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Your Beginners Guide to Practicing Yoga

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Your Beginners Guide to Practicing Yoga

If you’ve never practiced yoga before or you have and you didn’t really get on with it, perhaps now is the time to start or try again. Yoga has great benefits to our physical and mental wellbeing.

Physically, it helps to improve our flexibility and posture, which helps to improve our overall exercise performance and reduces our risk of injury. It also helps us increase our muscle strength and tone and improve our energy levels. On an emotional level, yoga helps to relieve stress, refocus our breathing and make us more alert and better able to concentrate. 

But if you’re new to yoga, then it can feel a bit daunting. If we search #yoga on Instagram for example, we’ll find thousands of images of lean yogis, performing headstands and the perfect downward dog. However, we don’t have to be anywhere near this perfect to gain the benefits of yoga. (And besides, doesn’t practice make perfect anyway?)

September is National Yoga Month so there’s no better time to explore yoga and how you could benefit from it. But how do you start?

It’s best to begin yoga by remembering that it’s an inclusive exercise that’s suitable for all body shapes and sizes. Take all the images of flexible, limber bodies out of your mind, and imagine yourself sitting peacefully and about to begin a yoga session.

Yoga doesn’t require any fancy equipment. All you need is a mat and something comfortable to wear. We recommend a pair of leggings and a top that allows freedom of movement. If you wear a loose fitting top, try tucking it in, at least at the front, so that it doesn’t fall over your face when you’re practicing some downward facing poses.

OYG yoga classes are ideal for beginners, because you can do them in the comfort of your own home without having to worry about what the person next to you is doing. You can even watch them through a few times before beginning, so that you get a feel for how each pose moves and flows into the next.

Breathing is important in yoga practice, as it helps in numerous ways. First, it helps us flow into each pose without risking injury. Most yoga teachers, online and off, will tell you when to breathe in and out, and soon it will become second nature.

The correct breathing technique will also allow you to move deeper into each pose. Imagine touching your toes whilst breathing in, and then whilst breathing out. Breathing out will allow you to reach further, and that’s a basic principle of yoga. Finally, breathing through yoga will help to intensify its benefits, especially to your mental wellness as being aware of your breath makes you more mindful and present.

It’s also important to remember that yoga isn’t about being super flexible. Instead, it’s about finding peace and enjoyment from your practice and finding stillness. Yoga is a process, and it isn’t a race to being able to perform a headstand.

So before you start, get rid of any expectations of what you ‘should’ be doing, and enjoy the peace and stillness that yoga brings. This might not come to start with either, but try to practice when your home is quiet and free from distraction, and enjoy the here and now.

We have classes for absolute beginners that will take you through each pose slowly and gently. The rest will come soon enough. 

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