If you want to learn how to do yoga, you have several different ways to go about it. You can find instruction in class at local yoga studios or take an online course. You can also find yoga DVDs and spend an hour or so with a private instructor in your own home. And finally, you can learn how to do yoga in the privacy of your own home through the power of the Internet.
Stage One – Learn the Basics: instruct the novice student basic yoga fundamentals, including how to do some of the most common yoga positions, including standing or seated cross-legs (suvarna prasarita padottanasana), standing or seated shoulderstand (priloka sarvangasana), and lying straight (priloka asana). This is a “generic” class on the first level, which will get you a good foundation on which to build. But this is not enough. You must understand and know how to do each pose correctly in order to strengthen your core muscles. At the end of this stage of learning how to do yoga, you will have developed your inner strength, and your flexibility. And with that you will be ready to proceed to the next stage.
Stage Two – Core Stability and Strength: As the beginner, you need to develop your core stability and strength first. This means that you should focus on keeping your body straight, maintaining proper spinal alignment (neck straight, back straight, etc. ), and maintaining proper posture. The purpose of this stage is to familiarize you with these three movements, and enable you to move your body more functionally. We will discuss vinyasa, flow, and Ashtanga yoga later on.
In this stage, you should learn and master the following basic postures: triangle, half-moon, plank (both forward and backward), half-moon, back bend (both forward and backward), child’s pose (downward dog), forward fold (inclined), bow, and tree (downward triangle, forward fold, backward bow). This beginner ‘how to do yoga’ guide is going to be packed full of information, visuals, music, poses, and tips to help you progress efficiently. It’s the perfect place to start if you are just getting started with yoga. There is even an audio commentary by experienced yogi David Sears and registrar Phoebe Tetra.
Stage Three – Core Stability and Strength: As the third stage, you will move on to teaching students how to achieve core stability and strength. For this third stage, we have added a new audio to the beginning of this yoga fundamentals series, which comes from certified yoga instructor, David Sears. David Sears has years of experience as a teacher and instructor trainer, both in the United States and Canada. He is a leading authority on theater yoga, or straight yoga, lineage. His audio is full of important tips to help you get your practice off to a great start.
Stage Four – The Power of Vinyasa and Flow: The fourth and final part of this beginner yoga fundamentals guide for beginners focuses on the power of vinyasa and flow. I like to think of vinyasa as light yoga, because it gets its kicks from the transitions between poses. (Check out the vinyasa and flow DVD by Joseph Grinder.) Vinyasa and flow work really well with breath awareness and progressive relaxation. I like it for its accessibility, and because it can open up a whole new world of learning for beginners.
As part of our three-part breath awareness series, this final part focuses on mastering the art of ujjayi breathing. This is the yoga mantra used most often in sanctoral yoga practices, and even in some contemporary styles of Kundalini Yoga. (Check out the free vinyasa DVD by Joseph Grinder.) ujjayi breathing is a powerful tool for finding stability, health, and more, and it’s important to learn at least a little bit about this breathing style before getting into more advanced poses.
Those are the basics of this beginner yoga fundamentals guide for beginners. There is quite a bit more to know about bandhas, vinyasa, and ujjayi breathing, but this is a great place to start. The final section of this three-part yoga fundamentals series on how to do yoga with bandhas focuses on using them to set the stage for finding inner wholeness and stability and to help you become more aware of your own body. If you’re looking for more information on these and other topics related to yoga, please check out the rest of our yoga fundamentals series.