Easy, Fun and Simple Ways to Teach Yourself Yoga
Yoga provides a workout for the body while centering the mind. By controlling and maintaining mindful breathing, the mind lets go of resistance and allows the body to contort and stretch into challenging postures. Yoga also aids in the recharging of energy levels through a variety of postures, thus increasing performance, motivation and risk-taking. Every pose is accompanied by a different set of active, subtle, mind-body processes. Even if you are not yet a yoga student, the gestures and sequences of the poses will get your mind and body working in parallel and deepening their connection.
A good yoga routine allows the body to feel strong, yet relaxed. Individuals of all ages and abilities can benefit from the physical and mental aspects of yoga. There are no financial restrictions nor time constraints. A routine may be practiced at home for with or without an instructor, and the duration of a yoga routine can vary greatly.
Learning yoga involves understanding the postures and finding an instruction-level that matches physical ability and individual comfort levels. Those who are newly-introduced to the foundations of yoga should start with basic postures.
Before practicing any routines or postures, be mindful of physical limitations from injuries. Check with a doctor if there is any question about how a posture might affect the body. Extra care also should be taken before beginning any yoga practice during pregnancy.
Begin any routine by finding an open area in the home that offers the least physical restrictions. A mat should be used on hardwood or tile surfaces to increase comfort and mobility. Bare feet are preferred to ensure proper foot grip during poses.
When incorporating poses into a home routine, start easy, and then gradually increase the difficulty. Many yoga sites offer sequences that can be practiced at home—research different yoga sequences to find a routine that offers the most benefits for individual needs and abilities.
For beginner yogis who want to dip a tiny toe into the meditative waters, try out a few different beginners poses to see what works best for the body. Try classic yoga poses like downward-facing dog, the Hare Pose, the Half-Moon Pose Left/Right, or the Cat Pose. These basic postures require little physical resistance. Remember, though, that when practicing yoga, the breath must be consistent. Breathe in through the nose and out through the mouth. Take deep cleansing breaths.
Once the body feels comfortable with easy and basic postures, try to incorporate a few challenging poses. Nothing advanced…be sure not to push the body too far. Yoga should be a relaxing and energy flowing experience. The body should not feel like an overstretched rubber band.
Try a few intermediate poses to mix in more challenging elements. The bow pose requires lying on the stomach, bending the knees so that the feet are reaching upwards, arching the back up and reaching the arms back to grasp the feet. Another simple, intermediate pose is the cobra pose. Lay flat on the stomach, push the arms up straight almost like the body is about to perform a push-up, and then gently arch the back with the head reclining backward. Keep the feet with toes down when performing this pose.
Individuals who wish to engage in a routine led by a professional instructor may still do so from the comfort of home. Online courses provide professionally-led instruction to gently teach beginning sequences of yoga. Some require subscriptions or a fee, while others are free.
However, for an individual to choose to practice at home, the benefits of yoga remain numerous for the body, mind, and soul. After a yoga sequence, the body and mind should feel refreshed and at ease. Namaste.