This CoachUp Q&A response post is geared towards a question about a specific type of exercise. “Do you have to be flexible to do yoga?” While the answer is a simple no, we figured that compiling some tips on how to begin yoga practice could help take some of the pressure off of diving in. Getting started on your yoga journey can be intimidating. Preexisting assumptions and intense images of highly skilled yogi’s shared online cause many to hesitate, but all it takes to get going is the first step.
Yoga practice allows individuals to continuously increase difficulty level and target different aspects of the exercise, but there are no rules as to what an individual must be capable of in order to get started. People of all ages, sizes, and previous experience have something to gain from including yoga practice in their routine. Committing to your first class is the best way to open the door to personal growth through yoga.
Tips for yoga beginners
Finding the class for you
When first starting yoga, it is best to try a few different classes. Depending on your goals, whether they be improving flexibility, losing weight, or refining your focus, there are a number of classes that you may feel drawn to. Some classes are dynamic and focus on burning calories, while others are designed to target specific muscles through holding positions for longer to achieve a deep stretch. Regardless of what you try first, it’s best to keep it simple with basic poses, allowing yourself to progress through your practice over time and limit frustration.
There is likely a gym or yoga studio somewhere nearby your house, but if not, there are plenty of online resources for yoga practice to become a daily part of your life at home. Subscription services for all levels of yoga are available online, and if those aren’t financially feasible, you can find a variety of classes for free on YouTube.
Stay committed to your goals
A lot of us get so comfortable in the normalcy of our everyday lives that introducing a new challenge to our routine can seem impossible. The mental benefits of meditative yoga practice are useful to everyone, and the physical gains that come with it are a secondary, organic benefit. Committing to yoga practice is a time consuming prospect, but if you wish to improve your physical and mental health, you won’t find a more well-rounded and accessible exercise. The challenges and failures that you will experience in your yoga journey may be frustrating, but remaining focused on your goals will help keep you committed to persistent practice that will make those goals attainable.
Allow yourself to fail
Yoga is meant to be a physical and mental challenge, and it is important to be prepared to fail. Falling down in yoga is a sign of growth, because it requires a risk to fall down. You have pushed yourself and discovered a new area for improvement if you end up on the ground. Mentally prepare, as well as you can, to fail and try again in your practice.
Focus on your breath
Yoga teachers persistently talk about controlling and focusing on breath, and that is something that you can even practice outside of your classes. It is a staple of yoga, and the primary meditative benefit to persistently working on your practice. When you can find peace and confidence through your breath in yoga, it becomes applicable to life elsewhere. Mentally attaching your breath to the feeling of meditation in yoga practice will help to allow this principle of the exercise to become available to you outside of your mat.
Prepare to be sore in new places
Expect to be sore in places you haven’t been before. As previously stated, you do not have to be flexible to do yoga. Rather, in doing yoga, you will become stronger and more flexible, but his will take time and consistency to achieve. Even the most basic of yoga poses are positions that beginners have likely never put themselves in, and although they don’t require great strength or flexibility to perform, your body will respond in ways that you will likely be unfamiliar with. Push through it and keep going!
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