If you have tried Yoga before, you know that its benefits in both mind and body fitness are unmatchable. If you haven’t tried Yoga before, take our word and try it. There is so much meaning in the practice that you can forever keep moving forward.
However, Yoga is quite unlike other forms of physical/mental exercise. It requires a much more delicate balance of patience and consistency. It is not a 3-month preparation for a marathon – it is a lifelong journey of a path that you yourself will define.
It is difficult for beginners to be consistent on this path. Here are some tips that will help you in your Yoga journey.
Get a good Yoga teacher
Seriously, this one step will remove half of your consistency problems. This teacher could be anyone: A live class teacher is better than an online one. An Online teacher is better than a book. A book is better than doing nothing.
A good teacher not only gives you the best practices, he/she also knows of the problems the beginners face. These problems are not only of strength and flexibility – they are much more about mental toughness to keep going on. A good teacher will be your motivator to take you through the initial rough phases.
Physical classes are the best for beginners. And there are a lot of options available in every city these days. Most of them would be offering free demo classes. Make sure you go to such a demo before choosing – see if you feel a connection. Not only in the ease of teaching but also in the empathy shown to beginners. Yoga is not a combat drill – it can’t be taught by aloof teachers who are only there to make money.
Get a Yoga partner
Do you have a friend with whom you can share the journey? If not, then go into beginner online forums. Try and involve yourself in the lives of others who are at the same stage of learning Yoga. You will be able to be much more consistent if you know that there are others who are pushing through the same hurdles.
You can also visit Reddit’s yoga forum, which is often a good place to see and learn from other’s questions. https://www.reddit.com/r/yoga/
Do not overreach
Beginner Yoga students often see fancy videos & expert teachers and want to reach their level in a month. This is simply not possible – there are countless hours behind these experts.
As a beginner, keep practical aims and expectations for yourself. This is in terms of hours you will devote and also the levels you will attain. If you only have 15 minutes each day, keep that as your aim. Do not try for hours every day – the moment you fail, it will take your motivation even further back.
Do not overexert
Even though Yoga is not a brutal form – it is quite strenuous for your body. Sprains and pains are part of the game. What you don’t want is an injury that puts you out of any practice. A good teacher will know how much to push. But, even if you are doing Yoga on your own, make sure that you keep these general rules in mind:
- Rapid and sudden movements are at a minimum. Try and follow the poses slowly and accurately.
- Do not force your body into unnatural shapes – rounding your back will be bad in most cases. This is important because while forcing yourself will increase your flexibility – you must also know your body’s natural limits.
Follow a better diet plan
Yoga is not a fitness regime. It is a way of life that prepares your body, mind, and soul for a deeper meaning. You have to move towards a more ‘Sattvic’ way of living. Move away from alcohol and tobacco, from anger and hatred, from red meats and other foods that don’t agree with this method.
You don’t have to become a saint overnight, but your body will be giving you signals – make sure you listen to them.
Know your goals
Why are you doing Yoga? Any goal is fine, as long as you know what that goal is. If it is weight loss – know and plan for it. If it is for a specific disease – again plan for it.
When you know what you are working towards, you will have a defined path. Simply doing everything under the Sun will only overwhelm you.
Don’t Make it a race
Yoga is not a competition. The only person that is involved is you. Do not worry about what others are doing. Every body is different, every mind is unique. Just focus on your routine and your goals.
By all means, learn from other and be inspired. But do not make them your judging parameter.
Yoga is a wonderful concept – Live it!