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Yoga is so much more than just the physical postures and poses however for many people the physical asanas are the entryway into their yoga practice. While practicing your yoga postures, you should follow a few guidelines for your safety and comfort.
Yoga postures are generally broken up into six categories: warm-up, standing poses, backward bending poses, forward bending poses, inverted poses, rotated poses, and a final posture.
Yoga Posture and Pose Suggestions
- Don’t force or strain in any of the postures.
- If you feel uncomfortable, come out of the posture and rest. Do not wait until you start to feel pain.
- Remember to breath. Keep breaths steady. Many people hold their breath without even realizing it. This can strain the body.
- Keep a positive mindset. Don’t judge yourself and eliminate any negative self-talk. If you find a pose particularly difficult, go easy on yourself. The more you practice, the more you will advance.
- Accept yourself where you are. Yoga is not a competition. Some people are naturally more flexible than others. Listen to your body and do what feels good to you.
- Minimize short, jerky movements. Not only will your body tense up but you may injure yourself.
- Yoga is not just about the physical postures and benefits. As you relax into the position, release the tension in your body and in your mind.
- Close your eyes often. This usually blocks out distractions and helps you concentrate better.
- Be in the present. As you move through your practice, stay aware of how each pose feels, how your breath moves, what feelings you are feeling.
Yoga is not competitive. It’s beneficial no matter how far you can stretch.
If you decide to go to a yoga class, you will have a good grounding in some of the more popular and beneficial poses and postures. Rather than doing lots of different postures, it is better to do a few, do them well, and hold them for longer. But don’t exceed the timings given for each pose until you can hold the pose steady, comfortably, and mindfully.
Gradually begin to increase the time of holding. When you hold the poses, the benefits are increased and the mind calms down and becomes more concentrated. Remember, happiness comes from within. Feeling good comes from within. Don’t rush from one posture to another. Take time to enjoy the ones that feel good and do them well.
If possible, before you begin your session, take a few moments to sit quietly and allow the mind to calm down. Leave behind all of the stresses and strains of the day (if you are practicing in the evening.) Focus your awareness in the present moment. Take a deep breath. Let it out with a sigh and a sense of letting go of all physical and mental tension.
After a minute or so, begin to warm up the body. Taking time to warm up the body will help to prevent injury and strain and allow you to be more flexible in the postures.
Yoga is not about being better than everyone else. There is no need to be competitive, even with yourself. Work on your own ability, accepting and being content with whatever that is. No matter which postures you do, you are bringing tremendous benefits to your body, energy levels, emotions, mind, and spirit.
Practice makes Better (not perfect)
Regular practice improves your discipline. Start out by practicing just one posture a day. Do the one pose every day, preferably at the same time. It’s easier to build a regular habit by starting with something that is achievable. Once you can regularly do your one posture, you can begin to add in others. Take your time to discover how the body feels and responds to the various postures as you add in more. We can sometimes learn a lot about ourselves by noticing how we react to certain postures.
The body is a reflection of the mind. Yoga teaches us to understand the body, leading to a greater understanding of the mind. Develop a flexible body and enjoy the development of a flexible mind. A mind that can adapt, adjust, and accommodate different people and situations with ease.
No matter where, where, or how you start…be sure to have fun and enjoy yourself!
If you’d like to learn more about starting with yoga, I recommend this Yoga for Beginners book. There are a lot of tips to help you get started with your practice.