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Tips for anyone new to yoga

For anyone wishing to start practising yoga, it can be quite daunting. Many questions can come up, such as “Is yoga right for me?”, “Which yoga style should I choose?”, “How will I know if I am doing it right?”, etc.

Yoga is the art of controlling our body and mind. Developed in India over many years, it is now available all round the worlds. With life getting more and more complex, it is a very effective way to add some relaxation and calm into our busy lives.

Here are some suggestions which may assist you in starting your yoga practise.

1. TRUST YOUR INNER JUDGEMENT. We sometimes forget to listen to that quiet voice inside ourselves that knows when something is not right for us. When it comes to choosing a style of yoga, a studio or teacher – go with your gut feeling. It is alright to let the yoga studio or teacher know that you are just checking out what feels right for you. This is especially appropriate during a yoga class if you feel really out of place or where the postures are too hard for you. Listen to that voice – you can always come back to the class at a later date.

2. BE POSITIVE ABOUT YOURSELF. We all have inner conflicts at some time or another – that is just part of being human. When you catch yourself in this state, try focusing on something positive you want from the yoga practice, or give yourself a pat on the back for coming in the first place. Never lose your patience – just being in the yoga class will have a relaxing calming effect on you. Also let the yoga class do the work for you (go along with the flow) rather than putting pressure on yourself about whether you are doing it right. You will be surprised by the results.

3. CHECKOUT YOUR LOCAL YOGA STUDIOS. Most of us will have at least 1-2 yoga studios in their local area. You may also find that your local community centre may have yoga classes run by local teachers who don’t belong to a studio. Attending a local yoga class in their area is the best way to learn the basics. If you don’t have any local yoga studios, there are a range of yoga classes available online from MP3 audios to DVDS. We have a range of high quality MP3 audio classes from experienced yoga teachers. Two of the best programs for beginners are Vinyasa Hatha Beginners Complete Set (Classes 1 to 6) and Hatha Yoga for Beginners Complete Set (Classes 1 to 7). They are designed for anyone who is new to yoga and wants to learn the basics.

4. PRACTICE REGULARLY. When you start yoga, we recommend that you commit to doing it at least once a week for 4-6 weeks. When you start something new it often takes at least 4 weeks to get used to it. Signing up for a beginners program is often a good idea as they typically run for 6-10 weeks and are aimed at your level.

5. BUY YOUR OWN YOGA MAT. Having your own yoga mat is a really good idea, and they are pretty inexpensive. Often studios will provide mats, however it is much better to have your own for hygiene purposes. It is also a great item to have around your home if you want to practice at home.

6. IT’S ALL ABOUT YOUR BREATH. The busier we get, the more we need to breathe. Physical, emotional and mental tension is usually accompanied by shallow breathing. At the heart of yoga is the idea that every pose / movement / action you do should be complemented by slow deep breathing. Studies have shown that Olympic rowers can improve their performance by up to 10% by using slow deep breathing. All it takes to use your breath is a little awareness of when you are holding your breath and focus on deepen and slowing your breathing. Give it a try and see whether you can feel any difference. You may also find it useful during your yoga classes.

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