Many people have heard about yoga and how it benefits the body without understanding what yoga really is. In this article, we will discuss the brief history of yoga and its purpose and ultimately provide you with a comprehensive beginner’s guide to yoga that will get you started immediately.
Yoga first originated from ancient India and is, in fact, a spiritual practice instead of a physical one. Although commonly known as a form of stretching and exercise in today’s society, the main goal of yoga is not one that is done with merely your body. Rather, yoga is an aid to control the mind and body by releasing stress and helping you find inner peace from the stressful world.
Types of Yoga
Yoga like many activities comes in different forms and types. Each of these forms have different stances, styles, and philosophies, that suit people of different goals and training philosophies. Some of the most popular forms of yoga are Ashtanga (progressive postures and breathing exercises that improve flexibility, circulation and stamina) and Hatha (postures, breathing exercises and meditation in order to help achieve self-enlightenment).
How to Start Yoga
Before starting on yoga, it’s good that you get familiarized with the terms of the exercise.
Asana – Postures or poses that you perform during the session. These can range from easy to professional levels. Many of these challenge you to have a certain level of flexibility.
Pranayama – Breathing exercises. These are usually performed during an Asana.
Alignment – Safety regarding the position of your joints.
Drishti – Points of focus during your Asana.
Now that you’re very briefly aware of the basic terminologies, it’s time to prepare for your very first yoga lesson. You may choose to attend a local class to get a brief idea of what to expect from yoga or you can always check out some YouTube videos beforehand. Get familiarized with some of the basic asanas of the type of yoga that you intend to go into if you are uncomfortable with going into class without any prior experience beforehand.
A brief note before ending of the article is that you should always consult your yoga practitioner if you are going into the training with an injury beforehand. Let your yoga practitioner know about your injuries so they can prescribe you with alternatives and alter the movements for asanas that you can’t perform. Yoga is a very personal activity, so don’t be concerned if you struggle doing some of the stretches. All that said, you should be ready for your first yoga class, so go out there and enjoy it!