Yoga For Beginners: Things you need to know

 

Yoga for beginners

So you finally decided to do something for yourself; your mind, and your health? You have heard about yoga and its positive effects on body and mind, but you do not know much about it? In this blog, you will find basic information you need to know before you start practicing yoga.

What is yoga?

Yoga is a simple technique that you will combine with yourself using breath, body, and mind. It is easy to overcome it and does not make any effort. Originally from India, yoga as a spiritual skill has a tradition of over 5,000 years and is far more than just another exercise method – it is a way of life, a whole worldview that helps in the easy mastering of everyday efforts and a better understanding of the meaning of life. Today, yoga has been adapted to the urban and stressful way of life.

Yoga for beginners

Yoga beginners usually identify yoga with the difficult positions of bodies in which it is like rubber. But the real meaning of yoga is not to touch your toes or to pull out 98 degrees in the northeast direction. You do not have to be Miss Flexibility or a Mr Rubber  to practice yoga. These are urban myths and forget about them before you start practicing yoga, just relax and step into a world that will bring you joy and relaxation.

Look for expert advice

It is best to start yoga with the help of a yoga teacher who will show you how to properly master every single technique. The teacher will help you with the yoga poses and avoid injuries. A good teacher will help you adapt or modify the poses to suit your body, and any existing injuries or medical conditions you may have, and they should encourage you to listen to your body, which is why it is important that if you have any health problems, tell your teacher before starting the exercise. 

Wear comfortable clothes

When practicing yoga, dress comfortably. You do not need to wear the fanciest lycra or to shop in Sweaty Betty.  Avoid straps and jewellery as it may interfere with your exercises.

Practice regularly

Although yoga practice is best performed in the morning, you can exercise at any time of the day – it is important to practice regularly. If the morning exercise does not fit into your schedule, practice it later, but do not give up.

Do not practice after a meal

Yoga is best to practice on an empty stomach or at least 2-3 hours after a meal. It is also recommended that during the day you drink at least 3-4 litres of water to keep your body well hydrated and functioning optimally.

You are unique

When you are in position, be happy with it, and don’t compare with anyone. Each body is different, and each person is on a different level. Just as with any other exercise type, the body takes a little time to get used to yoga postures. Keep practising regularly and be patient.

You will enjoy the yoga experience only by practising regularly. Yoga includes yoga postures, ancient philosophy, breathing techniques and meditation.  Each, on their own, or together, will take you beyond the limits of your body and provide you with the experience of spirituality and tranquility.

Take time and be patient and you will be healthier, smarter, more efficient and more dedicated.

You will be one of those happy people who practice yoga!

Yoga Christmas Re-Treat

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It’s December and 2018 is coming to a close.

How does December make you feel? I love this time of the year, as it is always a time of enforced rest for most people, and I use this time to re-treat, to hibernate, and to give my body, mind and spirit breathing space.  Whether you run your own business or not, I feel that most of us, these days, are moving at full speed; and whilst it great and needed if you are moving towards a goal, we can also do so with less speed and also take time out every so often to re-charge.

Most of us tend to be naturally forward facing. We are future-oriented, always moving on to the next task, event, or responsibility. Seldom do we take enough time to think about why we succeeded at something, never mind celebrate. We also struggle to evaluate our mistakes and failures because it is hard. It forces us to take a look at ourselves and face things that we might not like. We need to realise that both sides are equal parts challenging, frustrating, motivating and rewarding but are vital to goal setting.

So, as the year draws to a close,

  • Look back through the calendar for the year
  • Look back through your social media accounts
  • Scroll through your emails for any projects that you have been working on
  • List any major life events that happened over the year, any notable challenges or mistakes, and any notable successes
  • Evaluate why each of these was relevant to you and what, if anything, you learned from them

Without looking back and reflecting on what has been, it is easy to make the same mistakes. Reflection is an important part of self-awareness, which is at the heart of self-improvement.

Take some time to reflect on the last year so you can set goals for the new year ahead.

Yoga For Wellness

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Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash

It is the time of the year when people start sniffing and feeling under the weather.  Kids are coming home from school with runny noses and coughing all over the dinner table, and any forward bends in a yoga class is unbearable as it feels like you are drowning in your own mucus.

It’s interesting because I’m following a documentary series at the moment, Transcendence, and it refers to the fact that at least 90% of diseases right now are due to lifestyle factors.  This was pretty much the statistic when I was lecturing over 25 years ago.  What I wonder is whether the flu, the winter sniffles is also down to lifestyle.

The common thread is the word Stress. I honestly feel that most people are in a constant state of overwhelm and stress, without realising that they are.  In fact, they probably feel that it’s normal.  Stress in itself is a good thing.  Stress is needed for growth.  What is detrimental is our perception of stress, and of the situation that we find ourselves in.

Stress hormones compromise our immune system, thereby impacting on the various organs and affecting them on functioning at optimal levels.  There is also the long-term effect on our nervous and cardiovascular systems.  And so, we can really benefit from changing our perspective on what is stress.

In the Chinese language, there is no specific character for Stress.  Instead, it is made up of two characters, one indicating Opportunity, and the other, Threat.  Think about it.  When you are confronted with a situation, you will assess the situation very quickly in your mind on whether it is an opportunity, or a threat.  Usain Bolt will see the 100m race an an opportunity.  Pink will see going on stage to perform as an opportunity.  For someone else, those situations could be perceived as threats.  In either case, the physiological responses are the same.  Heart rate increases, respiration quickens, sweaty palms, feeling on edge.  Depending on how we read these signs, we can use them to help us perform or run.

So, here are some tips I hope you find useful in helping you feel well and boost your immune system:

  1. Change your perception of stress by re-framing the situation and asking yourself if it is an opportunity or threat. If it is an opportunity, embrace it wholeheartedly.  If it is a threat, say “no” and let it go.
  2. Eat whole foods and move away from processed foods.  Nourish your body well so that it is able to fight off any viruses. If you’re considering going plant based, there is a free new app that can help you on your journey. The free VeGuide app is now available on Android and iOS devices.
  3. Spend a few minutes each morning doing some deep breathing.  Take deep, full, luxurious breaths to oxygenate your body.  Give this breath ratio a go … 1:1:2:0.  As an example, breathe in for 5 seconds, hold your breath for 5 seconds, exhale for 10 seconds. Do this 10 times per day.
  4. Meditate or have some quiet time. A simple thing to do is sit comfortably, as you inhale, silently repeat in your mind, “I am breathing in.” On the exhalation, silently repeat, “I am breathing out.” Do this for 5-10 minutes a couple of times a day.
  5. Yoga therapy suggests that colds and flu result from poor digestion or an energy imbalance originating in the digestive tract. Poses that gently compress, twist, or extend the belly can help a host of digestive ailments.

I really believe that you do not know what “well” feels like, until you actually feel well.

Give your wellness a chance this month and let me know how you get on.