There is a lot to learn about yoga and it’s many benefits.
Yoga helps to improve your overall health for both the mind and body.
Today, I will be talking about what yoga is, it’s many benefits and how you can get started with your new yoga practice.
What Is Yoga?
Yoga is a system of philosophy that originated in India over 3,000 years ago.
It focuses on the attainment of enlightenment and liberation of one’s self from those burdens that can have negative effects on the mind, body, and spirit.
This is attained through the discipline of controlling your breath, meditating and physical exercise.
This practice of yoga was brought to the Western world, like the United States, due to its gain in popularity and many mental and physical benefits.
Most yoga classes, however, focus on the physical poses more than on the meditation aspect of yoga.
Yoga can be performed by all ages, races, and ethnicity.
Yoga means something different to each individual, but the main definition of yoga is…
Yoga is a Hindu philosophy that uses physical and mental discipline to be able to create a union of the self with the Supreme Being.
This is all achieved through a series of postures and breathing exercises.
Yoga helps you to control your breathing, meditate and create balance and energy in the body.
It also helps you to restore your muscles through specific poses all while bringing you to a more relaxed state of self-awareness.
This is achieved through the different poses and sequences like sun salutation, ☀️pigeon pose, wheel pose, etc.
Breathing exercises 🌬and meditation🧘🏾♀️ is also apart of this amazing practice to improve overall health and well-being.
There are many people out there who consider this practice to be a spiritual one.
It has never been viewed as a religion, but some individuals have felt that the spiritual side of them has been enhanced because of yoga.
There are approximately 9 million people in the United States alone who practice some form of yoga, whether it be in the form of dance, stretching, exercise or even martial arts.
There are many styles of this age-old practice, as well, like Integral, Bhakti, Ananda, Hatha, and Bikram!
Why Yoga Is Good For You
Yoga has numerous benefits including increased flexibility, strength, and balance.
Yoga can also help you to heal your body as well as remove you from your current state of worry, stress, and anxiety and bring you to a place of peace, calm, and tranquility.
You can also get a killer workout too!
Yoga helps you to control your breathing and be able to supply your vital organs with the proper amount of oxygen.
Want to know how else yoga can benefit your life?
Check out these benefits below.👇🏾
- Increased flexibility with poses that involve using different muscles and joints that are not normally affected in most regular exercise routines.
- Improve the function and lubrication of joints, ligaments, and tendons, and helps to alleviate pain.
- Helps to stimulate and massage your internal organs to help prevent disease.
- Brings more calm and relaxation into your life and helps your mind to let go of negativity and stress.
- Gives you a total body detox by flushing out toxins from every nook and cranny of your body.
- Increases circulation and offers a complete detoxification of the body.
- Aids in focusing the mind on what’s important and releasing what is not.
- An excellent way to tone muscles and promotes strength, balance, and also aids in shedding excess fat from the body.
- Brings attention to your breathing.🌬
- Invites you to get out of your head and into your body.
- Gives you healing tools to better cope with stressful events and trauma.
- Re-balances your body and can help with weight loss.
- Can bring yourself awareness to the tension in your body so you can let it go.
- Yoga classes are a great way to meet new, interesting and like-minded people.
- Opens up a whole world of travel opportunities with amazing yoga retreats held all over the world.
- A ton of different yoga styles and levels allowing you to find the best ‘fit’ for you.
- Can consciously help you make healthier food choices.
- Helps you to reconnect with your inner self to realize your dreams, goals, and ambitions.
As you can see, yoga has a ton of benefits beyond just stretching out your muscles.
Another huge benefit yoga has is that it allows you to pause for a moment and literally just breath.
Yoga helps you bring focus back to your body and your mind.🧠
When you are in a relaxed state, you are then able to think clearer and come up with solutions to problems you had a hard time-solving.
Yoga helps with this by allowing you to, once again, take a break and let go of what is bothering you at that moment so that you can regroup and re-energize yourself.
How Yoga Works
Yoga helps to promote good balance by elongating and aligning your spine through strengthening your back muscles.
Other parts of the body grow stronger💪🏾 as well, like your arms, legs, glutes, and abs, which helps guard you back from injury.
To have good yoga posture requires regular practice.
Utilizing blocks, straps, and other yoga accessories can help you perform each yoga pose correctly.
To look at what I used when I first started my yoga practice, check out my YouTube video below!
The main goal of having good yoga posture is to teach every part of your body to bear its own weight instead of relying on other muscles to carry the load.
Yoga poses function differently as each pose is designed to develop flexibility and strength.
Here are some of the best yoga poses for beginners that you can practice in a class or even on your own.
Standing is one of the most important yoga poses.
These kind of poses are helpful in aligning your body and your feet.👣
These kind of poses are very helpful in improving and maintaining a good posture by increasing strength and elasticity in your legs and hips.
Some common standing poses include mountain, tree, standing side bend, and chair pose.
Here are some other standing poses you can check out!
These types of yoga poses help to increase strength and flexibility preferably in your lower back and hips.
Seated poses also add suppleness to your knees, groin, ankles and most importantly your spine.
When in these poses, try to make sure you are breathing in fully and exhaling out fully.
By doing this, it helps you to relax your muscles and let go of any tension you may be feeling at that present moment.
Boat pose, canoe, Bharadvaja’s twist, seated forward bend, and lotus are all great seated poses you can try.
Check out these other seated poses!
Forward Bend Poses
These poses help to stretch and strengthen your hamstrings and your lower back.
I usually have tight hamstring and hips and forward bend poses help to loosen them up.
I try to do these kinds of poses every day to keep my hamstring loose and free from tightening back up again.
All that does is lead to Charlie horses. 🐴
And trust me they are NOT fun.
Forward bend poses also decrease tension in your neck, shoulders, back along with increased flexibility in your spine.
As you can see, strengthening and increasing flexibility in your spine is key in yoga.
When your spine is loose and flexible, it reduces the risk of injuries.
Our bodies were meant to move and not sit all day.
By keeping your spine flexible and loose, you are able to push past your limits and go farther than you have ever gone before in your practice.
Popular forward bend poses include rag doll, seated forward bend, extended one leg pigeon, standing split, side seated angle, halfway lift, and downward facing dog.🐶
Here are some more forward bend poses for you to try!
Backbend poses are extremely helpful in opening up your chest, hips, and even your rib cage.
All of that openness allows oxygen to flow in and out without restriction.
It also gets oxygen to your vital organs, muscles, and joints.
Backbend poses also aid in strengthening and making your arms stronger along with relieving tension from the front of your body.
It simultaneously increases your flexibility and elasticity in your shoulders and spine.
When your spine has more flexibility you will be able to bend your body in ways you will be shocked that it could do.
Some backbend poses you can look into are dancer, fish, 🐠sphinx, camel, 🐫upward facing dog, 🐶 and bridge.
Check out more backbend poses to find out which ones work the best for you!
Balance poses are super challenging because they require leg and core strength.
The real challenge comes as you move from one pose to the next while keeping one leg lifted off the floor the entire time.
The perfect example of this is moving from warrior 3 to half moon🌙 to 3 legged dog.🐶
It can be a lot especially if you are just started out.
Some of the best balance poses out there are tree pose, 🌳 half moon,🌙 warrior 3, airplane, 3 legged dog,🐶 eagle,🦅 and side plank.
If you lose your balance when performing these poses that’s okay.
It takes time to build up your leg and core strength.
Get your balance on with even more balance poses.
Those were just some of the many different poses you will encounter as you progress in your yoga practice.
By practicing these basic poses on a regular basis it can help you build strength, flexibility, and stamina.
Try not to worry if you cannot perform each of them correctly at first.
As you continue to practice them, your strength will increase and performing these poses will get easier.
7 Tips To Start A Successful Yoga Practice
Below are 7 quick tips to help you start and maintain a successful yoga practice!
If you are a beginner to yoga, these tips can really help you to be successful at this amazing practice.
Be sure to read each one and implement them!
Tip #1: Talk To Your Healthcare Provider👩🏾⚕️
Safety is the number one priority when it comes to starting anything physical.
Yoga is no exception to this rule.
Before you start your yoga practice be sure you consult with your healthcare provider.
Be sure to explain to them what kind of yoga you would like to practice and show them the different poses you will be performing so that they can help you rule out specific poses that may cause you any problems.
For example, if you have a history of high blood pressure, your physician may be able to direct you to avoid certain poses that may spike it.
Tip #2: Find A Yoga Class That Matches Your Skill Level
Find a yoga class that matches your current skill level.
If you are a beginner, I do not recommend going into a super hard class or even into an intermediate class.
It may look cool the different poses the members of that class are performing, but if your skill level is not there yet, you run the risk of injuring yourself and NO ONE wants that…
Talk to your yoga instructor before taking that class.
Let them know what skill level you are at so that they can be sure that you are in the right class or even give you modifications for certain poses.
Start off slow and try out a few beginner classes (for a least a month or so) so that your body can adjust to the different poses.
Take your time with this process and enjoy the journey!
Tip #3: Listen To Your Body👂🏾
This next tip is SUPER IMPORTANT!
You MUST listen to your body during each yoga class.
If you are new to yoga, this will be a different physical experience that you may not be used to.
YOUR BODY WILL LET YOU KNOW if you are stretching too far or if you need to take a break!
It is okay if you have to take a breather during your yoga practice…
I do it ALL THE TIME and I have been practicing yoga for 9+ years now!
Remember this is YOUR practice, so you can go at YOUR pace!
The best pose to help you take a quick break is child’s pose.
I utilize this pose whenever I need to take a quick break and stretch out my body.
Tip #4: Practice Yoga At Home🏡
If you are not able to find a yoga class near you that meets your needs or your skill level, you can always practice yoga at home!
There are days when I am not able to get to my yoga class, so I purchased a few yoga videos so that I don’t have to miss a day of yoga!
You can do the same thing!
Try to find some yoga DVD’s that match your current skill sets.
A great yoga workout you can look into is called ‘Yoga Burn.’
Tip#5: Try Some Private Yoga Lessons
I actually didn’t even know these existed until I began researching this.
If you do not want to practice yoga at home or in a studio, you can always look into private yoga lessons.
You can work one on one with a certified yoga instructor in your area.
They can help design a personal yoga program just for you to help you progress in your yoga practice.
This is also a great way for you to learn the basics of yoga and ease yourself into this age-old practice naturally.
Tip #6: Get A Yoga Buddy
Yoga is DEFINITELY more fun when you bring a friend.
Now, you can always make friends at yoga too, but if you are just starting off…
Try to bring a friend!
I actually met a friend the first time I started practicing power yoga.
Come to find out (at the time) we worked at the same company which was pretty cool!
Having a yoga buddy can definitely help you stay motivated and energized to stick with your practice and help them improve theirs as well!
Tip #7: Eat Light Before Your Practice🍎🥕
It is best to eat SUPER light before your yoga practice.
They say it is better to practice on an empty stomach…but…
If that is too hard for you to do, it is recommended that you eat a really light meal so that you do not have a lot of food moving around in your stomach.
It is best to finish eating about 1-2 hours before your yoga session if possible.
Can You Really Practice Yoga?
There are some people out there who think they cannot perform yoga at all…
The crazy thing about that thinking is that THEY ABSOLUTELY can!
Yoga can be performed by all ages, genders, races, and level of physical activity.
Below are some of the reasons why people think they cannot perform yoga.
I am here to tell you…YOU CAN DO IT!
There is a level/style of yoga for everyone.
Not Flexible Enough
This may be a shocking factor for most people, but there are MANY people out there who are not very flexible.
Most people spend most of their time sitting and that shortens their muscles, 💪🏾 tendons, and ligaments.
Due to this, it is no surprise that you will not be able to do something simple as touching your toes.
Your muscles and tendons have not been loosened up or stretched out.
The first impression that many people get when they see yoga is that in order to practice it you have to be super flexible and be able to contort your body into these impossible, uncomfortable poses.
This couldn’t be farther from the truth.
Yoga focuses on the breath with each posture, which is an essential component of the healing applications of yoga.
The good news is that yoga is a VERY modifiable practice.
Remember when I mentioning a little bit about blocks and straps?
As you continue on in your yoga practice, your flexibility will develop.
Try not to force it, but let it develop naturally.
Being “overweight” does not mean you can’t do yoga.
Many poses can be modified to suit your current fitness level and size.
Lately there have been many yoga studios designing classes specifically for those individuals who may have a little bit more weight on them.
Almost every new yoga student has to do some sort of modification to some of the poses.
Try not to let your weight hold you back.
Yoga can help you lose some of that weight as well as improve your endurance and strength.
To Wrap Things Up…
Yoga combined with meditation harmonizes the body and mind in a way that can only be fully understood by people who practice it.
Yoga is more than just stretching, wearing cute yoga pants, or people saying “Namaste” to each other.
By the way, ‘Namaste’ means…
the light in me honors and respects the light in you.
It also means…
I bow to the divine that is in you.
Pretty much, when you say this word, you are passing along the positive energy from yourself to the person who is receiving it.
There is a spiritual meaning to this word as well.
I can go on about this all day, but overall for me, yoga is “Me Time.”
It’s like a mini “retreat” away from the hustle and bustle of life.
I get so relaxed after each yoga session that I end up almost falling asleep!
So… what are you waiting for?
Why not start taking part in this age-old practice and enjoy the benefits for yourself.
Yoga can be practiced ANYWHERE!
You really only need a mat, 2 blocks and maybe a strap, especially if you are a beginner.
You can practice anywhere like a yoga studio, the beach,🏖 in the woods, or even in your own home.🏡
The options are unlimited!
There’s no better day than today to start!
To understanding why yoga matters,
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