Beginner’s Guide to Yoga

There is considerable curiosity around yoga especially in these times with the country seeing many enthusiasts who just can’t seem to get enough of it.

India seems to have taken the initiative in giving yoga its rightful place in people’s lives. This is only fitting since yoga’s origins can be traced to this very country. June 21 is World Yoga Day and India had a key role in making that happen.

What is Yoga?

To many, working out means huffing and puffing away at the gym. While this may be important for this particular group of individuals, it is not necessarily the only way to work out. When you think of yoga think of the gym but more peaceful, safe and holistic.

Yoga stretches out the muscles, gives you firm even rock hard abs, strong arms, toned buttocks, a strong back and legs.

Yoga is not your regular stretching that you do at the gym. It is more systematic and deliberate in the sense that there is more awareness with close breathing coordination.

It is an all body exercise that combines cardio, functional and strength training.

Unlike a gym that usually involves a commute; the best part about yoga is that it can be done at home and/or at office.

Contrary to popular belief, yoga isn’t necessarily for the flexible type. As a matter of fact, if you are inflexible, yoga can help you become more flexible.

Yoga helps the body gently regain its flexibility by stretching out various muscles of the body in a safe manner. Practicing yoga regularly will ensure that you see leaps of improvement in your flexibility.

How to Begin Yoga?

Before drafting yoga in your regular exercise schedule, it is best to consult an instructor/expert. Plus you may need to make specific adjustments for conditions like menstruation, high blood pressure and specific health concerns and injuries.

The yogi (or yoga practioner) must be systematic in practice. It is advisable to begin with the simpler postures and progress to the more complex as he gets a better understanding of his strength, flexibility and importance of posture.

The good thing about yoga is that it can be done anytime, anywhere, with minimal accessories. You only need loose-fitting, comfortable clothes and a non-slip yoga mat.

How to Eat Right While Taking Up Yoga?

Unlike other exercises, yoga is best performed on an empty stomach. There should be an interval of at least 3 hours, the taken time to digest food, between your last meal and yoga practice. You can make an exception for lime juice, fruits, cup of coffee or half a glass of milk.

On taking up yoga, you need to make adjustments to your diet. Some of these tips will prove useful:

  • • Go for easily digestible foods like raw, whole grain and organic foods
  • • Prefer nutrition over taste
  • • Go for fresh fruits and nuts, they can provide you with necessary energy for the day
  • • Eat and drink in moderation

There is some debate on the importance of a vegetarian diet for a true blue yogi. While there are views inclining towards vegetarianism they are purely recommendatory at best. There is nothing to stop a yogi from excelling in yoga and be a non-vegetarian at the same time.

How to Practice Yoga Correctly?

There are misconceptions that yoga could lead to injuries. This is not true; it is just something skeptics assume after seeing some impossible yoga poses in the media.

So long as you take the following basic steps before the yoga routine there should be no problem:

  • • warm up
  • • master the alignment principles
  • • breathe correctly, with awareness
  • • practice at home to sort out glitches from your yoga class practice

As far as practicing yoga is concerned, it is not so much about how long you practice as the consistency of your practice schedule. For optimum benefit, discipline yourself to practice at regular timings over a specified number of days every week. The intensity and frequency may vary from person to person, some may enjoy a 20-30 minute session while others may want longer sessions. It’s advisable to start small and graduate to longer and more intense sessions.

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