Yoga gives fantastic benefits for health and overall well-being of the practitioners. Different yoga styles have shown to accompany different health benefits. For instance, increased hatha yoga has shown to reduce the Body Mass Index (BMI) and medication use for yoga practitioners.
With so many different styles and their varied physical demands, it can get a little tricky to know where to start from. The good news is that this post has been written in keeping in mind the beginners to help them in deciding the perfect fit yoga for them and also, it outlines the need-to-know before you go yoga.
- 1. Make a choice
- 2. Get toasty
- 3. Eat light
- 4. Go bare
- 5. At your own pace
- 6. Do like a dog
- 7. Speak out
- 8. Hot Bikram Yoga
- 9. Drink up before
- 10. Yoga for life
- 11. Get intense with Ashtanga Yoga
- 12. Hold the pose with Iyengar
- 13. Stay unstimulated
- 14. Don’t push it
- 15. All or nothing
- 16. Keep at it
- 17. Have a Hatha
- 18. Hang loose
- 19. Stay balanced
- 20. Running on empty
1. Make a choice
Read up on different types of yoga before you pick one that is right for you. For most complete beginners, a hatha or vinyasa class will be most appropriate as they are least demanding physically. If you’re looking for learning more about yoga, always go for a certified yoga instructor.
2. Get toasty
If you’re meditating at the end of a yoga or pilates session, make sure you keep yourself warm with a blanket or shawl. Being still and reducing heart rate with deep breathing at exertion can cause the body temperature to drop, and that will reduce your ability to relax.
3. Eat light
Don’t have a big meal before a yoga class as this could affect your energy levels and give you a cramp. Aim to eat a light meal a few hours before the class is due to start and drink water to stay hydrated.
4. Go bare
It’s best to take off socks and shoes and to practice yoga in bare feet, as many of the postures involve your feet being aligned properly and being aware of the ground. If your feet get cold you can wear socks during relaxation, though.
5. At your own pace
Whenever you’re doing exercises at home like stretching, pilates or yoga, pay attention to pain. Do things at your own pace and never be tempted to push yourself too far to keep up with someone else.
6. Do like a dog
The Downward Dog Yoga Position (with hands flat on the floor, fret flat or heels pressing down towards the floor and bottom in the air to form a triangle) is great for clearing your head of stressful thoughts. It helps reduce blockages in the neck and shoulders and allows blood flow to the brain.
7. Speak out
The first time you attend a yoga class make sure you tell the teacher and, if possible, choose a place near to them so that they can keep an eye on you.
8. Hot Bikram Yoga
Bikram Yoga is a series of exercises practiced in a heated room. As you can imagine. A vigorous yoga session at high temperatures promotes profuse sweating arid loosening of muscles. It is said to be cleansing and to rid the body of toxins but it is not for beginners. Make sure you drink plenty of water before and after the class and don’t eat for two hours beforehand.
9. Drink up before
Because yoga is designed to have beneficial effects to your internal organs as well as the muscles and bones of your body, it’s a good idea not to drink water during class – but make sure you top up before and after.
10. Yoga for life
A holistic therapy, yoga heals the mind, body and spirit. Yoga means “yoke” or ‘union” in Sanskrit and its aim is to integrate all the various aspects of your life so that our mind and body work together.
11. Get intense with Ashtanga Yoga
If you’re an active person who enjoys exercise, Ashtanga Yoga might be the right choice as it is an intense style based on constant movement, or flow, from one pose to the next. Attend a beginner’s class first.
12. Hold the pose with Iyengar
If you are a naturally precise person, you will probably enjoy Iyengar Yoga, which is a style based on postural alignment that concentrates on holding poses for a long time.
13. Stay unstimulated
If you’re new to yoga, the effects can be fairly dramatic. Avoid energizing and stimulating postures like the Sun Salutation and Standing Warrior Poses in the evening. Try practicing slow forward bends and the Prone Corpse Pose, which creates a deep state of relaxation.
14. Don’t push it
While it’s natural and often helpful to look around you in a yoga class to see what everyone else is doing, don’t worry if they seem to be able to do more than you. Everyone’s bodies are naturally different and it’s dangerous to try and push yourself. You’ll feel the benefit whatever your level.
15. All or nothing
If you are the type to throw yourself into something wholeheartedly, choose Sivananda Yoga, a form of hatha, which is based upon the five principles of proper exercise, breathing, relaxation, a vegetarian diet and meditation.
16. Keep at it
You will probably feel a bit stiff or sore after your first yoga class, especially if you don’t take regular exercise, but stick at it for a few weeks before you decide not to go back, you’ll be amazed at how quickly your body adapts.
17. Have a Hatha
If you’re a naturally relaxed person who likes taking things slowly, a Hatha Yoga class is probably for you as it’s likely to have a slow pace and provide a good introduction to basic poses and breathing exercises.
18. Hang loose
If you’re practicing yoga at home, even if you’re a beginner, be sure to wear clothes that allow for freedom of movement but which are not so baggy that they could restrict flow. Lycra and cottons work well.
19. Stay balanced
If you’re trying yoga poses that involve balance, put a “focus” object a few meters (yards) away from you to fix your gaze on as you balance. A painting or photo at eye level is best, but a plant or even a pile of clothes will do.
20. Running on empty
Dedicated yogis will only perform exercises on an empty stomach, but there’s no real evidence that this makes it easier or gives greater benefits. As with any form of exercise, however, it’s sensible to avoid doing anything strenuous straight after a large meal.
References:  N Moliver, EM Mika, MS Chartrand, SWM Burrus, RE Haussmann, and SBS Khalsa. Increased Hatha yoga experience predicts lower body mass index and reduced medication use in women over 45 years. Int J Yoga. 2011 Jul-Dec; 4(2): 77–86. doi: 10.4103/0973-6131.85490. ^Back to Top^  Sokal K, Sokal P. Earthing the human body influences physiologic processes. J Altern Complement Med. 2011 Apr;17(4):301-8. doi: 10.1089/acm.2010.0687. Epub 2011 Apr 6. ^Back to Top^  Catherine Woodyard. Exploring the therapeutic effects of yoga and its ability to increase quality of life. Int J Yoga. 2011 Jul-Dec; 4(2): 49–54. doi: 10.4103/0973-6131.85485. PMCID: PMC3193654. ^Back to Top^
Last Updated: May 22, 2014
Next Scheduled Update: Jul 22, 2014