Whether you’ve been doing yoga for some time now or you are wanting to start, yoga is such a great form of practice that is not only beneficial for your body, but for your mind and soul. If you are just beginning or considering starting, you may have a few questions regarding yoga. Throughout this blog, I hope to answer some of the questions you may have along with a few exercises at the end.
What is Yoga?
Yoga comes from the Sanskrit word yuj, which means to yoke or bind and is usually defined as a method of discipline. Yoga is a form of practice that helps unite both the body and mind together. I never knew how long yoga has been around until I looked up. It is believed that yoga has been practiced for 5,000 years and others have argued that is has been around for 10,000 years. It’s truly incredible!
How many times per week should I do yoga and for how long?
Yoga is a such a great form of practice to incorporate into your workout. If you are just starting, you can practice yoga 2 to 3 times per week for an hour. If you are a busy person like the rest of us are, even if you practice for at least 20 minutes once a week, you will still be consuming the benefits that comes from yoga.
What are the benefits?
Yoga benefits your body mentally and physically. The mental benefits of yoga are that it helps improves body awareness, reduces anxiety and stress, creates clarity for your mind, sharpens your attention and concentration, and it calms and centers the nervous system. The physical benefits of yoga are it helps muscle strain, increases flexibility, increases muscle tone and strength, improves your cardio and circulatory health, increases energy, and helps maintain a balanced metabolism.
Do I have to be flexible and in shape to do yoga?
If you are not flexible nor in shape, you can most definitely still do yoga! Many people think that you must be super flexible and in really good shape to do yoga. I was one of those people that thought that from the beginning. As you continue to do yoga, you will begin to see that yoga will start to help you become more flexible, it will help strengthen your muscle tone, and can reduce weight.
What do I need before beginning yoga?
The only thing you will really need to practice yoga is your mind, body, and soul. No shoes are required since you will be barefoot, and you will need a yoga mat for a little added cushion when on the floor. It is also great to have a good pair of leggings/yoga pants or shorts along with a sports bra, t-shirt, or tank top. If you tend to sweat, you can have a hand towel with you.
Can I eat beforehand?
Yes, you can eat beforehand, but just like any other workout, it is best to eat 2-3 hours prior to doing yoga. Because you are doing poses that require bending, stretching, twists, and turns, you will not have enough time to digest your food if you eat beforehand which will cause you to start feeling sick. However, if you feel that you will get hungry or feel weak during yoga, you may consume a very light snack such as nuts or yogurt 30 minutes prior.
Do I need to attend a yoga classes or can I do it at home?
You do not need to attend yoga classes in order to practice yoga. Yoga is such a great workout that you can do in the comfort of your home, at the park, or any place you may feel at peace.
What are some beginner poses I can do?
Now comes the best part, the exercises! Remember, just like any other workout, pay attention to your alignment and listen to your body. If you are feeling any sort of pain, you can either stop or lighten up your stretch during the pose, depending on how you are feeling. Don’t forget to breathe. Below are a few poses that you can do in the comfort of your own home, even when you get out of bed.
The Mountain pose is a fairly simple one that is still benefiting your mind and body. It may seem like you’re not doing a whole lot since you are standing, but there are several things you need to pay attention to when it comes to doing this pose. The benefits of this pose are it helps improve your body posture, alignment, and strengthens your legs. For step-by-step instructions, click here.
Raised Arms Pose
This pose is one that we may catch ourselves doing during a stretch when seated or when we get out of bed. It is a full body stretch that strengthens your legs and improves your posture. For step-by-step instructions, click here.
Standing Forward Bend
The forward bend is a great exercise if you are in sports or work out a lot. It helps strengthen and loosen your hamstrings and calves. It is also used to help relax you, reduce any stress you may have, and is even known to help relieve insomnia. For step-by step instructions, click here.
Seated Forward Bend
The seated forward bend is the same exact post as the standing forward bend, but it is done in a seated position. It gives your back a good stretch beginning from the calves all the way to your spine. The benefits are the same as the standing forward bend plus it helps open your hips. For step-by-step instructions, click here.
These beginner poses are just a few that you can try as you become more comfortable with doing yoga. There are so many poses you can do in the comfort of your own home. Before the pandemic started, we get so busy with our daily lives, that doing yoga makes it much more convenient to do in the comfort of your own home. Do research and look up videos on yoga for beginners that you can use as step-by-step visual. You can also attend a beginner’s class, once you feel more comfortable going out, so you can learn a variety of yoga poses by the instructor.
As a reminder, don’t forget to listen to your body and refrain from doing any poses that may cause extreme pain. Keep it light at the beginning until you become more comfortable and flexible. If needed, please consult with your physician before starting.
Namaste my friends.