Most images of yogis feature intense poses of unbelievable strength and flexibility. But no one starts out that way, even and especially the greats. It takes years of practice to get to their level, but everyone has to start somewhere. Yoga may appear to be intimidating at first, but by starting your practice gently and gradually working your way up, you'll be surprised at how much progress you can make in just a few months, even weeks.
Flexibility and Strength are not Prerequisites
Consistency is key, so even a beginner class that shows you the basic poses and alignments can work wonders if practiced on a regular basis. It is a common misconception that only very flexible people can do yoga. On the contrary, anyone can build his or her flexibility through the consistent practice of yoga.
Accompanying this is the building of strength. A well-balanced practice should make you both more flexible and stronger than ever before. Sometimes it doesn't even matter how skilled you are in these areas to begin with - yoga requires a specific kind of foundational knowledge, developing balance and concentration along the way, and this can be taught to anyone in a fun and accessible manner. Slowly but surely, you'll begin to notice improvements in your body, increasing cardiovascular endurance, strength, and displaying an greater range of motion. Through beginner yoga, benefits of yoga will be revealed, so that one becomes capable of achieving the more challenging poses.
The Importance of Being Dedicated
But you have to take that first step. Perhaps it will seem next to impossible to be able to reach your hands to your toes or to bind behind your back, but you will get there. It takes a lot of patience and certainly you will face some hindrances that will put you out of commission for some time, such as the occasional injury when you push yourself too hard or attempted a pose incorrectly. This is why it is extra important to take your beginner yoga classes seriously. Even a gentle approach to yoga such as Hatha can be strenuous for some, and needs to be broken down properly in order to minimize risks and maximize benefits.
Regardless of age, gender or previous experience, yoga is a great way to exercise the mind, body and spirit. With an attentive teacher, an invigorating yet relaxing environment, and a positive state of mind, you can make leaps and bounds in your progress. Before you know it, basic poses like Lotus Pose (Padmasana) and the Warrior Poses (Vhirabhadrasana) and sequences like the Sun Salutations (Surya Namaskarahs) will become second nature, and you will subconsciously want to grow as a yogi and deepen your practice.