Whole-body health means more than just how many push ups you can do. Mental and spiritual health are part of one’s overall well being and as that becomes more and more understood, practices that marry the mind with the body such as yoga have gained enormous popularity (despite having been practices for more than 2,000 years). For many beginners, yoga can seem very intimidating because of the complex postures that are involved. However, with a little bit of understanding even the greenest of yogis can soon enjoy the benefits of the practice of yoga.
Introduce yourself into your instructor
If you are intimidated, before the first class begins get there early and introduce yourself to your instructor before the class begins. If the instructor knows you are feeling a little apprehensive, he is more likely to spend time helping you through the first class. That can give you the boost of confidence and security you might need to feel more at ease.
Choose the right clothes
This isn’t about looking like a Sports Illustrated model. It’s about being comfortable and able to move freely and without restriction. Lines such as Fabletics by Kate Hudson offer affordable and accessible fitness wear pieces that are perfect for everyone, from beginners to more advanced yogis. No matter where you choose to purchase your yoga wear, the important thing is to choose pieces that allow you to move freely without being too loose fitting. You don’t want to accidentally give your classmates a peep show! Form-fitting yoga clothes will also allow your instructor to observe your form and make any necessary corrections.
In addition to proper yoga clothing, there are a few things you might also want to consider bringing. A yoga mat is one of the most important things to consider, even if your yoga studio provides them. Not only is it more sanitary to use your own mat, purchasing your own means that you can also practice your poses while at home, for example. In addition, some beginners find it helpful to purchase a yoga block to use during class. Yoga blocks are designed to help steady yourself during postures, allowing you to improve your form.
You’ll also need a towel and a water bottle – especially if you are doing hot yoga. All types of yoga are strenuous on beginners, however, and you will very likely need to hydrate!
Take it all in
One of the biggest benefits of yoga is its ability to give its practitioners a feeling of calm and peace. You won’t get that benefit, however, if you don’t give yourself over to it. It will likely take some practices to learn to control your breathing and calm your mind so that you can fully immerse yourself in the yoga experience, but there are small steps you can take to help you down that road. Focus on one thing at a time. For example, during your first class, go into the class with the intention of being as present as possible. Don’t run through your grocery list or ideas for your presentation at work while you are in yoga class.
Being as fully mentally present as you can be. Or, focus on your breathing. You may not be able to control your breathing to the point of an experience yoga practitioner at first, but you can at least learn to focus and be mindful of your breathing, which is something that most of us probably don’t think about very often. Simply becoming aware of our breath is a good stepping stone toward the kind of mind-body awareness that makes yoga so beneficial for so many people.