How to start practicing yoga?
How to start practicing yoga? It's easy! Yoga has that SOMETHING in it that makes us want to try it, feel it, experience it. It is a philosophy that, if given the opportunity, can change our current approach to life. It combines care for our body, mind and soul. It becomes a "friend," but it also happens to be the best remedy for some of the problems that accompany us.
For several (or even more?) years its popularity has not decreased. It's getting easier and easier to become part of the yoga team, because we can start practically anytime and anywhere. Perhaps it is the aspect of wide accessibility that makes so many of us take advantage of its benefits? After all, all it takes is firing up an instructional video or launching an app and the world of yoga opens up to us. So why not give it a try?
First a smattering of yoga history
To fully enjoy the unique and magical effects of yoga, we need to know it well and learn its principles. In the most general terms, we could say that yoga is any practice we undertake to improve ourselves spiritually. That much is enough to discover its general meaning early on in the journey. It is also often defined broadly as the balance between consciousness, intelligence, mind, senses and organs of action. For many of us, yoga is, or will be, a path that leads to learning the capabilities of our own body and mind - to knowing ourselves. It can also be successfully compared to the calm current of a river that slowly and patiently teaches us new habits of life. Once you start practicing yoga, you may discover many more of its meanings that will prove most important to you.
Over the centuries and years, yoga has evolved. Its definition, the approach to its practice and its importance in people's lives have changed. It is inextricably linked to the system of Indian philosophy and we associate it with Hinduism. Its principles and tenets are also successfully used in Buddhism. And yet, yoga is not inextricably linked with any of the religions. It does not contradict, but also does not identify with any of them.
The system and philosophy of yoga was fully formed around II-III BCE. It was then that the oldest and most important treaty, the Yogasutra, was written down in the traditional way of short sentences called sutras describing the system of yoga philosophy. And so it began...
How and where to start practicing yoga?
Each beginning is a bit like an unwritten page that is waiting for the story that will appear on it. The authors of this story are ourselves, and it is up to us to decide how the story will turn out. It is the same with the beginning of your yoga practice - what yours will be, you have to decide for yourself. There are actually two options - you start on a makeshift mat, at home, turning on a video on a popular site. Or quite the opposite - you decide to approach it a bit more professionally, that is, you sign up for organised classes with an instructor. Either option seems to be fine, as long as it suits your needs.
The basis is a good attitude
Positive thinking and willingness to act are the driving forces behind virtually every life activity we undertake. Whatever motivation you have at the beginning of your yoga adventure, it's important to maintain it. Some people start in order to improve their fitness, others want to make their bodies more flexible and stretch, and still others want to become part of a unique yoga community. Any reason is good to start practicing yoga regularly as it has a lot more to offer than it seems at first.
A cozy corner for yoga practice
If you decide to start practicing yoga at home, it is important that you set aside a certain space for it. Theoretically, to begin with, a piece of floor is enough for you, where you spread out your exercise mat and can move freely. Over time, this space will become an oasis of peace, relaxation and rest for you. So that you can return to it with pleasure and enjoy using it, take care of its decor. After all, your exercise space can also be a great motivator for you. You remember that strength is in simplicity, so the yoga practice corner should be decorated minimalistically - so that nothing distracts you from what is most important. A good idea would be to use a mirror in this space - it will allow you to fully focus on your exercise technique. If you have the opportunity, also make sure that the yoga practice corner has access to natural light. It will positively charge you with much needed energy. If, in turn, you prefer to practice in the evening, equip your corner with candles or a small lamp, the light of which will pleasantly envelop your body and soul during your daily practice. To make the place cozy, use pillows and a soft blanket, which, in addition to looking beautiful, will also become part of your relaxation and meditation zone after your practice is over. Make sure that no one disturbs you during your practice - let this place be quiet, peaceful and meant only for you.
The right yoga mat
Your first at-home yoga class may be on a sleeping mat or a good quality blanket. But only in theory, because such an approach can effectively discourage you from further attempts. The choice of a yoga mat is one of the key elements you should take care of even before you start practicing. The task of the mat is to provide you with the best possible comfort and stability while performing the exercises. Therefore, it should be thick enough (or should I say thin?), fit your height and be made of a material that suits your needs. It must provide you with a good grip and must not slip on the ground. Your first mat should be as versatile as possible - after all, at the beginning of your yoga adventure you don't yet have strict expectations. That will probably change, but what's important is the here and now. Take a look at the Moonholi website and immerse yourself in a world full of mats individually tailored to your needs.
Comfortable yoga outfit
What it will look like or what color it will be is already up to you, and we won't get involved. But we will be happy to suggest what "technical requirements" it should meet. Comfort first, but this you already know. No piece of clothing should press, scratch or bruise your body. However, this does not mean that it shouldn’t adhere to it. On the contrary! The upper part of the outfit - a blouse or top - must fit snugly enough so that it does not slide down over your face when performing head-down positions. Similarly, its lower part - leggings or shorts. When they are too loose, you won't be able to watch your legs work. Psst, if you just happen to be looking for the perfect outfit for you, we invite you to the world of Moonholi. We have something there for you J
Let's face it - they're not a typical must have for first classes, but that doesn't mean we don't appreciate their potential. They were created to make it easier to perform certain positions and speed up our progress. Thanks to them, we don't have to rise to the heights of our patience and wait indefinitely until we manage to perform an asana correctly. Yoga accessories also enable people with mobility problems to practice. Among them we can find blocks, straps, blankets or towels. If you want to learn more about their properties, take a look at our previous blog articles. You are welcome!
Substantive preparation - books about yoga
Comprehensive guides for both beginners and experienced yogis. They will help you understand the essence of yoga, find your place in the whole philosophy and thoroughly explain the benefits of its practice. It is worth finding a moment of time for them during the daily run. For some, they will be useful at the very beginning, to best prepare for the start of the yoga adventure. For others, they will be a "lifesaver" during a crisis that occurs after several years of practice. No matter when you decide to use the wisdom written in them (or if you do at all), we want you to know that you have the opportunity to do so.
Safety of home yoga practice
Injuries can happen anywhere - at home, on a walk, at a desk, and during yoga practice. There is nothing strange about it, but neither can they be treated as a sad necessity. The risk of all sorts of injuries can be minimised. What is important is proper preparation, that is, warming up the muscles through a short warm-up. But that's not all! Self-practicing yoga at home requires tremendous focus and discipline. No person is able to catch possible mistakes and quickly correct them, so this responsibility rests with us alone. So what should we do to perform asanas correctly? First of all, listen carefully to the instructions given by the teacher, observe his or her movements and follow the instructions given – as little and as much at that. Despite the most sincere intentions and huge effort, a particular position may not work for you and that's it. Nothing by force! Leave the performance of some - more demanding asanas, for a higher level of advancement or go to professional classes with an instructor who will help you figure them out.
During practice, observe your body and its reactions to certain positions. Pay attention to whether certain parts of your body feel worse while performing them. This is a signal that you should increase your alertness and adjust your practice level to your body's current possibilities.
Match yoga to yourself
We are different and have different needs. For some, yoga will be too boring, for others, on the contrary, too demanding. There is a way around this! One of the advantages of yoga is also its diversity, so that among its styles everyone can find something for themselves. Explore a few of them and choose the one that suits you perfectly J
This is for fans of dynamics activities and enthusiasts of a demanding workout after which sweat pours. It does not tolerate boredom, requires strength and, of course, proper fitness.
The complete opposite of Ashtanga - a calm, slow practice ideal for any seeker of solace. Also perfect for those recovering from injury or with movement limitations.
For seekers of "something more." Allows you to explore yoga philosophy in depth and work with yogic values. Much of the focus is on breath, mantras and meditation.
"Profit and loss account" - the benefits of yoga practice
You don't have to stand on your head or do twine to be able to say that your yoga practice has brought you a huge amount of benefits. Your yoga doesn't have to look like the pictures on Instagram, because it's simply yours and it's up to you to enjoy it. And what can you expect from it?
Regular practice of yoga will make your body definitely more flexible and stretched. We assure you that all the bends, turns and other positions that were previously beyond your reach will suddenly become effortless. Besides, you will increase your endurance and improve your balance. And best of all - your body will also change. To your advantage, of course. You can count on slimming your figure and defining even the most hidden muscles. Yoga will also help you develop the habit of maintaining correct posture.
Yoga will take care of not only your body, but also your soul. It will become a time just for you, allow you to get away from the rush of everyday life for a while and force you to reflect. It will give space to relax, calm down and reduce stress. With the practice of yoga, the quality of your sleep and...breathing will improve! We guarantee you - nothing as good as yoga and meditation will teach you the technique of proper and conscious breathing. And there is real power in the breath - if we know how to work with it, it is easier to relax, calm down and just live.
Yoga will also change your approach to your diet, lifestyle and health in general. It will help you understand and mature with certain decisions that once seemed out of your reach. It will make you more aware as to what's on your plate or to eagerly explore additional - holistic methods of supporting your health, including immunity.
And finally, yoga will positively affect your mood - it will help you find more reasons to smile and be happy. It will teach you how to deal with difficult moments with mindfulness, calmness and full awareness. Start and you will see for yourself J
You go girl! How do you persevere in your yoga resolution?
You approach it calmly and beware of the word "must." In the beginning, we often want too much and too fast. This approach can generate frustration, because wanting doesn't always mean being able to.
Set yourself a clear and, most importantly, measurable goal. To start with, it could be, for example, to practice twice a week for 30 minutes each. This will make it easier for you to "hold yourself accountable". At the same time, remember that you want to practice yoga, not have to, so don't meticulously count every minute. You will see that after a while yoga will become a goal in itself.
Be ready for ups and downs - whether you want them or not, crises will occur. Accept them with humility and try to overcome them, but not at any cost. Sometimes your body will simply refuse to obey you, and sometimes laziness will get you. And that's ok J
If all these arguments are not enough to get you on the mat with full conviction, we have one more idea for you. Look for a "support group" - people who are just beginning the yoga adventure like you. You will be able to support each other in it and motivate each other. You can practice separately, and sort of together - at the same time, but each in a different place. Just knowing that someone is practicing similarly to you will provide a "kick"!
Ready? Then get to it! So when do you jump on that mat and start practicing yoga?