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How To Start Yoga
By Suja Johnkutty
Sitting at a desk all day going through multiple projects took its toll on my body. Not only was it difficult for me to ignore work when I got home, but my back was stiff, my legs were sore, and I felt uncomfortable in my skin.
As I was introduced to yoga at home, a whole new world opened up to me. Not only did doing daily yoga help my body stiffness, but it calmed my mind and allowed me to relax. I look forward to my yoga sessions every day.
Yoga doesn’t have to be complicated or confusing; you can quickly start your yoga routine at home. Find out how.
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What Is Yoga?
Yoga is a practice of the mind and body and has over 5000 years of history to back it up. Yoga is a great way to enhance your mind and body. Modern yoga is derived from South East Asia and has made its way around the world as a form of exercise and meditation.
Reasons You Should Start Yoga At Home
Yoga has a long history of being good for you. However, instead of attending a class, you can do yoga in the comfort of your own home. Here are three primary reasons yoga at home is a good idea.
In your daily asana yoga practice, self-knowledge is an important concept. The idea is dispersed across two levels. One the first, less profound level, it knows your physical, emotional, and mental limitation as well as your strengths that help you to make your yoga practice more effective.
On a deeper level, it is self-knowledge that originates from your spiritual growth. Through the regular practice of yoga and through observing your mind and body without judging yourself, you will become less concerned with the obvious things around, and more tuned in to your inner self.
At the heart of self-knowledge, you understand yourself and are aware of what makes you a unique individual. Your self is apart of your higher self. As a result of self-knowledge, you gain enlightenment and spiritual liberation.
To achieve self-knowledge, it is a good idea to include meditation to your daily yoga practice along with mantras and mudras (symbolic gestures).
To truly see yourself, you need to focus on yourself. Though the concept may seem foreign and selfish, it isn’t. Yoga helps induce self-help because it makes you aware of yourself and where improvements can be made.
Yoga is about healing yourself through self-discovery. Ultimately, this will lead to self-acceptance. The idea of self-help is a transformation practice that allows you to strengthen your internal life force. Through yoga at home, you can learn how to have a more balanced life.
Yoga at home will help you find emotion and mental stability as well as improving your physical self. You will sleep better, be more mindful, and take better care of yourself.
Practicing yoga provides you with the self-help you need to overcome all the external and also internal obstacles that are apart of our everyday lives.
As you begin with yoga, it is easy to focus on yourself and what makes you happy quickly. However, the idea behind it in yoga is that you learn about yourself so that you can have more stability inwardly, which makes you a better person outwardly.
The concept of self-indulgence is that you are learning about yourself so that you can be a better person for others. If you are kind to yourself, you will be helpful to others. Likewise, if you forgive yourself, you will forgive others. Your yoga sessions are your time to be entirely self-indulgent.
Yoga teaches you self-realization and how to balance your life in a way that provides you with the things that please you as well as making your pleasure for others. The ultimate focus of yoga is to help you be a better person that is well rounded both for yourself and others.
There are many different physical benefits of yoga that most are aware of. However, you might be less aware of the mental and spiritual side of yoga. As you practice yoga at home, you are learning to look within yourself and see where improvements can be made.
Not only will you grow physically stronger, but you will also become mentally stronger. You will find that the exponential growth of your entire life will help you to face any obstacle that happens around you. The increase will take place both internally and externally.
When you practice yoga daily, then you start to experience that exponential growth you are aiming for. This growth will come naturally as you get better.
Health Benefits Of Daily Yoga
Practicing yoga daily provides you with several desirable health benefits. Not only do you grow mentally and spiritually stronger, but your body and overall life will benefit too.
Improve Flexibility and Strength
Yoga daily helps you to stretch and tone your muscles. Doing popular poses like planking helps to improve your strength in several areas, including arms, abs, and shoulders. As you advance in your yoga practice, you will find that you are becoming more flexible and stronger.
Daily practicing yoga can help you lose weight. How this works is that through even gentle yoga poses, you are fueling the metabolic system that helps you lose weight by burning internal body fat. Additionally, yoga helps to balance out pesky hormones that could be interfering with your weight loss efforts.
We all know that stress can have negative consequences on our overall health. I started practicing yoga because I needed a way to reduce the typical, day to day stress in my own life. Practicing yoga daily can help you to deal with stress better as well as physically lowering your heart rate.
A few minutes of yoga daily can help to provide you with that needed energy boost. As you go about your busy life, practicing yoga can help you focus better and keep you fresher for longer. Though the unique synergy of your body and breath work, yoga wakes up those sleeping energy centers of your body.
Deep breathing and calm breathing are essential parts of practicing yoga. The breathing techniques of yoga (pranayama) helps you to focus on slowing your breath and breathing more deeply. Instead of quick breaths, you learn to breathe from the pit of your stomach. Doing so helps you to breathe better and feel more relaxed.
Doing some yoga poses will help you feel stronger and happier as a person. The emotional strength that you gain through the practice of daily yoga results in your serotonin levels increasing. Serotonin is the hormone that controls happiness. Furthermore, those who practice yoga long-term tend to be more content.
Have a look at this video that scientifically speaks on what changes occur in your body when you practice yoga.
How To Design A Home Yoga Practice
To reap the benefits of yoga at home, you need to set up a home yoga practice. Once you are ready, you can begin to enjoy the experience that leads to exponential growth, as I have.
Step 1: Start with Quiet
Before you begin your yoga session in any particular pose, you want to start in a comfortable position. The ideal beginning positions are either seated or the corpse pose. Beginning with stillness is a way for your body to communicate with your mind and for them both to feel.
Once you begin in a quiet and none-physical way, then you can start your sessions. Use the quiet time to decide what to do next.
Step 2: Choose Where to go Next
After you have taken the time to understand how you are feeling, you will then know where to go. Begin in one direction and continue to move as though your body is fluid. You can start with downward dog or a warrior pose. Whichever direction you choose to go is fine, pick one.
Step 3: Set an Intention
The idea of setting an intention is a metaphor for your life after you complete your session. What this intention does is allows you to use yoga as transportation to your life. Setting an intention makes yoga a part of your life rather than just an exercise session.
This intention helps to direct your attention to the quality that you wish to cultivate. This quality is something you want to use both on and off your yoga mat. By setting that intention, you are building a bridge between what you focus on before and after your yoga session and the session itself.
Step 4: When and Where to Practice
Where you practice, your yoga will have a direct impact on how effective the session is. Additionally, the same can be said for when. The best times for practicing yoga are either sunrise or sunset. You also want to do so at least six hours after you have eaten.
Optimally, the absolute best time to practice yoga is during Brahma Muhurta. Brahma Muhurta time is exactly one hour and 36 minutes before sunrise.
Where you want to practice is a quiet and calm place. You want to choose a section of your home that is free from clutter.
Step 5: How to Keep Going, No Matter What
When you begin something new, staying motivated is difficult. Setting up your home yoga area is only part of the battle. Make yoga a part of your morning routine or evening routine. Don’t make yoga an option, work it into your schedule, no matter how busy you are.
The only way to stay motivated to do yoga at home is to listen to yourself and exploring what you want and your creativity. If that isn’t enough, enlist someone in your home to do yoga with. Doing yoga with a partner will help to keep you accountable.
Start with Intention and Meditation
Before beginning your yoga session, you want to start by achieving intention through meditation. Meditation is training your awareness and helping you get a healthy perspective. Meditation is the act of trying to observe your thoughts and feelings without judging them.
Once you achieve meditation, you can then focus on your intention.
Read About the Different Types of Yoga
There is more than one type of yoga. Therefore, you want to familiarize yourself with the different types to pick the one that is best for you. Hatha Yoga is an excellent type of yoga to begin because of the slower motion.
The more challenging yoga is Vinyasa and Ashtanga. Furthermore, there is hot yoga and power yoga. You need to determine which is best for you and with what space you have at home.Check out this video that explains different types of yoga.
Learn How to Breathe
Breathing is vital in yoga. Each breath is purposeful. Mastering breathing can help improve your health and relax you significantly. Therefore, you want to learn how to breathe in slow and purposeful ways.Through proper breathing techniques, you can decrease your blood pressure and hypertension.
Figure Out What You Need
Yoga doesn’t take any special equipment. However, there are a few things you are going to want. A mat or towel is something you are going to want. Additionally, you can get a yoga block and maybe a yoga strap or a belt.
What you need is dependent on the type of yoga you are planning on doing.
Think About What to Wear
You don’t want to wear everyday clothes for yoga. You want to be as comfortable as possible. Getting a pair of yoga pants and a light t-shirt are great clothes for starting yoga. You might choose to use a tank top and shorts instead.
Consider Where to Take a Class
If you don’t feel comfortable starting yoga at home, taking a class is a good option. Take the time to figure out what types of yoga classes are available near you and what kind of atmosphere they have. You want to choose a yoga class that is going to be comfortable and make you feel safe.
Brush Up on Class Etiquette
For the most part, yoga etiquette is pretty straight forward. You want to respect yourself, fellow students, and of course, your instructor. However, you don’t want to ignore the little things that can interrupt a successful yoga session. Remember to turn your phone ringer off and stay in class until the very end.
End with Shavasana
Shavasana is the relaxation pose. By ending with Shavasana, you are taking the time to absorb the impact of your yoga session and asses how your session went. You can then determine what you liked, what you didn’t like, and what changes to make for next time.
Practicing yoga is highly personal. What you consider to be a good yoga session is not always the case for others. Therefore, you want to be sure that you listen to your own body and set your limits on what is safe and what isn’t for you.
Don’t try more advanced yoga poses just because you want to show off. Know your physical limitations before trying crows or handstands. You need to pace yourself and give yourself time before moving forward with more advanced positions.
Finally, there are ways to modify simple poses if you have physical limitations. Make sure you do the poses in a way that won’t hurt you. Likewise, don’t do longer sessions if you aren’t ready for it. Build yourself up, and soon, you will find yourself doing yoga like a pro.
Common Yoga Myths
There are a lot of myths surrounding yoga. It is good to debunk these before you begin so that you know exactly what you are doing.
Myth 1: You have to be flexible to practice yoga
That isn’t true. It is by doing yoga that you gain flexibility. Don’t worry if you aren’t very flexible. You don’t have to be to start practicing yoga at home.
Myth 2: Yoga is a religion
Yoga does have a spiritual element to it, but it is not a religion. Yoga roots are founded on various religious practices, but in and of itself, yoga isn’t a religion.
Myth 3: You have to be thin and beautiful to practice yoga
No. It does not matter what you look like, how much you weigh, or otherwise. Yoga is personal and what you accomplish during yoga is dependent on your inner self, not what you look like. Yoga is for everyone.
Myth 4: Yoga poses are embarrassing
It’s true that you might feel that way in a class. However, you should keep in mind that everyone is focused on their self-awareness and aren’t focused on what you look like doing yoga poses.
When I needed to relax and escape the pressures of day to day life, I started to do yoga. You don’t need any special equipment or to attend a class to do yoga. You can do yoga at home in the comfort and privacy of your own space at the time of your choosing.
Starting yoga at home will put you on the path to exponential growth individually, spiritually, mentally, and physically. What are you waiting for?
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Suja is the recharge coach for busy to burned out professionals helping them multiply their better relaxation time . She is trained in both neurology and psychiatry and is a high-performance coach. Her specialty is helping professionals overcome burnout, apathy and income stagnation. Her clients benefit from powerful mindset techniques, wellness practices and tactical guidance , so they go from feeling empty and broke to creating happiness in their lives. This means showing up more fully for themselves, their patients or clients and their families, while working well-paying, fulfilling, REASONABLE hours. She’s living proof.