Whether you have already joined a yoga class or have bought a yoga for beginners DVD as a guide, it still wouldn't hurt to have some sort of a primer to the wonderful world of yogic practice. This is why we've put together a brief but helpful guide not just on yoga poses and how to do yoga, but also on the benefits of yoga and the simple yet often overlooked things like proper yoga clothes.
Yoga poses, or asanas, can be classified into different categories and performed for their specific physical and mental benefits. Don't be intimidated by the ads where you see yogis twist themselves into pretzel-like contortion - you will find that if you stick to a regular yoga routine, you may also reach that level of flexibility. But before that, you will have to go through series of asanas like Sun Salutations (Surya Namaskar), and do all types of poses including sitting, standing, inversion, and bends and twists.
Remember, it's normal to have difficulties doing yoga poses (even if they are the "basic" ones) if you're a first-timer. And not to worry, the process of attaining strength and flexibility, and calmer state of being is gradual, and in that sense, all the more rewarding. Yoga is not about speed. Don't force your body into positions if you feel pain and discomfort, and don't be embarrassed to call the attention of your yoga instructor when you need help. You should move and work at your own pace as your mind and body adapt and open themselves up to reaping the long-term benefits of practicing yoga.
This may seem superficial to some people, saying clothes are the least of their concerns when it comes to practicing yoga. However, you'd be surprised to know how a LOT of yoga newbies still show up at their yoga for beginners classes wearing clothes that are less than suitable for a yoga session. The key factors to remember when shopping for yoga clothes are: durability, comfort and fit, stretch, and sweat absorbing capacities. Of course, they also have to be affordable and within your budget, but we don't have to tell you that. Yoga should be about regaining calm, not adding financial stress.
It's also highly helpful to know which type of yoga you will be doing before you go shopping for clothes, because this will help you determine the cut and style of tops and bottoms that will work best for you. Those doing Hot Yoga may want to stick to sleeveless tops and short bottoms, to let heat escape the body faster. For the more strenuous and fast-paced types of yoga, we suggest you avoid too-loose bottoms because these can hinder your leg and foot movement.
Benefits of Yoga
Yes, we know this is an article on HOW to do yoga, not the benefits of yoga. BUT it wouldn't be right if we didn't devote a section to remind you WHY you made the choice of learning this ancient Indian practice. If you have been doing your research, we're pretty sure you already know that among the many benefits of yoga are increased flexibility, improved posture, toned muscles, and better stress management. But did you know that yoga also contributes to increased lung capacity, decreased menstrual pain and discomfort, more stamina, increased joint and muscle strength, and improved focus and concentration?
We can go on and on about the benefits of yoga, and the many reasons why yoga has remained wildly popular despite the large number of fitness workouts and meditational practices today. But we won't. You see, doing research and reading all about yoga will help prepare you for the experience, but the single most effective way to learn how to do yoga is still to simply get up and DO IT. So if you've decided you want to learn how to do yoga, then we suggest you stop reading and go find yourself the best yoga mat and the best yoga class nearest you so you can start being physically and mentally healthier.