How To Start Yoga

How To Start Yoga

Have you ever stopped for a second during a yoga class and wondered, “Why is yoga so hard?”

The truth is that yoga is not necessarily difficult for everyone, but if you don’t have much of a fitness background this can cause you to feel that yoga is difficult to get into and master.

What makes yoga difficult? One of the biggest reasons why yoga can feel difficult for beginners is because you have to learn a lot of new yoga poses. You have to practice them to master them, which can be tough and even overwhelming.

Don’t worry – you can make yoga easier for yourself to get into and enjoy. Read on to find out how to achieve this. 

Why Yoga Can Be Difficult For Beginners

Why Yoga Can Be Difficult For Beginners

So, we’ve already mentioned that yoga can feel difficult for beginners who don’t have much of a fitness background. There are other reasons why yoga can be difficult: 

  • You’re comparing yourself to others. A big psychological reason why you might find yoga difficult is that you’re constantly checking out other people’s progress. This can get in the way of your own progress.
  • You’re battling to stay present. One of the things that could make yoga feel difficult is if you’re battling to clear your mind and focus on the present moment. Try to relax more by focusing on your breath during your poses.
  • You’re not taking a beginner class. If you’re just starting out with yoga, you shouldn’t jump into an advanced yoga class. This will be overwhelming, so it’s better to start out with a beginner class as you’ll be able to ease into it. This will also help you to stick with yoga over time.
  • You’re not using props. Some yoga props can help you to better master your poses. An example is yoga blocks. These are made out of foam or cork, and they help you by providing greater support so that you feel you can stretch and balance without fear of falling or not mastering the pose. 

How To Warm Up For Yoga

How To Warm Up For Yoga

Warming up is always essential before a workout and with yoga is no different. This short session warms up your muscles so that they are more flexible, which in turn will make yoga poses feel easier to master. 

You can easily warm up before a yoga session by doing a few poses. Here are some to try out:

Leg Stretch

This yoga warm-up pose stretches your feet, ankles, calves, hamstrings, and shins.

  • Lift your legs so they’re perpendicular to the floor.
  • Keep your lower back rooted to the floor and your pelvis neutral.
  • Lift one of your legs off the floor, pointing the sole of your foot to the ceiling.
  • Raise your other foot so that you join the other one.
  • Make sure you only lift your legs to a height that feels comfortable for you.
  • When both your legs are lifted, flex and point your feet to warm up their muscles.

Easy Seated Pose

This is a really easy warmup pose to do because you will remain seated through it.

  • Get into a cross-legged seated position. 
  • Place a folded blanket or pillow underneath you so that your knees will be lower than your hips. 
  • Do a few neck rolls by bringing your chin to your chest and rolling it over to your right shoulder. Then, move your head back and let your chin reach your right shoulder again. Circle slowly so that you move through any feelings of tightness. 
  • After doing five rotations on one side, do five on the other side. 

Cat-Cow Stretch

This stretch is done on all fours on your yoga mat. It works well to arch and flex your spine. Here’s how to do it.

  • Get on your hands and knees on your yoga mat. Make sure your knees are in line with your hands. 
  • Curve your back and put your head down so that your chin and toes are pointed towards the yoga mat. 
  • Then, arch your back and turn your chin up so that you look up to the sky. When you do this, make sure your feet are perched on your toes.

Best Yoga Positions For Beginners

Best Yoga Positions For Beginners

Easing into yoga with simple poses helps you to master them much faster and boost your confidence so you can progress to more advanced poses.

Here are some of the best yoga positions to try if you’re a beginner:

Mountain Pose 

This is one of the most popular yoga poses because it’s a foundation for many other poses that enhance your balance and awareness. The mountain pose also helps you to gain the correct alignment.

How to do the mountain pose:

  • Start by standing with your feet together. Put your arms at your side. 
  • Ground your feet. To do this, press all corners of your feet into your yoga mat. 
  • Straighten your legs. Tuck in your tailbone so you engage your thigh muscles. 
  • Inhale as you stretch through your torso. 
  • Move your arms up, then out. 
  • Exhale as you release your shoulder blades. Move them away from your head to the back of your waist as you simultaneously bring your arms back to your sides. 

Downward-Facing Dog

This is another popular yoga pose that you’ve probably heard about. It gives various parts of your body a good stretch, such as your arms, shoulders, back, and hamstrings. It’s also a good yoga pose to do if you want to feel more centered.

Here’s how to do the downward-facing dog:

  • Get onto your hands and knees on your yoga mat. You should keep your palms past your shoulders. 
  • Keep your knees under your hips and tuck in your toes. 
  • Lift your hips as you press your back into a V-position with your body.

Forward Fold

This yoga pose encourages you to move forward and touch the floor, so practicing it early on is useful as it will help you to master similar but more advanced poses. It’s also great for boosting your balance.

  • Start in a standing position. 
  • As you inhale, lift your arms up over your head. 
  • Exhale as you release your arms to the front of your body. Do this as you fold your torso over your legs. 
  • Allow yourself to relax into the pose. When you do this, you’ll straighten your legs to the point where it feels comfortable to do so. Don’t overstretch them.
  • If the pose feels comfortable, put your hands on your shins or the floor. This works well to lengthen your spine and hamstrings. 

Essential Equipment You Need For Yoga

Before you practice yoga for the first time, make sure you have the most essential pieces of equipment and accessories. Here’s a rundown of what you need.

Yoga Clothing

Yoga Clothing

Although you should choose clothing that’s relaxed and comfortable for yoga, you should avoid wearing anything too baggy as this will get in your way. Here’s a rundown of the most important items you need to wear. 

  • Yoga pants. If you want to wear pants to yoga, leggings are a good choice as they will be form-fitting and snug. You can wear loose yoga pants but bear in mind that these are better for restorative yoga that doesn’t require intense movements.
  • Shorts. An alternative to yoga pants is to wear shorts. These should be form-fitting so that they stay close to your body during yoga poses. Avoid wearing regular shorts that won’t give you the support and breathability that you want.
  • Yoga top. A form-fitting tank top or t-shirt is ideal for yoga. It should be moisture-wicking and breathable so that you feel comfortable.
  • Sports bra. Although yoga is a low-impact activity, you must ensure you gain the support you need to feel comfortable. For extra support, choose bras with dual straps.
  • Hair ties. If you have medium to long hair, you should ensure you keep it away from your face. Styling it in a low ponytail, plait, or bun will prevent your hair from getting sweaty and dirty, or flying into your face when you bend forward during a yoga pose.
  • Yoga socks. Seeing as though you can’t wear sneakers when practicing yoga because it prevents you from properly making contact with your yoga mat, you should invest in yoga socks. These are textured underneath to provide grippiness so you don’t lose your balance during a pose. They’re also usually made out of breathable materials to keep your feet comfortable.

Yoga Mat

Yoga Mat

This is an essential piece of yoga gear that you need. It’s useful for a variety of reasons. These include the following:

  • It helps you maintain personal space when practicing yoga in a studio. 
  • It gives you traction for your hands and feet to prevent you from slipping or losing your balance. 
  • It provides you with a more comfortable way to do yoga on a hard floor. 
  • It keeps you hygienic. While your yoga studio might provide you with mats you can use, you should own your own so that you maintain hygiene.

Yoga Blocks

Yoga Blocks

These yoga props are made of foam or cork. They provide you with extra support when you’re doing yoga poses so that you can stretch your body further and maintain your balance better. 

This is especially useful when you’re starting with yoga as you might not feel that you’re flexible enough to master the poses.

For example, when doing the Forward Fold we mentioned earlier, you might battle to touch the floor or your lower legs at the end of the pose. Having a yoga block at your feet can help you to bring the floor closer to you.  

Does Yoga Cause Injuries?

Does Yoga Cause Injuries? 

Although yoga is a low-impact exercise, it can cause injuries. These mainly occur if you don’t do the poses properly or with good form, or if you overdo it, such as by trying to fit in too many yoga schedules per week.

Some of the most common yoga injuries include the wrist, hamstring, shoulder, and neck injuries. You can prevent injuries by following essential tips:

  • Work with a yoga instructor. This makes it easier to master yoga poses and ensures you use the correct form. 
  • Don’t overstretch during yoga poses. You should aim for flexibility and strength when doing poses. Don’t overstretch as this can cause an injury. 
  • Make use of yoga props. You should make use of accessories such as blocks, wheels, or straps as these will help you develop more flexibility and gain stability. 
  • Focus on your body. You should always pay attention to any signs that your body is overstretching or you’re doing too much yoga, such as pains, aches, or swollen joints. Pushing yourself can cause injuries, so avoid doing that. 

How Long Does It Take To Get Used To Doing Yoga? 

How Long Does It Take To Get Used To Doing Yoga? 

After a few weeks of regular yoga sessions, you should start feeling that you’re getting used to the poses and stretches. This is also how long it generally takes for you to start feeling more flexible.

If you want to see physical changes in your body from doing yoga, such as improved muscle tone, you can expect these to occur within six to 12 weeks. 

Related Questions

Why is yoga traditionally practiced barefoot?

Why is yoga traditionally practiced barefoot?

Doing yoga barefoot helps you to maintain your balance so you don’t slip. But it’s not always convenient or practical, so yoga socks that are textured underneath can provide you with the grip you need while keeping your feet hygienic. 

How regularly should beginners do yoga?

You should aim for two or three yoga sessions per week to start as this will introduce you to the poses and stretches, and help you ease into your yoga journey. 

Conclusion

If you’re starting a yoga practice, you might wonder why it’s so difficult to do. It doesn’t have to be! By following the tips we’ve outlined in this article, you’ll be better prepared for your next yoga class. 

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