Maybe at the beginning of the year you set out to start doing sports, specifically yoga. Or maybe you just started in the yogi world, you are a little lost and do not know how to continue and create a practice routine. If you feel identified with any of these statements, pay attention because we are going to guide you.
Many people are attracted to yoga because of the physical benefits, but as we saw in our post about the benefits of yoga, this activity provides a lot of wellness on a mental level: it helps in stress management, anxiety control or being aware of the moment, among other benefits.
Type of yoga most recommended for beginners
You may have heard of different types of yoga: Hatha, Vinyasa, Asthanga, Acroyoga, Bikram, ... These are different styles of physical yoga, which are usually variants of Hatha, the traditional yoga. Nowadays there are different types of practice: some passive, such as Yin or Restorative yoga; slow, such as Hatha, Sivanda or Iyengar; or more active types of yoga such as Kundalini or Ashtanga.
In the XV century, the sage Swami Swatmarama compiled Hatha Yoga Pradipika, describing six yoga limbs to achieve connection with oneself. This is why Hatha Yoga is also known as Shatanga Yoga (six-limbed yoga). Hatha Yoga focuses on purifying the body in order to purify the mind; and the purification of both are essential to be healthy -understanding this as the main objective of yoga, since only then you can have the best vehicle for your spiritual development.
To begin with, we advise you to try Hatha Yoga, since it deals with the different asanas or postures in a slow way, subjecting you to work the strength in an isometric way. In addition, it is a basic practice, suitable for all ages, gentle and easily adaptable to beginners. With it you will be able to learn the details of the different postures and adjust the body to achieve the correct alignment.
Another benefit of starting with Hatha Yoga is that it is usually the most practiced yoga style in sports centers and gyms, so it will be easier for you to create a practice routine.
Frequency of yoga practice
If you have never practiced yoga, your body will have to get used to a series of new movements and gain flexibility, your muscles will work differently! Therefore, it is very important that you give your body time to rest, and that your muscles have the correct recovery time; therefore, to get started, you can start practicing yoga 2 or 3 days a week. Keep in mind to practice in a spaced way, attending classes -either virtual or face-to-face- alternately.
If you cannot attend classes, or in order to create a habit, you can encourage yourself to practice the Sun Salutation sequence every morning for 10 to 15 minutes. This is an easy-to-learn sequence of postures that will help you stretch and tone your body, an ideal way to start your day with energy!
Always keep in mind that practicing yoga and deepening your breathing, awareness in the moment or in yourself takes time, so be patient and practice regularly - this way you will get to learn the different asanas and sequences.
Basic material to start with
The most important element that cannot be missing in your yoga practice is the mat (or yoga mat). This will be the basis of your practice, it will serve to cushion your movements and will also help you to stabilize yourself - therefore, we recommend that you choose a non-slip mat. Your mat will be with you for a long time, so choose one made of resistant materials and easily transportable, so you can practice wherever you want!
Other materials that can help you, not only at the beginning, but later to practice certain postures or in your stretches are: yoga blocks, straps, the zafu cushion or the yoga wheel. These elements will help you to make the postures more accessible, helping you to gain flexibility, stability and correct your alignment when performing the different movements.
Of course, we recommend that you choose comfortable clothing for your practices, made of breathable fabrics that act like a second skin - tighter fitting clothes can help your teacher to correct your postures more effectively. Also, the better the garments fit your figure, the easier it will be for you to concentrate on your practice rather than on the movements of your clothes.
Normally, yoga is practiced barefoot, but if you feel more comfortable and confident, you can also choose to wear non-slip socks to avoid slips and falls that can lead to injury.
Tips to help you
Before you start your yoga practice, we want to give you some final tips:
- To create a habit of practice it is important that your classes are accessible, therefore, if you are looking for in-person classes, choose a center that is close to your home or work, as this way you will not make excuses. And if you are going to practice at home online, plan your week and set aside a fixed and specific time for your exercise.
- It is important that your teacher transmits good energy, peace and above all, makes you feel comfortable. So do not hesitate to try different classes and teachers to find the one that best suits your preferences.
- Like any sport, you can practice yoga in the morning or in the afternoon, but the important thing is not to feel heavy during the practice. Although this is a personal decision and depends on each body, you can practice yoga on an empty stomach or if you decide to eat before, leave at least two hours of margin to start your class.
- During your practice, concentrate on your breathing. The inhalations and exhalations mark the times of the different postures, practice calmly and consciously.
- Give yourself time, do not compare yourself with others. Yoga requires practice, little by little you will learn the asanas and develop flexibility, the important thing is to keep practicing!
We hope you are encouraged to start yoga and that these tips will make your initiation easier.