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Yoga for Everyone: A Beginner's Guide

People start for different reasons, sometimes vague, sometimes more specific: perhaps to have a more flexible body, to dissolve the stress and tensions of the day, or to get to know each other at a deeper level.

Antah Yog

Source: Yan Krukov/Pexels

You have recently started approaching Yoga, do you feel that it intrigues you but you don’t know where to start?

Those who feel attracted to this discipline start for different reasons, sometimes vague, sometimes more specific: perhaps to have a more flexible body, to dissolve the stress and tensions of the day, or to get to know each other at a deeper level.

We always start somewhere, whatever the reason, and it is not the beginning but the path (and the way we deal with it) that makes the difference and that will then determine our possible evolution.

However, an aspect that concerns all those who begin to approach this vast and millenary discipline as Yoga is that very often, the concept that most resonates in the mind is mainly one: confusion.

Many practices, many styles, and many teachers are very different from each other and even in almost opposite ways.

How is it possible to orient oneself in all this vastness of choice?

I still remember a conversation from years ago, when one of my friends told me about his first Vinyasa Yoga lesson, and my response was:

“Why, you did such a “dynamic” Yoga class that didn’t make you hold a position even for a few seconds. I was thrilled for being able to balance a posture for some minutes, and you tell me that you did another one where you didn’t stop for a second? How would you benefit from it then?”

My friend was confused for a moment. It is normal for these doubts to arise, especially if you are at the beginning of a path that offers many possibilities and ways.

Yoga for beginners

And that is why it is so important, at this stage, to have a perspective of what Yoga is, to understand what it is and why it gives certain benefits, even before practicing it.

In this guide, I will give you the necessary information that will help you to have reference points within which to move, orient yourself and direct your path.

It is not necessary to fill yourself with so many notions, especially at the beginning, because you only risk increasing the confusion even more.

We will therefore immediately apply one of the basic principles of Yoga, which is:

Doing the essentials, the minimum we need, but intelligently, to get the best result.

But before I start reading, I ask you to do one thing:

Take a moment now to close your eyes, take a few breaths and forget everything you know about what you have been told, what you have known, or what you have read about Yoga so far.

Keep a space inside you to welcome, with curiosity, everything that is different, compared to what you had imagined, you will understand by reading this guide.

When you are ready, open your eyes and begin to approach this new knowledge just like a child eager to know, and nothing more.

Now, you are ready. Enjoy the reading!

Getting started: how to start doing Yoga

As mentioned before, each of us has our path.

Sometimes the practice of Yoga enters our life a little quietly, even in an ordinary way, and there is nothing wrong with that.

The most common mistake made, however, is to approach Yoga thinking that everything is the same, leaving it alone if we don’t like a lesson.

My advice is not to limit yourself to a single experience. To understand Yoga in all its facets it is necessary to make many attempts because we do not always find what we need on the first try.

So, the first step is to experiment.

In this case, curiosity is fundamental, as well as stopping to listen to oneself and understand what is happening inside us.

As already mentioned at the beginning, many styles refer to the “postural” type of Yoga, that is, the one we know for the most part here. Hatha Yoga. Vinyasa Yoga, Hot Yoga, and more! 

How to start doing yoga?

My advice is to try as many as possible, even with different teachers, because each of them always and in any case re-elaborates the style through its modalities. If you don’t want to try as many styles as possible or simply you can’t do it right now, start with Hatha Yoga, perfectly suitable for beginners, and then, over time, you can experiment with other yoga styles.

Yoga tools to practice at home

Whether you practice yoga online or in a center, I recommend that you have your yoga mat, as it is more hygienic. There are many types of mats, but I recommend a non-slip one as well, in addition to serving as a cushioning support, you will prevent your hands and feet from slipping on it. You will see how it is worth the investment because your mat is the basic tool in your practice and will accompany you for a long time.

Likewise, other basic yoga materials can help you in your initiation to be more stable and aligned in the different postures:

One or two blocks of yoga can help you explore the different asanas and feel more comfortable and aligned with them.

A zafu cushion for your meditations will allow you to raise your pelvis and hold you in the meditation posture with your spine more upright and your hips more relaxed.

A yoga belt is an accessory that can be of great help to people with little flexibility, although it is also very useful for entering advanced postures.

If you sweat a lot, you may be interested in a non-slip towel the size of the mat, which you can easily wash later.

Guide to getting started

Once the choice of the best yoga style for you has been made, some essential tools are then necessary to be able to perform the discipline in the best possible way, among these certainly the most indispensable is the mat, in case you cannot buy it in general in yoga classes several are provided; another useful tool is the yoga block that is excellent for beginners it helps to perform some positions that are still too difficult. Finally, the yoga belt is also very useful, which allows beginners to perform certain poses. While you do not need tools for the pranayama practices, you might need guided instructions for some meditations.

Useful tips

Starting to practice yoga creates a noticeable change in the body it increases its flexibility and concentration. Everything is in its time! You are a beginner, many sequences seem impossible at first glance, the important thing is to remember that there is no rush: an exercise will not succeed the first time and not even the second, and maybe the third will go better. There is no need to exaggerate, yoga must be a moment of peace and tranquility with your body, nothing compares to others, stay focused on yourself and your breath.

Keep these three words in mind when you start practicing yoga:

– Calm down

– Concentrate

– Balance

Yoga is for everyone!

We just need to find the right style and teacher for us, who adapts to this moment of our life (and it doesn’t always happen on the first try!).

I want to emphasize the phrase “this moment” because as you have already learned, Yoga is an experience through you.

And being yourself in constant flux, it is normal for the practice to change and keep up with you as well.

There is no need to feel guilty if at some point in your life you feel you want to change a certain style that you have always practiced.

The same thing goes for the teacher: there are times when one teacher will resonate more, and at other times another. It is perfectly normal and right that this is the case, one doesn’t need to remain attached to a single teacher or a single style for life.

Yoga always puts you to the test, which is why inner listening is so important.

We just need to be able to choose and assimilate what we need to make it ours and continue on our path.

Online or live lessons?

If you can’t find a suitable course in your city, you can experience the practice through online lessons.

Again, I recommend a course that is as basic as possible for beginners.

Yoga classes online

The face-to-face lesson is important because the teacher can correct you, but from the point of view of building a habit, it is also very useful to practice at home through video lessons.

If you listen to your body, warm up well before starting and practice a fairly quiet yoga style (such as Hatha) by listening carefully to the directions given, it is practically impossible to get hurt! Try to live your yoga practice as a journey to take one step at a time, one breath and you will fully immerse into an amazing explorative experience into the self, mind-body, and soul. 

About the Author

Picture of Sanjeev Yadav, M.A. Yoga, P.G. Psych., DNHE
Sanjeev Yadav, M.A. Yoga, P.G. Psych., DNHE

Mr. Sanjeev is a yoga professional specializing in applied yoga, psychology, and human excellence with over more than 8 years of experience as a health and life coach, well-being trainer, and psycho-yogic counselor. He is completing his Ph.D. dissertation in Yoga.

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