The increasing popularity of Yoga, especially during and after the holiday season is attracting a lot of beginners to come to the class. The vast majority of popular Yoga schools offer very little advice to absolute beginners, mostly trying to emerge them into the practice, often overlooking essential points. This short guide is designed to give the beginners a few tips on how to get the most out of their practice, advance quickly and receive maximum enjoyment.
1. Do not eat 1 hr before class
When your stomach is busy digesting food a lot of energy is consumed, making it harder to concentrate on your poses, decreasing your flexibility (because your stomach is full of food), and affecting your breathing pattern. Simply put, practicing on a full stomach is extra work the your body and it will decrease your performance.
2. Do not eat 1 hr after class
Many people get very hungry after class and proceed to the table immediately. This is not a good idea. During Yoga practice a lot of toxins that have been accumulated by your muscle tissue are released into the bloodstream (same thing happens after a good massage) making you feel a bit dizzy and sometimes even hungover – this is your body trying to digest the released impurities, cleansing your system. This process usually takes about an hour, and adding food to your stomach will force your body to switch to food digestion, leaving the toxins to be absorbed back into the tissue. Eating right after class significantly decreases the purifying benefits of your practice.
3. Wear loose clothing
Tight fitness gear, usually perfect for active workouts is not suitable for Yoga. Your muscles should be free, and your movements should be as unconstricted as possible. Try to stay natural. Naked Yoga works best:)
4. Pay attention to your mat
It is important to have a good Yoga mat, especially for beginners. Make sure your mat is not too thin, does not slip (especially when wet) and does not bunch up during practice. Having a skid-free and properly cushioned experience is recommended if you want to maximize your enjoyment.
5. Focus on breathing
While your insructor will definitely tell you this, it is important to note how essential this part is. Proper breathing pattern is a key to everything in Yoga, make sure you follow the rhythm of inhalations and exhalations set by your teacher, this rhythm will soon become natural.
6. Do not try to follow or imitate anybody
Practice at your own pace. People around you may do crazy stuff, and there is absolutely no need to follow them. Yoga is not about attaining certain poses, but about balance and the practice itself.
7. “No pain-no gain” does NOT apply to Yoga
There is no need to push yourself. A perfect pose is the one you can do comfortably. Yoga is not about physical achievement, you must progress at your own natural speed.
8. Dedicate your practice to someone
To practice a little Karma Yoga, try to imagine that you are practicing for someone else’s benefit, picture this person and dedicate the fruits of your labor to them. This simple technique will calm your mind and put all your worries on stand by.
9. Do not skip the meditation
Sometimes you are in a rush, and leave the class before meditation starts. You think that you’ve achieved all the benefits of the physical part and will meditate later. This is a common mistake that should be avoided. Meditation is the most important part of the practice, essentially everything is leading to it. During meditation you are able to utilize the calming effect of the asanas to go deep inside yourself – this is what yoga is about.
10. Do not worry about progress
If you practice regularly, you will succeed. Yoga was designed to work on anyone who dedicates time to it. It does not matter who you are, what your physical abilities are like and where you stand in life – if you practice, you will feel the benefits. I hope this makes it a little easier for beginners to get started and begin enjoying Yoga right away. Once you truly feel the effects, you will never want to go back, guaranteed!