Yoga: Tips for Beginners

by Sumukhi Kristina Lanuza

I’ve been on this Yoga path for a while now but I always like to take it back to the Beginner’s mind, back to basics, back to simplicity.  I’ll never forget the first few yoga classes I took and how it all felt somehow familiar and yet, new.  So here are some tips for those of you getting into Hatha Yoga for the first time.

SeatedMeditation

1) Don’t be afraid to ask the teacher questions before and after class.  A little eye contact and communication goes a long way.

2) Wear comfortable clothes which you don’t mind being flipped over in.  Many of the Hatha and Vinyasa (flow) yoga classes will have you in the famous downward facing dog posture and other inverted yoga positions that will flip your shirt and shorts over so be mindful of what you wear!  Anything that fits snugly to the body is good.

3) Child’s pose – balasana is your friend.  You can use it as a time-out posture or to rest in between Vinyasa sequences.  How to do balasana:  from hands and knees, roll your buttocks back to your heels, widen the knees apart, place the chest on the floor, extend your arms forward, palms on the floor and rest your forehead on your sticky mat.

Kapotasana - supine pigeon pose

Kapotasana – supine pigeon pose

4) You do end up with your face on your sticky mat for certain yoga postures, so it may be good to bring your own yoga mat.  Most yoga studios and gyms rent yoga mats out and clean them quite often for guests, but it’s nice to have the comfort of your own mat for frequent use.

Sasangasana - Rabbit Pose

Sasangasana – Rabbit Pose

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Some of these face-on-floor asana (pronounced AAAh-sana means yoga posture or “seat” in Sanskrit, the original language of yoga) examples are included.  Rabbit pose (pictured) starts from child’s pose and has you rolling up to the top of your head.  Supine pigeon pose (also pictured) has one leg tucked under, and the other extended behind you, with hands extended out and face on the sticky mat.

5) A Hatha yoga class is typically divided up into 3 sections – or gunas – “modes of energy”:

a) Tamas – the first part of class is usually focused on getting you out of “tamas” or “laziness” and grounding you into your body.

b) Rajas – “great energy” or firey and powerful:  the middle part of class is focused on movement and energizing the body.  You will do more cardiovascular, strengthening and stretching exercises at this point in class.

c) Sattvic – the last part of a typical Hatha yoga class is designed to get you into a more meditative and serene state of being.  “Sattva” is your most calm and peaceful sense of self.  You will typically do Shavasana or corpse pose with guided relaxation and meditation.

7) Don’t be afraid to use props such as blocks, blankets, bolsters and straps.  As you can see from the photos in this article, the students use blocks to help align and support the body.
supported.Chaturanga.Dandasana

There are so many forms and techniques of Yoga available now.  So it’s really good to ask the yoga studio, gym or class instructor what you should expect out of the class – will you expect to sweat?  will you relax?  will you meditate?  Or will you experience a combination of all these things?

A great beginners class will give you a little bit of everything – a good workout with a lot of relaxation and peace.

It should help you appreciate that which you take for granted, like your breath and your body.  It should help you feel more at ease with the world.

But if difficult stuff comes up for you – as a lot can arise when we first practice yoga – allow it all.  As Caroline Myss says – our “biography becomes our biology.”  The practices of yoga can bring out unconscious emotions, thoughts, feelings, sensations buried in your tissues, bones, muscles.  Be patient with all of it.  Keep up the practice.  As you uncover layers of your Self, the Yogis promise you will find supreme Joy and Bliss. But don’t just take my word for it. Yoga is a science. Practice it and see for yourself.

Namaste (I bow to you),
Sumukhi

Life-long learning happens everyday, from yoga to technology.  This article was inspired by Bob Clary from Webucator.  Webucator provides onsite and online training on technologies such as Microsoft ASP.NET, XML, Windows, Java, Adobe Flash, HTML5, JavaScript, Dreamweaver, and much more. Webucator has trained more then 49,999 students from over 13,079 organizations.  This month, learn Microsoft Powerpoint for FREE.

 

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