Yoga Is for Everyone: Here's How to Get Started
Yoga is the ultimate form of exercise no matter what your age or physical fitness level. The mind-body practice doesn't require expensive equipment, can be performed practically anywhere, and offers mental and physical health benefits.
The Benefits of Yoga
Yoga is an excellent choice if you want to ease into fitness, try a new form of exercise, or become more flexible.
Improved flexibility isn't the only benefit of yoga. Making yoga part of your wellness routine decreases stress, strengthens the muscles that support your joints, improves posture and balance, keeps your bones strong, and improves sleep. Yoga can also reduce chronic pain, boost your energy, improve your heart health, and make it easier to maintain a healthy weight.
You're never too young or too old for yoga, as evidenced by the growing number of people embracing the practice. In fact, the number of Americans performing yoga has nearly doubled in the last 10 years, according to Yogi Times, which reports that 36 million people in the U.S. practice yoga regularly.
Are you worried that weight or flexibility issues could prevent you from performing yoga poses? Luckily, every pose can be modified to make yoga accessible for a variety of fitness levels.
Getting Started with Yoga
Watching a few yoga videos online will give you an overview of yoga and help you decide if you'd like to join a yoga class. Keep in mind that although videos tend to feature young, thin people, in-person yoga classes include a much more diverse group.
Classes at the yoga studio offer benefits you won't get when you practice yoga at home. Your yoga instructor will help you perfect your poses and ensure that your body is positioned correctly. Performing poses incorrectly can strain your muscles, joints, ligaments, and tendons and cause pain.
When you perform yoga in a class setting, you'll enjoy the support of your instructor and the class. Classmates aren't competitors, but enjoy encouraging and uplifting fellow students and creating a sense of camaraderie.
If you're a new yoga student, these tips will help you make the most of the experience:
- Practice Your Breathing. As you perform poses, inhale and exhale deeply. Yogic breathing calms the mind and helps you focus only on your poses. As you breathe deeply, you'll let go of worries and stress, allowing you to concentrate completely on your movements as you move from pose to pose. Combining yogic breathing with poses can be a little challenging at first. Luckily, you can practice your breathing practically anywhere.
- Set Realistic Goals. Like any type of exercise, it takes time to master advanced techniques in yoga. Although you won't be performing the handstand scorpion pose after a yoga class or two, you will be learning yoga poses and techniques that will strengthen your body and mind. Initially, you may set a goal to hold downward facing dog for 10 breaths or successfully integrate exhalations and inhalations with your movements. With practice, you'll improve your flexibility and stamina and can move on to more difficult poses.
- Use Yoga Props and Modifications. Props help you master yoga poses that are a little challenging. Straps extend your reach, while blocks placed under an arm or leg support your body, deepen stretches, and keep your body properly aligned. Using a yoga pillow or bolster can make it a little easier to perform the legs up the wall pose or provide back support while you perform the corpse and other poses.
- Try Chair Yoga. If you can't get down on the floor, chair yoga offers an excellent way to take advantage of the many benefits of yoga. While seated, you'll perform modified yoga poses that improve strength and flexibility, boost energy, and decrease stress. Chair yoga is also a good way to counteract the effects of sitting for hours at work. You'll feel refreshed and ready to tackle the rest of the day after a quick 5 or 10 minute chair yoga session.
Are you ready to try a yoga class? We'd love to welcome you to our studio. Let us know when you'd like to start your yoga journey, and we'll help you find the perfect yoga class.
Yogi Times: Yoga Industry Statistics, Facts, Demographics & Infographic, 4/19/2023
Very Well Fit: Yoga Myths: You Have to Be Flexible to Do Yoga, 3/17/2017
American Osteopathic Association: The Benefits of Yoga
Medical News Today: What Is Yogic Breathing? Benefits and How to Try It, 9/16/2022