Are you interested in trying yoga and just not sure where to begin? Are you stressed to the max and just looking for a healthy way to decrease stress and anxiety? Have you been promising yourself you would give yoga a try? Need some tips on where or how to begin your own yoga practice?
This post is for the ABSOLUTE BEGINNER YOGI.
Read on for my tips on how to begin a simple yoga practice, where to go to get starter yogi equipment, a few key beginner poses and the benefits of each pose. Plus a mantra / poem.
- Just START.
The beautiful thing about yoga is you don’t need much of anything to get started. You can just start. If you insist on purchasing a mat, you don’t have to break that bank on a super expensive yoga mat. You can go to your local FiveBelow, TJ Maxx/Marshall, Target, Walmart, whatever store and buy an inexpensive mat that is both durable and pretty. You may also be tempted to purchase a strap and a block to help you get into more complicated moves, but these are no necessary for your practice.
- Start Slow.
One thing different about yoga than from any workout you’ve ever done is, its a slow burn. If you’re anything like me, coming from sprinting/fast-twitch muscle workouts, it may seem boring. At first, it will legit feel like you are just stretching on your yoga mat. But yoga is so much more than that. Each time you practice you should be setting an intention. It could be to focus, reduce stress, or to build muscle. But you should be intentional about what you are doing every time you workout, yoga included.
- Focus on your breath.
Yoga is therapeutic for both your mind and body. Those who practice yoga boast more peace and serenity and less stress and anxiety. As you practice, find your strength and hold each post for at least 3 strong breaths. Instead of focusing on how your body is contorting focus instead on your breathing. Take a long deep breath in and imagine you are emptying your lungs of all the air and your body of tension. As you inhale, breathe in the fresh air along with relief and fluidity. Next empty your lungs, this time imagining you are releasing worry, doubt, and depression with your hot air. As you inhale breathe in confidence, security, and joy. As you take your final of 3 deep breaths, breathe out sickness and pain. Take a long deep breath of healing, wellness, and serenity.
- Hold It!
To get the full benefits from your practice: long, lean and strong muscles you have to HOLD IT! As an absolute beginner, you may not be able to hold each pose for the expected 1-5 minutes. That is ok. Just start from where you are. First, try to hold each pose for a minimum of 3 breaths. The next time you return to the mat, try to increase the hold time of each pose by one of two more breaths. As you continue with your practice you will realize how quickly your hold times and strength increase.
- Take Pics.
Take tons of pictures. You are gonna want to see how powerful you look. I recommend finishing your practice before you set up shop to take pictures. But use the self-timer on your smartphone to snap a photo of you as you make your first, fifth and 25th attempt at a pose. You will be surprised at what your body can learn from a little persistence.
This is one of the easiest seated poses, especially for beginners. Likely because we have been practicing sitting criss-cross-applesauce since Kindergarten. The Easy Pose is one of the first poses I do every morning and evening when I wake and before I go to bed. This pose allows you to just sit and meditate for as long as you feel comfortable. It lengthens the back and calms the mind. The added meditation helps to cure the mental tiredness and encourages me to sit tall; reminding me to stay grounded in my purpose. Simply sit on your mat, folding your legs in to cross near the ankles.
The Bound Angle
This is one of the best hip opener poses. This pose should be avoided if you have knee or groin injuries. It can be modified to release the tension on the lower back and inner thighs. This pose stimulates the prostate gland and the kidneys, improves blood circulation, relieves mild depression and stretches the knees. It also relieves the menopausal symptoms and soothes sciatica. From the Easy Pose reach your hands forward, bending at the hips. Hold as long as you are comfortable.
Easy Pose With A Twist
This pose is a half spinal twist variation. This pose tones the abs opens up the neck and shoulders and energizes the spine. It releases extra heat from your organs and increases the oxygen supply to your lungs. From the Bound Angle pose, come back up to Easy Pose. Then reach your left arm behind your head and your right arm in front bending at the hips. Hold as long as you are comfortable. Focus on keeping your spine aligned and deep even breathes.
This is a pose that just looks like a butterfly flapping its wings. You just need to flap away and hold in this pose for 1 to 5 minutes. It also treats stomach pain and weakness while protecting from diabetes. Come back up to Easy Pose. Next place your feet sole to sole, massaging the arches to improve overall flexibility. Pull your pelvis as close to your feet as possible and flap.
Seated Forward Bend
This pose looks a lot more comfortable than it really is. In fact, it can be challenging to hold your head to knees unless you’re extremely flexible. To practice and build up to the flexibility you may want to incorporate the use of straps. If you do not have straps reach as far as you can and hold yourself in position for 30 seconds to 1 minute. Grab your knees or shins to stabilize you. This Seated Forward Bend releases stress and tension and reduces abdominal fat eliminating irritability and anger. It also improves spine flexibility and balances the menstrual cycle.
Head to Knee
Similar to the Seated Forward Bend, the Head To Knee pose looks a lot like a track stretch. This commonly used seated meditation pose also strengthens the spine, stretches hips, thighs, and hamstrings. It also relieves anxiety, stress and mild depression along with improving blood circulation. It also eases menstruation and increases blood circulation in the pelvic area. From the Seated Forward Bend, pull one leg in so that that sole of your foot and inner thigh are forming the shape of the number four. Next engaging the core, reach out to meet your head at your knee. You may alter this pose with a strap if you are not flexible enough to reach your foot.
As the name says this is a child pose and it is a resting pose. You need to hold in this position for at least 30 seconds to 1 minute. Prefer doing it at the onset of completion of your practice. As your practice gets longer, consider putting the Child Pose in the middle of your workout for a short active rest. It helps in relieving fatigue, anxiety, and stress. In addition to these, it also helps in digestion and elimination. It treats neck pain and back pain too.
Extended Puppy Pose
This pose is a cross between downward facing dog and child’s pose. It lengthens the spine and also calms the mind. There are many other benefits of this pose such as relieving tension, insomnia and also reducing the symptoms of chronic stress. I like to follow the Child Pose with the Extended Puppy Pose because it increases relaxation and serenity and decreases stress and anxiety. It also lengthens and stretches the spine and aids in flexibility of ankles, shoulders, and hips. To achieve this pose from the Child Pose, reach your arms over top your head extend your hips upward and stretch your back. Try holding for up to one minute.
The diamond pose is best to do it at the completion of your practice. It is known to be a beginner level yoga pose and allows you to finish strong. Sit in the position for about 5 to 10 minutes. In addition to aiding in digestion, it also reduces fat stored in the hips. It helps to relax your body and fight stomach problems. It also cures urinary problems and increases the flexibility of your lower body. From the Extended Puppy Pose rest your weight back on your ankles and sit in an upright position. As you complete your practice focus on the intentions you set at the beginning.
There you have it Damsels. 5 Tips. 9 Poses. 1 Mantra.
Be bold. Live out loud & as always remember,
My mantra today:
I did it!
Today I did it for me. I did it for all those times I had an anxiety attack heading to work. I did it for the times I was hating life knowing I was TOO BIG for the small space allotted for me. I did it for those times I had to humble myself and do someone else’s work, just for money. I did it for my pending court case. I did it to honor my body. I did it to worship the Lord in all Her grace.
But most of all I did it for me. #Namaste #NoDistress #Yoga #BendButDontBreak #StressReleif #AnxietyReduction