Beginners Yoga 101 – What You Need To Know
Article by Joshua Killingsworth
Yoga for beginners is a great way to exercise. It can be performed almost anywhere, without the need for any special equipment, and you can be any age or at any fitness level. You can choose to take yoga either at home or at a studio. Regardless of your location, choose a quiet place where you will not be distracted. You will need a blanket, towel or mat to sit on for comfort, but you will not need any other specific equipment, especially as a beginner.
Choose to wear something comfortable, such as sweat clothes, shorts or a leotard, but you do not need special “yoga clothing.” All clothing chosen should be loose fitting and stretchy. Yoga is traditionally practiced in bare feet, but you can also wear socks or a soft style of shoes if you prefer.
Start your yoga session with some easy stretching positions, before you move into more challenging positions. Never do any movements that are painful, and always pause between strenuous poses or when you are fatigued. You can get results with only fifteen minutes of yoga stretches combined with fifteen minutes of breathing exercises and meditation.
Remember when practicing yoga that you are not only striving for a particular position, but also a focus on the act of movement and an awareness of your breathing. Yoga movements should always be relaxing and smooth, and you should avoid positions that strain your muscles or cause pain. Although you are trying to achieve particular positions, technique is more important than perfection.
When beginning your yoga session, begin with an easy pose, and perform a short meditation, which will assist you as you internalize your focus and work to center yourself. Next, do some warm-up exercises to get started. If you are a beginner, you might choose to do mainly warm-up exercises during your first few yoga sessions. By doing warm-up exercises, you will loosen up your muscles. A good warm-up exercise for beginners involves bending your neck forward, right, back, and left, with a return to the original position between movements. You might also choose to do shoulder lifts and shoulder stretches, and the cat position is also a good choice. The cat position is performed by getting down on all fours, arching your back toward the floor, while exhaling. You will then arch your back upwards like a cat.
Do some finishing poses to cool down when you are finished with your yoga session. A good choice for ending your session is shavasana. Start by lying on your back, then let your legs and arms drop open, with your arms approximately 45 degrees from your sides. This is performed with eyes closed, and you will breathe deeply and slowly through your nose. Then, allow your whole body to relax and sink into the floor, while concentrating on the sensation of your body rising and falling with each breath. Continue this until you reach a state of complete relaxation. Maintain this position for five to fifteen minutes, and then complete it by slowly starting to move and stretching the areas of the body, then bending your knees to your chest, rolling over to one side, and then inhaling and sitting up.
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