Yoga for Beginners – Everything You Need to Know Before You Start
Yoga for Beginners – Everything You Need to Know Including A Complete Beginners Yoga Routine To Get You Started
For many, the thought of yoga seems like this alternative practice where you need to be a certain stereotype for it to be of any use. However, yoga can immensely improve your life, both mentally and physically no matter your fitness, weight, shape or ability.
Sometimes the hardest step is just making that first move. It is easy to create obstacles and excuses as to why we don’t start now or why yoga isn’t for us. The truth is there is no better time than right now for you to begin. Yes, right now. You can do yoga in what you are wearing if you choose. The fact that you are reading this means your curiosity is there and you have already begun your journey. So keep reading and at the end I will guide you through a 20 minute introductory yoga class.
The beauty of yoga isn’t necessarily about burning calories and doing flash backbends. Instead it’s about bringing movement to your body to help build energy, and creating intention and mindfulness to your day. Yoga to me isn’t about what you do and how you look, instead, it’s about how you feel. Yoga helps you become the ultimate version of yourself.
There are many different styles of yoga and every teacher has their own unique style also. So if you have had a bad experience in the past, it just might not have been the right timing or style you prefer.
How do I know if yoga is for me?
Yoga has many different styles and is accessible to everyone. It does not matter how you look, how old you are, how flexible or how fit you are. Yoga helps you build stamina, fitness and suppleness in a gentle way. It’s great if you are recovering from injury with the right alternatives in place. Start with a gentle class until you feel ready to move onto something more challenging.
Why should I do yoga? The Benefits of Yoga
Practising yoga has some incredible health benefits:
- Improve and maintain the health of muscles, joints and organs
- Teaches you more mindfulness
- Improves sleep quality
- Improve performance and endurance
- Helps prevent injuries in sports
- Speed recovery from training
- Improves detoxification and blood flow
- Prevent conditions such as diabetes, heart disease and auto-immune disorders
- Helps improve mental clarity
- Improves your sense of happiness and well being
Yoga is a style of movement that helps improve your physical well-being through improved strength, stability, stamina, balance, coordination and posture.
Yoga is also a discipline that improves your mental and emotional wellness through de-stressing, relaxation and clarity of thought.
The best way to know if yoga is right for you is to try it. Visit a studio in person, or try my Yoga Routine for Complete Beginners video on this page.
What do I need for my 1st Beginner Yoga Class?
Yoga is done barefoot and on a yoga mat. This helps you perform the poses without slipping and creates a space for you turn up to and let the stresses of the world melt away. Ideally, you want to be wearing clothes you can move freely in without restriction. It doesn’t matter how you look. Yoga teaches us to leave our ego at the door, so wear clothing that makes you smile and feel good.
Some styles of yoga have additional equipment such as straps and blocks. Often the studio will provide these if they use them in their classes. However you don’t need any of these items to get started and if you practice at home these items can often be replaced with small towels, belts or cushions.
One piece of equipment that would improve your experience is a yoga mat. Find one you like the look of and is anti-slip. Mats come in all shapes, quality and sizes. If you don’t have one now though, you can still make a start today by just using a towel on the floor.
What do I need to know before doing my first class?
If you are heading to a studio, then you want to ensure you arrive nice and early. Then you can ask the instructor any questions or queries you might have and also find yourself a corner or spot in the room where you feel the most comfortable. If you are doing it online with me, then you can do it of course at any time and any stage in the day that suits you. There is no right or wrong time, just the time in which you can make it happen. Your body always feels different at different times of the day. Some people prefer to do a yoga session early in the morning to get the body moving gently, while others prefer to unwind at the end of the day to help them sleep. The time that you choose will be just perfect for you.
Every instructor has their own unique style. Some will focus on the physical alignment side, while others focus more on breathing and meditation. Some will be more hands-on making adjustments to your pose, while others won’t.
If you go to a class and you really don’t like it, don’t write it off altogether as it could have just been the style or simply a personality that didn’t resonate with you. I had terrible experiences my first few times and it wasn’t until I found the style of teaching and the instructor I loved that I grew to appreciate the power yoga could have.
Yoga is meant to be a place where you can focus on you, where you feel comfortable and at ease. A place without judgement or ego and a place you can go at your own pace. I guess this is why I love doing yoga in the comfort of my own home and sharing it with you. It means you can truly focus on the true essence of yoga without distractions.
The key to your yoga is that you go at your own pace. Listen to the directions and learn the poses as you go. You certainly don’t need to remember any of them, but the more you do it, the more familiar they will become and you might then surprise yourself when you start recognising the names.
Does Yoga Help With Weight Loss?
As I mentioned above, yoga can come in many styles and forms. Some yoga can certainly be more intense and strength-based, while lifting your heart rate to improve stamina and cardiovascular fitness. Some styles of yoga can be more relaxing to help you de-stress and unwind and relax. Weight loss is unique to everyone.
For you to lose weight effectively, it starts with creating more wellness in your life (see my definition of wellness for more on this). For some, they need to find movement that is more gentle and nourishing to help the body let go of the weight and find more balance in their stressful lives. While others need to have more intense workouts or yoga that really challenges them.
We are all unique and yoga can definitely play a powerful role in helping you to lose weight and build more wellness in your life. That’s why it plays a powerful part in my Wheel of Wellness philosophy.
Which style of yoga to do first?
There are a few styles of yoga out there and the best place to begin is with beginners class. Here is a quick overview of some of the more common styles.
Hatha is generally more gentle and spends more time in each pose, that being said many styles of all about the basics in these slower moving classes that require you to hold each pose for a few breaths. In most cases, hatha classes are considered a gentler form of yoga.
This is a dynamic practice that links movement and breath together in a flowing style. In most classes, you won’t linger long in each pose and the pace can be quicker. This style often gets your heart rate up and in some studios, they may use music to match the intensity of the class.
This is a more challenging yoga, that typically consists of six series of specifically sequenced yoga poses, you’ll flow and breathe through each pose to build internal heat. You may find that you end up performing the same poses in the exact same order in each class.
If you want to calm and balance your body and mind, this is where you’ll find your zen. The opposite of a faster moving practice like Ashtanga, poses are held for several minutes at a time. This meditative practice is designed to target your deeper connective tissues and fascia restoring length and elasticity.
A mellow, slow-moving practice with longer holds gives your body a chance to tap into your parasympathetic nervous system, allowing you to experience deeper relaxation. You may also use a variety of props including blankets, bolsters and yoga blocks to fully support your body in each pose.
Bikram consists of a specific series of 26 poses and two breathing exercises practised in a room heated to approximately 105 degrees and 40 per cent humidity. All Bikram studios practice the same 90-minute sequence so you’ll know exactly what to do once you unroll your mat. Remember, the vigorous practice combined with the heat can make the class feel strenuous.
What style do I teach?
Well, I teach a variety of different styles and within the online gym, we have programs that have more of a powerful feel to them, while others are more yin and restorative. So there is a style to suit everyone and even a complete beginners program to help you establish a good routine.
How often should I do yoga?
Ideally, try and find a routine that you can maintain, humans love pattern and routine. So schedule it into your diary where you can and repeat that weekly. Aim if you can to do it 3 or more times per week. This will help you to see more significant improvements in flexibility, joint range of motion, strength, balance, ability to manage stress, quality of sleep, happiness and overall wellness. Practising a beginner yoga routine once or twice per week is a great place to start and will help you establish a good routine. Then look to find small challenges and improvements by increasing the duration and then making one of those yogas more demanding for you like the ones we have in the Online Gym.
Consistency and routine are crucial Commit to a routine you can maintain, that isn’t overly demanding and you can be successful at.
Beginner Yoga Poses To Start With
Child’s Pose helps to stretch the hips, thighs, and ankles while reducing stress and fatigue. It gently relaxes the muscles on the front of the body while softly and passively stretching the muscles of the back torso.
Start on all fours and join your feet together, with your knees wide. The sit back onto your heels with your hands stretching forward. Let your forehead rest on the floor and focus on your breathing.
Seated Hamstring Stretch
Your hamstrings, a group of three muscles in the back of your thigh, run from your pelvis to your knee. These can commonly get tight from lots of sitting. So stretching them out consistently can be really beneficial to help keep lower back and hips healthy.
Sitting on the floor, tuck one foot into your groin while the other one straightens out. Sit evenly on both seat bones and then reach towards your feet and hold where you find comfortable. Think about drawing your ribs towards your thighs and lengthening your back as you fold forward towards your toes.
Baby Cobra Pose
This pose is great to help loosen up the back and open up the chest. It helps to stimulate the abdominal organs, improving digestion. An energizing backbend, Cobra reduces stress and fatigue. It also firms and tones the shoulders, abdomen, and buttocks, and helps to ease the pain of sciatica.
Place your hands underneath your shoulders and roll your shoulder back and think of drawing them down towards your tailbone. Lengthen the back of your neck and look down. Then gently press through your hands as you keep drawing shoulders back and down. Feel this through the muscles of the upper back.
The Yoga Mindset
The heart of yoga is to encourage you to connect with your body in a meaningful way. For example, focusing on our breath and where this goes teaches us how to be more present and focused. It teaches us how to relax under stressful situations such as challenging poses in which you want to run away from. The art of facing those challenges is a skill you can apply to life with a calm and steady mind. These are incredible skills to nurture in the modern, fast paced life we lead.
Yoga goal is self-understanding and as you spend more time doing yoga, you will likely dig deeper into the layers that make up who you are as a person and teach yourself how to be that better version of yourself.
Yoga Routine For Complete Beginners
As promised included is your first yoga routine you can try alongside me (scroll to top of page to see video). Remember the best time to start is now and please don’t feel it has to be perfect. I personally used to find it so hard to really enjoy yoga. What got me turning up for more was how I felt at the end of it.
I encourage you to give this a try. Don’t worry if you feel awkward and can’t quite do everything. It’s your journey and the beauty of doing it at home is no-one is watching. Just have a go and appreciate how good it makes you feel afterwards.
I hope this has given you a better understanding of the amazing benefits of yoga to your wellness. Too often we think exercise has to be intense, and if it’s not, then there is no point. However, I come from a place of wellness. Creating wellness in your life is about finding that balance between movement that builds your energy and movement that uses your energy. This is why yoga can play such a powerful part in your wellness journey.
For more beginners workouts and how you can build more wellness in your life in a sustainable way, check out our Online Gym here.