In yoga terminology, the term “yoga for beginners” is actually a misnomer. Yes, yoga for beginners may sound like a new-age advertisement for some exotic form of exercise, but yoga is an ancient system of postures and relaxation that has been around for thousands of years. Yoga for beginners simply means learning a new set of yoga poses and being introduced to the meditative aspect of the discipline. Breathing is a large component of yoga. Therefore, anyone looking to learn yoga should learn to breathe properly.
The goal of yoga is to intertwine the mind, body and spirit, so the first thing you should do is relax your entire body. Beginners should look to yoga classes for instruction on how to relax your shoulders, neck and back, and stretch the muscles of your legs and buttocks. You want to create a comfortable space in which you can focus only on the present moment.
As you become more competent with your breathing techniques, you will be able to modify your yoga session to fit your needs. If you find yourself having to hold your breath for long periods, or feel as though you are too tense to perform certain poses, you may want to try taking a few yoga classes instead. If you are accustomed to performing hot yoga, especially when first starting out, you may want to tone your muscles before starting a vigorous yoga routine. Beginners should always begin with milder forms of yoga such as bikram yoga or hot yoga.
Another way to tone your muscles and prepare yourself for advanced yoga is to learn a few yin yoga poses. The yin yoga poses are gentle and slow, and help you develop strength in your muscles, particularly those of the back. This strength carries over into your next class, making it easier for you to continue with a relaxed mind.
Another aspect of yoga practice yoga for beginners is to make sure that you stretch properly before and after each class. Stretching can keep muscles loose and reduce the risk of injury. Beginners may be tempted to skip stretching, but this is a bad idea. Doing too much stretching can lead to an ache in the back, legs, or buttocks. It can also cause muscles to tight and sore.
Another way to stretch before you go to class is to breathe deeply and slowly. Breathing in through your nose while moving your lower half to the front of your body, like you’re blowing out the candles on a birthday cake, will stretch the back of your neck and upper shoulders. Breathing out through your mouth while raising your right leg straight up will stretch your hamstrings. Begin your yoga practice by doing one of these two stretches.
Your clothes will be helpful throughout your yoga class, but you should still shower as soon as you get home so that your skin is clean and moisturized. You should also dress comfortable, but not too tight. Yoga poses and positions do not require you to wear any special clothing. Anything that does not restrict your movement will not be suitable for yoga poses or positions.
After your instructor shows you which pose to do for each hand (ie., the Upward Facing Dog), you will be asked to sit in a chair with your feet together and place both of your hands on the floor at shoulder width apart. You will then be allowed to shift your weight to your feet and slowly lean backward as far as you comfortably can. Repeat the pose three times, stopping once you feel your hips begin to move. You can modify this pose for the legs by bending your knees and putting your feet together.