If you are looking for a hobby that combines mental and physical exercise, yoga is the right fit. Starting any hobby can seem a bit daunting, especially if you don't have all the information you need.
This guide will let you in on everything you need to know to get started as a yogi.
Before we get into it, let's talk about what exactly yoga is all about. Yoga has its roots in the Eastern spiritual philosophies. Over time it has been adopted into mainstream culture as a form of exercise.
If you were to ask five different people what yoga is about, you might get five unique answers. This is because as yoga has evolved, many people have adapted it in several ways.
That said, regardless of its many variations, at the heart of yoga is a mind and body exercise that helps to relieve stress and improve strength and stamina.
Here are some examples of yoga styles to choose from:
Since there are different ways and styles of practicing yoga, it might take you a few tries to find the perfect one that fits your needs.
As a beginner, it's best to pick a newbie-friendly style. Usually, the best options for a beginner yogi is to have less complicated poses and move slowly. For instance, Hatha yoga is an excellent slow-paced option for beginners.
You will have to put in some research on any style of yoga first to see if it's compatible with freshman yogis.
Yoga is one of the best hobby options you can take up if you are looking to live a fulfilled life. Here's why:
Yoga teaches breathing and meditation techniques that help to manage stress and reduce anxiety. It focuses on mindfulness that will allow you to look at everyday stressors from a different perspective.
Practicing yoga will help you become more inward-looking and in touch with your inner self and be aware of your actions. It will help you feel more relaxed and better able to handle anything that life throws your way.
Because yoga promotes mindfulness, it will help you avoid following subconscious triggers that make you numb pain instead of dealing with it.
Yoga will help you become aware of what you eat, and you will not end up using food as an escape.
Besides that, yoga will also help you focus on what your body and soul are looking for, so you won't end up using chemicals or other drugs to deal with emotional pain.
Health experts trace several chronic illnesses such as obesity, heart disease, and diabetes to chronic stress. Through yoga, you will learn the art of remaining calm during stress.
You will practice techniques that make you relaxed no matter what is going on around you. This will help to provide several health benefits and ward off chronic stress-related illnesses.
Specific yoga postures will train your body to move in unfamiliar ways. This will improve the flexibility of your body and joints. Yoga has the added benefits of preventing health conditions that affect the joints like arthritis.
Through the several exercises, you will do during yoga; you will strengthen your muscles, helping your body deal with chronic back pain and other such problems.
If you're looking to lose weight, yoga has quite a reputation in that regard. Yoga helps to promote mindful eating, which will help to stop cravings and emotional eating.
Not only that, but it's a metabolism stimulating activity that will enable your body to burn fat faster.
It will also help to take your energy levels much higher; that way, exercise won't make you as tired as it would otherwise.
Yoga is a hobby suitable for everyone. The young and the old alike can find age-appropriate yoga exercises. It doesn't matter what your day job is; you can still practice yoga and get all of its many benefits.
Athletes can use yoga to tone their bodies and improve muscle strength flexibility. If your work involves sitting at the computer all day, yoga is a great idea to control your weight.
It's an excellent activity for the whole family to bond and connect. Parents and their children or couples can do it together to improve their intimacy.
Pregnant women will also benefit from yoga to relieve back pain. It's a fabulous hobby for both men and women.
All these exercises involve twisting and turning of some sort. While these may all sound foreign to the beginner, you will soon get the hang of it.
Some yoga practitioners will incorporate meditation into their routines to complete the experience. That might make you wonder if yoga is at all spiritual.
Well, it may have some spiritual concepts, but it's not all spiritual or religious in any way.
Whether it's practiced spiritually or not depends on the instructor and the style of yoga. With that in mind, you have to do some research before you commit.
A complete yoga session will be anything from 30 to 90 minutes.
If you don't have the time to commit to long sessions every day, just 15 minutes of daily yoga will give you all the great benefits of this hobby.
You don't need any specialized equipment to get started; just your yoga mat will do. As you progress in your hobby, you will begin to learn new techniques and add more specialized equipment to your yoga routine.
The good thing about yoga equipment is that it's not too expensive. For less than $200 you can get all the items that you need.
Here are some of the things you will need to do yoga.
To practice yoga, you will need loose-fitting clothing that gives you comfort and does not restrict your movements. When you are doing the exercises, you need to be able to move as freely as possible.
Pants that stretch are perfect. The goal is to be as comfortable as possible. You can also opt for shorts if you wish. Just remember, whatever you put on should be flexible enough, so jeans are entirely out of the question.
You need to pick a close hugging stretchy top so when you do bend-over poses, it won't go over your head. Avoid clothes with loose strings that can entangle you when you move around.
You can also get a pair of nonslip yoga socks. However, you may not need these because you can do yoga barefoot.
Some of the exercises that you would do in yoga involve sitting or lying on the floor. To make it as comfortable as possible, you will need a yoga mat that is soft enough to provide padding, so you don't hurt yourself.
If you don't have a yoga mat when you start, you can still use a blanket or a very thick towel. However, this will not give you the same nonslip protection as a yoga mat would. So, it's best to get yourself a yoga mat.
Manufacturers make yoga mats from varied materials. Most of them are made of rubber, PVC, and TPE. Some are more durable and offer better slip protection than others.
So, before you buy, ask which material it's made from and do some research.
If you're finding it hard to move or flex, you can use props to keep you in particular positions that are difficult.
Some yoga props include:
There are several brands of props available. Prices will depend on where you buy and the quality of the item.
Here are some of the places you can find yoga props:
When you take up this yoga hobby, you can do it at home or under an instructor.
There are many places where you can get a yoga instructor and a group you can join to practice yoga, for instance, health clubs, gyms, recreational centers, and yoga studios.
Each place will have a different instructor, routine, and etiquette, so it's essential to do your research before committing.
You also have the option of doing yoga on your own at home. Here are some of the ways you can learn yoga at home:
You can get instructional books that provide step by step explanation of what you need to do. Such books can be acquired at your local library or online.
The books will help you learn and practice at your own pace, and you can always refer back when you don't understand.
You are bound to find several yogis in various online communities and social media forums.
To get started at home, you can join some of these communities to ask questions and get feedback from other people.
Another way to learn yoga is to buy yoga tutorials. There are many different tutorials from yoga instructors which you can choose from.
Not all instructors who claim to teach yoga will know what they're doing, so it's always best to look at the reviews before buying. Most importantly, check if the tutorial videos have a money-back option.
If you enroll in an online course, it will teach you the steps you need to take and how to do yoga. Once you get the hang of it, you can choose to follow the course steps or modify them to come up with your own style.
Here are a couple of courses you can check out:
Courses will vary in price and accessibility. Remember, when you are checking out an online course, compare the following:
As with everything else in life, a good healthy balanced diet is the key to keeping yourself in shape. Yoga is no different. While it helps to exercise your body, you won't benefit much if you are stuffing yourself with the wrong foods.
That said, you will have to make a couple of shifts on your diet when you are doing yoga. You will have to avoid eating fatty foods for a few hours (up to 3) before doing yoga.
If you do yoga on a full stomach, you're going to find it hard to do many of the poses, especially all the twisting. Not to mention you might feel sick from all the contorting.
If you have to eat, then pick something light to make it easier for you to do the postures. As you practice yoga, you will find yourself becoming more conscious of the food you eat, where you get it from, and what it can do for your body.
So, you don't have to change your diet to do yoga. However, yoga might transform your diet.
There's no specific time that is best for yoga. You can do it anytime that suits your schedule.
Most studios will have classes that run throughout the day to cater to different people.
There are very few chances of getting hurt. Most instructors and tutors will follow a process that starts you slow and builds up to the complex routines.
However, you should listen to your body and not push yourself too hard. You may need to take breaks or ask your instructor to modify some poses for you if you feel pain.
Most importantly, you shouldn't rush into poses or routines that can hurt or be too hard on you if you are just starting.
While the poses may look easy enough, it takes time to build the strength needed to perform the complicated poses.
Do a little digging into some of the poses. You don't need to learn how to do it at this stage; just find out some of the names and which style of yoga they belong to. You can also look at the pictures of people in this pose.
Researching is a great idea to help you choose the yoga style you feel works best for you. On top of that, it will help you get familiar with the moves, so you won't be completely lost when you give it a go.
If you are going to a class for the first time, let the instructor know that you are new. You should tell them if you have any concerns, if you are expecting or if you have any pain such as back pain.
Giving the instructor a heads up will help them pay particular attention to your needs and help you out better.
If you don't understand anything, ask, and then ask some more. If your instructor will allow it, ask in the middle of the class. If not, you can wait until class is over and then pose your questions.
When you are just starting, inquire as much as you can to get into it quicker. Additionally, make it a priority to learn from others who have done it longer.
You won't be able to take a bathroom break when the class starts, so it's best to go beforehand. It can be uncomfortable if you bend on a full bladder.
If you are in a class full of other yogis, you will face the temptation to look over what others are doing. But for best results, the only people you should be worried about are yourself and the instructor.
Why can't I glance over and copy some moves? Well, that's because you can't focus on your breathing if your eyes are darting all over the room.
You are going to make mistakes and get corrected; that's okay. You might even topple over a few times until you get the hang of the poses. Don't let this discourage you.
Instead, enjoy the learning process. You will not become a pro yogi on the first attempt, so allow yourself to have some fun while you learn.
If you are not very flexible, you can use a chair for extra support. It will come in handy when you are attempting the more challenging poses.
To keep up with your yoga when you travel or to browse some moves while you are at work, you can download a yoga app. Here are some apps you can try:
Choosing the best-fit yoga style takes some time and trial and error. To get it right, you may have to try out a few yoga styles before you settle for one.
Therefore, it's a great idea to opt for free video tutoring trials while you decide.
So, there you have it; all you need to get started as a yogi.
Yoga is a fulfilling hobby with amazing benefits, suitable for everyone. You don't need much to start, and as such, it will not set you back too much.
You can find an online course, download an app, or join a class and get started. You will soon be on your way to living a healthier, happier life.