routines each day, or download apps such as FitStar Yoga which will guide you through the poses and even create personalized routines for you depending on which poses you find most difficult and how advanced you are.
Yoga is for the individual, so remember that what you can do may not be the same as someone else. Never push yourself to the point of pain and never compare yourself to anyone else. Your body will tell you how far it can go, and that is all you need to know.
Get a teacher
Once you have been practicing yoga for a long time, you might want to take a look into getting a teacher. You can only teach yourself so much at home, and without a teacher there to guide you, you may never know how to reach those advanced poses such as the Side Crow or the Handstand. It will take work and balance to achieve the most difficult asanas, and a yoga teacher will be able to guide you on where you are going wrong.
Dedicating part of your life to yoga is a commitment, but it is one which will benefit you in so many different ways. Your body will thank you for the stretches and your muscles will become much stronger over time. Your mind will thank you for the peace and calm you bring to it, and the connection you form with yourself on the inside. Yoga is really more than just an exercise or a fad which you can give up after a month, it is a part of your lifestyle and it can be the perfect way to help you stay fit, healthy and grow to a ripe old age.