Yoga: Why Should I Care and How Do I Get Started?
Oh no, not another yoga-related article…I know, I know, you’ve probably been told one time or another that you HAVE to try yoga. Assuming you’ve come across articles and images shouting at you about how great yoga is, you're probably aware of just how many people are singing yoga's praises. Guess what? Those people are right; yoga is pretty great. In this brief post we won’t focus too much on listing what makes it a beneficial hobby, we'll let you google that, but more importantly what can be done today to get the ball rolling (or, get the yoga mat unrolling, ha!).
The first thing we need to understand prior to getting started is that yoga is simply meditation in motion. This entails connecting your body and mind through various exercises, with an emphasis on proper breathing. A common misconception is that you need to be incredibly flexible or in phenomenal shape to practice yoga, but that is not the case. Yoga is a very inclusive and most poses, if not all of them, can be modified to suit any skill level. (Plus: Yogis are super chill and friendly, you can't go wrong!).
Learn the Form: Yes, there is a method to this madness and it begins with learning how to properly perform certain stretches and movements & how to breathe effectively. Notice how people always talk about practicing yoga. This is because under the correct instruction you can build strong initial habits, prevent injury, and with time be able to operate independently. Some resources to supplement your learning: visit a nearby yoga studio, check out classes at your gym, search for helpful online tutorials, or even go to the library & read up on the practice!
Set Your Goals: Ever heard of Malcom Gladwell’s 10,000 hour rule? Simply put, if you dedicate 10,000 hours to anything, you’ll eventually become an expert. If you do the math, that’s around 40 hours per week, for five years. If you want to be an expert, then great! Get to it! But for the rest of us, the point is simply that we should be cognizant of what it is we want to achieve. For example, if you’re looking to increase or improve flexibility, muscle tone, or circulatory health, set some metrics to track your progress.
Challenge and Test Yourself: Once you’ve mastered the fundamentals and set specific, measurable and realistic goals, it’s time to keep pushing forward. Balance, strength, and focus play a pivotal role in developing your skill level in yoga, so continue to learn new exercises, get feedback on form, and practice, practice, practice. As you begin to see the benefits and even the healing potential from yoga, hopefully your hunger will ignite more open mindedness and willingness to become even more proficient in this art form.
To help with the meditation & relaxation part of yoga, try this.