There are countless benefits to Yoga, here are just 77 of them to get started. Since I started, I’ve gotten all kinds of balanced, bendy like a bendy straw, and have more energy every day. Here’s how to get started if you’re a little confused:
1. Before you try anything, make yourself the promise that you’re willing to give it a chance.There can be huge variation between the types of yoga, the way instructors teach and choose poses in classes and on DVD’s, what you see online, etc. If you hate it at first, it’s likely that that instructor/type/etc. just wasn’t right for you. Give it another go and see what you think.
2. If there’s a lot of variety offered, make sure you choose the right kind for you. There are quite a few different types of yoga, which can seem intimidating if you’re looking through the titles of classes or DVD’s and have no idea what they’re talking about. Here are the most common types:
HATHA: Usually if a class is described as “Hatha,” its going to be pretty slow-paced and gentle and provide a good introduction to the basic yoga poses.
VINYASA Vinyasa means “breath-synchronized movement” and tends to be a more vigorous style of yoga, moving more quickly than Hatha. You’ll warm up with sun saltations and end with deep stretches.
ASHTANGA [or Power Yoga, or Yoga Flow]: Ashtanga is a fast-paced, intense style of yoga. A set series of poses is performed, and always in the same order. It can be pretty physically demanding because you’re constantly moving from one pose to the next. Note: this is my favorite kind, my classes are Ashtanga classes.
IYENGAR This type of yoga is most concerned with bodily alignment. It emphasized holding poses over long periods of time versus moving quickly from one pose to the next (like in Ashtanga).
BIKRAM [or Hot Yoga]: Is the practice of yoga in a room that’s heated at 95-100 degrees. The high temperatures allows for your muscles to loosen, and also gets you pretty sweaty, which is though to be cleansing.
3. If at all possible, I’d take a yoga class. You’ll be the most likely to stick with it, and to be doing it correctly, since the instructor can gently correct you if you’re doing a pose wrong. It’s essential to do poses correctly to maximize yoga’s benefits and avoid energy.
Don’t worry though, if you can’t take a class, you can still get into yoga! There are hundreds of great Yoga DVDs out there! I would check out Amazon, read reviews, read the descriptions, etc, and select one that appeals to you, what you’re looking for. This one is called “Yoga for Inflexible People,” and might be a great starting point if you’re a little challenged on the flexibility front [Note: Yoga’s goal is to build flexibility and work with what you have to improve it, it doesn’trequire flexibility when you’re just starting out.] If you’re a fan of Jillian Michaels, she has a Yoga DVD right here. Maybe you’re interested in a really sexy looking Asian man to slip into your living room and teach you the basics, if so, this one’s for you. The point is, there is variety up the wazoo, don’t tell me you can’t find something you don’t like.
4. If you don’t want to pay for a class OR buy a DVD yet, that is just fine. Maybe you’re broke and living off of cans of beans and rice, or maybe you’re just stingy. Whatever the reason, there are a lot of great, free(!) videos on YouTube. This is a really great beginning Yoga routine, and this is my personal favorite YouTube Yoga routine (but be warned, it’s pretty difficult if you’ve never done yoga before.)
5. Buy a Yoga mat. You can probably get away with not having one in classes, they usually provide them, but if you plan on doing any yoga on your own, hardwood floors are going to be really uncomfortable, and carpet can be slippery.
6. Relax. You aren’t going to be able to balance on one hand right from the get-go. It takes time and patience to get better, but if you keep at it, you will get better. Every day you’ll get stronger, more energized, and more stable.
7. Get excited! With practice, you could one day look like this or this or even this! Good luck!