You may be seeking to strengthen your body after illness or pregnancy, or perhaps you are simply hoping to add another element to your fitness regime. Whatever reason you have, yoga can be a fantastic form of exercise for both body and mind. From your lounge to your back garden, the conservatory to a local park, you can practise yoga almost anywhere you feel relaxed.
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What is special about yoga?
Yoga is considered by many as meditation on the move. There are many different types of yoga; one for everyone perhaps. After a stressful day, a session of yoga can help to relax both your body and your mind, allowing your troubles to melt away. Some people attribute yoga to their mental stability. Others claim it has allowed them to rebalance after a troubling time in terms of their mental health.
What equipment do I need?
You need very little to practise yoga at home. Quite simply, comfortable clothes and a mat will suffice. An outfit similar to one that you would wear for the gym would be perfect. However, sports trainers are not necessary as most choose to do yoga with bare feet. Access to a mobile phone or television could also be useful. If you are a beginner, try watching YouTube videos to ensure you are getting the body shapes and positions correct. Alternatively, there are apps you can download where you can see the correct posture and also record your progress as you move from beginner to intermediate or even advanced.
How do I get started?
Make some space in a room where you are unlikely to face disruption. Ensure you have plenty of space – the length of your yoga mat plus a little extra will suffice. Get yourself dressed appropriately and give it a go.
Typically, you will find that most yoga sessions will incorporate the following.
The opening poses of a yoga session serve mainly to awaken the major muscle groups. Additionally, they allow you to put the worries and strains of your day to one side and focus on yourself instead. Furthermore, they allow you to practise the important breathing techniques. To begin with, you may find that breathing in the yoga way seems unnatural. However, once you get used to it, you will reap the benefits. The more confident and experienced you become, you may decide to focus the opening poses on one or two areas in particular. For example, hip-opening or chest-opening poses.
These moves combine breathing and movement to warm you up and energise your entire being. These moves tend to be somewhat hypnotic and therefore serve to calm your overactive mind. Additionally, they help to prepare you for the rest of the yoga session.
Standing poses may feel a little strange to begin with. However, they are vital to achieving your yoga-based goals. These poses aim to improve the strength, stamina and flexibility of your whole body. They incorporate all of the major muscle groups: quadriceps, glutes, hamstrings and core. It is worthwhile adding at least four different standing poses into your yoga routine.
Inversions are simply upside-down movements. Simply is perhaps the wrong word choice as inversions tend to be the most challenging and energetic aspect of a yoga routine. Headstands and handstands are two examples. Once yoga has been fully embedded in your life, you will certainly see progress fairly quickly with these difficult moves.
Backbends can be equally demanding in effort as inversions. Many people’s lifestyles involve a lot of sitting down and these moves help to combat the negative effects of this. Backbends tend to offer a high level of stimulation and so, when in need of some energy, try incorporating one or two extras into your regime.
Twists and forward bends are important aspects of a proper yoga session in preparing for the session coming to a close. They are similar to stretching on a morning in the way your body responds to them.
Around 5 to 10 minutes ought to be spent on these final yoga poses. They calm the body and mind, ready to return to normal life in a much more relaxed and peaceful state.
What if I find it too difficult?
Many people find that attending a yoga class allows them the confidence and ability to continue practising it when at home. However, going to a class in itself can be a big step. Try to encourage a friend or family member to join you.
Alternatively, you could also consider hiring a private yoga tutor who would come to your home or an environment in which you feel at ease. They will support you to form the correct body positions and guide you through the tricky part of breathing correctly.