Yoga is renowned for its ability to protect your joints, strengthen stabilizing muscles, and improve flexibility. But, did you know that a lot of its poses are isometric? That means classic moves like mountain and warrior 2 offer the muscle-activating benefits of iso exercises in addition to being calming, mentally grounding workouts.
So, since we’re right in the middle of Yoga Awareness month, we’re going with the flow and putting together a collection of yoga tips for beginners that want to start a class or at-home session on the right foot.
Don’t carbo-load before your yoga session. A full-stomach can turn uncomfortable real quick once you get into certain twists and poses. So, settle for a light snack or wait a couple of hours after a meal to start your poses.
Use Clothes that Breathe
Yoga clothes should let you move and breathe. So fight off the urge to wear baggy shirts; big sleeves can limit your range and positions like downward dog will cause those loose shirts to slide up! Opt for fitness shorts, tights, and form-fitting tops. And remember – no shoes or socks!
Yoga is as much a mental exercise as a physical one. So, as a mental warmup before your yoga session, take some time to slow your thoughts. A good technique is by focusing on some music or listening to your breath.
Let Your Instructor Know
Joining a yoga class for the first time? Always let your instructor know! Your instructor can help you with unfamiliar poses and steer you away from bad habits and beginner’s mistakes. Similarly, while it might seem more comfortable to stick to a spot in the back, it’s better for beginners to set their mat down where they can easily hear the teacher.
Remember Your Breath
Always sync your breath with your movements. Yoga should be performed with deep, controlled breaths, and poses are often held at the length of 3-4 breaths. If you find yourself holding your breath too long, or your breath is becoming too shallow or ragged, it may also be a sign that you’re not ready for this move yet.
Focus on Good Alignment
It’s not just your breath. Another main focus of yoga is alignment – basically, your posture and body positioning during a move. More specifically, it’s how your joints are positioned in relation to each other and how stable your form is. Essentially, good alignment is how you protect yourself from injury and maximize the effectiveness of each workout.
Make sure to check with your instructor, or consult with a yoga video guide that can walk you through your alignment. That being said…
Don’t Focus on What Other People Are Doing
Yoga is all about mindfulness – being aware of your body and being in the moment and present. So while we encourage you to take guidance from an instructor in a yoga class or a workout video, it’s best that you don’t compare yourself to other students. Everybody is different, and your focus should be on listening to your body and your breathing.
Not in a mood to start yoga through a group class? If a little yoga anxiety is preventing you from trying one of the most effective workouts ever, start your yoga journey at home with Activ5’s yoga-inspired workouts. Our Activ5 Training App (Android or iOS) will coach you through every move – and best of all – add an additional strength-training element to your yoga class.
All you gotta do is head to our Yoga/Pilates Section on the homepage and try our 9, calming, dynamic yoga workouts made for the mind and body. After that, get ready for some inner peace and outer strength!