Watching others perform yoga poses can make you feel as if you’ll never be able to achieve their level of flexibility and enlightenment, and no matter how much you may want to try it, you’ve already convinced yourself that you’ll be a failure.
However, absolutely anyone can give yoga a try, and even if you find it intimidating, there are ways to get started that will gently introduce you to it, and make you feel at ease. There are also a number of beginner yoga types with poses (or asanas) that are ideal for the inexperienced, but enthusiastic, just like you!
Read on to find out why anyone can practice yoga, and how to get started:
Yoga – what is it?
Designed to help practitioners achieve a feeling of oneness with the universe through the integration of mind, body and spirit, yoga is a sprawling ensemble of spiritual practises and techniques. In fact, there are many paths of yoga, of which Hatha Yoga (arguably the most commonly heard of and widely practised in the West) is just one.
Should you practise yoga?
Whoever you are and whatever you do in life, you can absolutely practise yoga if you so wish, and get exactly the same out of it as experienced yogis do.
While medical conditions or an injury may make certain forms of yoga more difficult to master (and you may want to consult with a medical practitioner before taking up yoga if you have any concerns), there are typically a series of safer alternatives enabling you to enjoy yoga safely, and reap all of its rewards.
What yoga is best recommended for beginners?
For anyone who isn’t in great physical shape or finds it difficult to bend with ease, building up your strength and flexibility with gentle moves can help prepare you for some of the more challenging poses and sequences.
For those who deem themselves fit and relatively flexible, you should be able to book a class and get started with hatha yoga. That said, it’s wise not to jump in at the deep end until you’ve familiarised yourself with some of the more basic postures.
How should you practice yoga?
You really don’t need a lot of money to start yoga, in fact, all you really need is a yoga mat, and some comfortable clothing that allows you to move freely without inhibiting you or obstructing your movement; you don’t even need to invest in footwear, since this is usually removed while practising.
While some yoga classes may use straps, bolsters and bolsters, these are not essential if you’re practising at home and can easily be replaced with similar items such as a scarf, a pillow and a pile of books, for example.
How can yoga benefit you?
There are a wealth of benefits to be gained from practising yoga, and aside from helping you become a better person and teaching you how to be more mindful in your everyday life (as if that wasn’t enough!), there are plenty of other great reasons to give yoga a go, such as:
- keeps your mind strong and healthy
- reduces stress levels and help you relax
- helps you get a more restful night’s sleep
- eases the pain of a variety of common bodily aches
- makes you feel happier
- aids weight loss and help you create a healthier body shape
- keeps your muscles, joints and even your organs, in better condition
- improves your flexibility, range of motion and balance
So, no matter who you are, where you’re from, what you look like and what you do, you can practice yoga and reap all of its many rewards, just as easily as the next person!