Today there is probably not a single person left on earth who has not heard about yoga. Come to us from India, yoga has become widespread, and for many people, it has become a style of life.
Yoga is a complex of physical exercises and inner concentration. Later, having mastered asanas, you will be able to move to a more complex level – meditations and pranayama techniques, to clear your thoughts and mind, to free your body.
So how do you start yoga?
You should start by studying the method of shatkarm (there are only six of them). For beginners, it is suitable to purify your body with the help of vegetarianism, mastering Yama and Niyama (basic spiritual and moral degrees).
Yama teaches us:
- Refraining from any violence);
- Refusal to eat meat (ahimsa);
- Honesty before ourselves and others (Satya);
- Refusal to take possession of someone else’s property (ascea);
- Abstaining from lust (brahmacharya);
- Refusal to concentrate on material goods (aparigrah).
Niyama teaches us:
- Purity of not only the body but also thoughts (shucha);
- Positive thinking, gratitude for your position (santosha);
- Self-discipline (tapas);
- Self-development (svadhya);
- Altruism (Ishwara-Pranidhana).
Yoga as a method to combat many of the negative aspects of each person’s life (Santosha).
Ancient teachings help us to fight the following factors:
- Stressful situations and depressions. Stress is the most terrible enemy of a person; we stop controlling our emotions, anger, we lose the ability to sensibly assess daily situations, and as a result, the quality and standard of life decreases. The body, in its turn, reacts to stress by disrupting metabolic processes, early aging of the skin, an uncontrolled set of excess pounds. Yoga teaching is a universal and affordable way to relieve stress, feel your stress, and learn to surpass it. In many cases, systematic exercise helps to cope with pain (women often normalize their menstrual cycle); – lethargy and apathy. Many followers note a tide of strength, energy, and vigor. Yoga lessons are rest, during which a person gains much more energy and strength than during an 8-hour sleep. A 4-hour sleep is enough for masters to feel great;
- Overweight. The figure becomes slim, gets curves. The body becomes flexible, losing the hated fat layer and extra kilograms. You just need to be patient because the results will be visible in about 4-5 months.
Despite the fact that yoga is only good for us in the physical sense, we still need to understand that there are also contraindications, namely:
- Mental illness (for example, schizophrenia);
- The disease of an internal organ in the acute phase;
- Inguinal hernia.
How to learn yoga: choose your teacher
Perhaps the most important step is to find a yoga master to help you along the way. So how do you find him? Perhaps someone you know already attends a beginner’s yoga class and can recommend you a teacher; you can look up feedback online and sign up for classes with two or three different teachers and thus choose your own.
- First, you should like your teacher. This is the main criterion. You should want to be near this person. He should in no way cause you dislike, irritation, and other negative emotions. Remember: yoga is not a sport or fitness; here, the coach may not have a beautiful body with relief muscles. In this matter, it is best to trust intuition, it usually never cheats and will certainly help you choose a master with whom you are related to the soul.
- Secondly, a really competent trainer goes from simple to complex. For beginners, he will first offer simple asanas, and then, when they are mastered by students, he will move on to more complex positions. A coach who is interested in his charges will never play in public, demonstrating his abilities and showing complex poses. His focus will be on the students and their skills.
- Thirdly, a true yoga master, is characterized by calmness, dimensionality, leisureliness. It means that he never commands, does not raise his voice, does not hurry his students. And if something doesn’t work, he doesn’t push or force.
- Fourth, an experienced and knowledgeable instructor is not obsessed with the physical aspect. His goal is not only to be able to perform advanced-level asanas, but also to work on his inner processes and to be able to control his mind, and, as a result, his body.
- Finally, a true master-yogi knows not only the obvious benefits of performing asanas but also their contraindications. During a personal conversation, be sure to tell your teacher about all your health problems; perhaps, this or that standard asana can harm you. In this case, the teacher will choose an individual alternative for you, and then pranayamas, in combination with meditation, will bring you significant benefits and maybe even save you from problems associated with the joints, spine, and so on.
Tips for beginners in yoga
Let’s talk about how to prepare for the first lesson. We buy a mat for classes. There are no special recommendations, except that the mat should match your height. Clothes for the class should be tight, but at the same time, not shy movements.
In no case do not attend training with a full stomach (this also applies to water), it is best to do it either on an empty stomach or much later than the last meal. Before starting training, try to learn how to breathe and relax on your own. Subsequently, the teacher will certainly teach you to relax and concentrate at the same time.
It should be noted that it is impossible to learn positions without effort, which means that although you should avoid injuries in every possible way, but the feeling of discomfort is acceptable. And, most importantly, remember that having signed up for group sessions with the coach, you must strictly follow the schedule. Yoga teaches discipline.
Exercises for beginners
As it was mentioned above, the simplest (basic) exercises will be offered for beginners, namely:
- Asana “tree.” Stand up straight. Slowly breathing, raise your hands and pull them up as high as possible. Open the chest, to do this, put your hands behind your head without bending them. In order to learn how to balance, try to master this exercise with your raised leg bent in the knee and place your foot on your hip. The advantage of this asana, provided it is performed correctly is beneficial for posture and spine;
- Asana “child.” Take a sitting position, leaning on the heels with the buttocks. Lay down on the hips with your whole body, relax your arms and stretch them out in front of you. The main purpose of this posture is to relax the neck and back muscles;
- Asana “dog.” Lean forward and put your palms in front of you on the floor. Retreat with your heels back, raise the pelvis up. Try to distribute the weight evenly between the feet and palms. Lower the head to the elbow level. Use this posture to relieve tension from the muscles of the back, as well as the shoulder belt; asana also helps to achieve the effect of slim legs;
- Asana “stork.” On an exhalation, raise your hands up and lean. The bend should be in the lower back area. This position makes the legs flexible and increases the tone of the whole body.
- Asana “onion.” Lie down on your stomach. Embrace the ankles with your hands; try to lift both lower and upper body parts on inhalation. Here the most important advantage is an even back, slender arms, strengthening the press muscles.
If you have decided to work with a coach in group classes, then all the above asanas and the subtleties of their performance will prompt the master, but for those who are going to learn yoga on their own, and instructions for their performance have been added.
Determining that yoga is really what you need, you should study the literature, practical advice and choose the style that suits you. So, there are the following styles:
- Hatha yoga. In general, this is the basic style for all newcomers. The main directions: maintaining the health of the joints, spine, achieving body flexibility, massage of internal organs, and stimulation of hormonal glands;
- Ashtanga yoga. This style focuses on the ability to concentrate and relax, as well as mastering breathing techniques;
- Iyengara yoga. It is characterized by an individual approach to each student. Various additional aids such as rollers, cushions, and so on are used here;
- Kundalini Yoga. This is an integral style that incorporates all the steps of the basic styles of yoga;
- Bikram Yoga. It is a style based on 26 hatha yoga asanas combined with two breathing exercises. It is aimed at the health of joints, spine and maintaining the whole body in tone;
- Jivamukti yoga. This style is fully dedicated to the student’s inner world, using the method of dance, singing (naturally mantra), listening to beautiful soothing music, meditation in a compartment with the right breathing technique.
Of course, not all the features and advantages of each style are described, so it is still better to choose a style with a yoga master. In addition, each of these styles has its own levels of difficulty, asanas of which can be difficult to perform without the guidance of a master.
For independent yoga classes, the recommendations are:
- Work on yourself and regularity of classes;
- The right attitude to eating (especially just before the class);
- The principle of gradualness (from simple poses to complex ones);
- Correct breathing;
- The calm atmosphere and soothing music;
- Comfortable clothes;
- Maintaining a comfortable climate in the room where the yoga session is planned;
- Positive mood: Learn to enjoy your classes and meditations.
If something is not working out, do not despair, and do not give up what you started. Get patient and keep practicing. Patience, calmness, harmony with yourself and the world around you, a balanced approach to everything – this is what yoga ultimately teaches.
It is very important to realize that yoga is a way of life and thinking, not just in the walls of the hall and in one class – it’s an every minute work on your inner and outer world. For example, it is a healthy way of life, good daily nutrition, giving up harmful habits (smoking, alcohol, and other addictions).
Most often, the question “How to make yoga from yourself?” is asked by beginners, who have decided to learn this teaching on their own. Of course, if you will be patient, if you study many sources and revise many video lessons, then your success is guaranteed. However, it is better and safer to use the help of an experienced and competent mentor; then, you can achieve good results and enjoy the process. In addition, by achieving visible results, you will come to the understanding that you can learn yoga all your life, because, as they say, there is no limit to perfection.