Yoga for Beginners

I’m Not Flexible. Can I Do Yoga?

shutterstock_284951039When people decide to become fit and healthy by starting an exercise routine, oftentimes they end up not pushing through with their plans due to personal doubts and fears. Some fear that they are already too fat to start going to the gym, or too prone to exhaustion to start running or jogging. But the truth of the matter is, the reasons and fears that they use to rationalize not pushing through with their intended routines are the main reasons that they should.

Similarly, a lot of people find themselves intimidated when thinking of yoga. Thoughts of breathing, poses and flexibility come to mind when the idea of yoga is broached. Many people believe that they need to be flexible in order to do yoga, but the truth of the matter is that people should decide to practice yoga if they want to improve their flexibility and not the other way around. Besides, yoga is not just about flexibility. Yoga is about balance, a combination of strength, flexibility and the ability to focus your mind. Too much strength will limit your movement range while too much flexibility will make you prone to accidents.

Like the saying goes, everything starts with the first step. Just like in any new endeavor in life, taking baby steps in your journey of discovering yoga is part and parcel of the experience. Don’t expect to be able to do headstands and other advanced poses right of the bat. A solid foundation and continued practice are what beginners should strive for.

The first important step to start with yoga is to face your fears and anxieties. Why dismiss the thought of doing yoga without even trying? Take the plunge and give it your all. After taking your first step, whether by signing up for classes in a studio, gym or rec center, or doing it at home, make sure to commit to it. Don’t make excuses and don’t give up. Understand that perseverance is a big part in succeeding.

Focus on one particular pose that you think is ideal for your current situation, both physically and mentally, then keep repeating it for a time until you have truly mastered it. Once you are satisfied, try out a different pose on your next session until you start building up your repertoire of poses. Build a solid foundation through familiarity and repetition.

When doing yoga, always remember to stretch. Just like in any physical activity or exercise, stretching and warming up your muscles beforehand is an important part of avoiding injuries and training your body. Also, for those who want to tackle tight hamstrings, incorporating daily forward folds into their routine is key. As mentioned earlier, being flexible is not a prerequisite for yoga. Flexibility is one of the many benefits that can be achieved through constant practice.

Most people only focus on the physical aspect of yoga which is primarily the poses and movements between them. But yoga is much more than that. To fully achieve the true essence of yoga and reap the most benefits, one must also take into account the proper breathing and meditation aspects. By fully integrating all aspects of yoga can one achieve the best results.

Yoga comes in many forms and types. Finding the right teacher and class that fits your style is essential not only for beginners but also for veterans alike. And with the many choices, there is sure to be one that will work best for everyone. For those who want to have a taste of what it is like to do yoga, there are poses that are ideal for non-flexible beginners.

It is important to note that keeping a smooth and even breathing pattern throughout the poses is ideal, as well as holding the poses only if you are physically able to do so. Do not force yourself to keep doing a pose longer than what your body can take. Knowing when to end a pose is just as important as being able to do it.

Tadasana, or the mountain pose, is one yoga pose that helps enhance flexibility. This is accomplished by standing straight with eyes closed and feet close together. Another pose to improve flexibility is Balasana or the Child’s Pose. This is accomplished by having the knees and the top of the feet on the floor with knees apart and proceeding to rest your belly and chest between your legs while stretching out the head and arms forward.

The Adho Mukha Svanasana,or the downward facing dog, is accomplished by keeping your feet hip width apart while also keeping your arms shoulder width apart while touching the floor and bending forward, trying to create the shape of an inverted V. Utkatasana or the chair pose, is accomplished by keeping your feet together and then bending the knees until it looks like you are sitting on an invisible chair then, raising your arms upward and forward alongside your ears.

Vrksasana or the tree pose, is accomplished by standing on one leg while the other foot is balanced on either your ankle, shin or thigh. Raise your hands above your head to create branches for your tree if your balance is good. Shavasana, which seemingly looks very simple, is also a great pose for flexibility. This is accomplished by lying on your back with your arms facing forward and trying o relax the whole of your body.

There’s also the Salabhasana or the locust pose. This can be accomplished by lying on the belly and raising all your limbs and even your chest off the floor with the neck stretched forward and slightly upward and the head looking above.

These eight yoga poses are commonly practiced to help improve flexibility. Although most seem simple and easy to do, they still require a lot of concentration, commitment and practice. In yoga, you do not need to be flexible to start off. However, you do need to be dedicated and hard-working in your practice for you to improve on your flexibility.

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