The study and practice of yoga can be a lifelong journey. It can be huge, in the way it opens your mind and body. It can be intimate in the way it turns your focus inward. And, as with any journey, the first steps can be the most difficult. Below are the simple, first steps to take before starting your yoga journey:
- Check with your health care provider before starting this (or, any) exercise routine.
- Make the commitment to give yoga a chance! Do not quit after your first session. As instructors, we have seen new-to-yoga students become overwhelmed with learning yoga. That first lesson is full of unfamiliar poses, movement and terms. DO NOT BE DISCOURAGED! Take it slow, do only what you are comfortable doing and, most importantly, breathe.
- Set aside practice time. There is no “best” time to practice; only when it is best for you. (Jo is strongest in the morning, whereas Mel does best with evening yoga.) Your yoga practice should be a time when you can focus inward and on yourself. Quiet, uninterrupted time is needed. Fifteen minutes is helpful…but, an hour is better. Your practice time should be at least two hours after a meal.
- Wear comfortable, stretchy clothes that allow you unobstructed movement. Sweat pants and shirts will most likely become too warm and large, loose t-shirts will probably fall over your head in the inverted poses and get in your way, in general.
- Practice in bare feet.
- Remove jewelry.
- Choose a clean, preferably warm, unobstructed space to lay out a yoga mat or towel for your practice. Music is nice, but not necessary.
- Gather your yoga tools. A thin mat or non-slip towel is favorable to have between you and the floor. Other “props” include straps, blocks, bolsters and blankets. These additional props help in modifying poses to meet your individual needs. (We will cover these tools on a separate page.)
You can choose to practice yoga in a group or individually. Some like the dynamics of a group class, whereas others prefer the solitude of personal practice. We feel both settings have merit. As you learn to move through the poses safely, and with proper alignment, studying with a certified instructor is helpful. And, practicing in a classroom/fitness center atmosphere can be fun and supportive. However, developing your own, personal practice is very important. There are online guides, books, CD’s, DVD’s, podcasts and TV programming that can help you develop your personal practice.
In the following pages of W.O.W. YOGA, we hope to provide you with simple, easy to use guidelines, and lots of good, sound information to help you start…and, continue…your yoga journey.
Jo and Mel