How to start doing yoga? – Start with theory. Don’t rush to the yoga room.
A couple of free evenings READ something about yoga – better not one, but different, “a little bit of everything.” Agree that you should not rush headlong into a serious event that will take you years, if not decades, without setting goals, and without outlining a picture of “what is it in general terms”? Choose a style and a teacher as seriously as you would choose a university for your child. I am sure this is the most useful yoga advice in the world. And not how to quickly get a stretch or gain muscle strength. Start with theory right away. Then, when you start practicing (and especially if you start to succeed), you will no longer be up to it.
1. WHAT IS YOGA? In order not to get confused in the abundance of modern styles ** and directions of yoga, it is worth studying the theory of yoga a little, it will not take much time and will give a clear vision of the situation, without the “filters” of commerce on the one hand, and religiosity and sectarianism, on the other. In yoga, initially and to this day, there are only 4 branches: these are Hatha yoga, Jnana yoga, Bhakti yoga and Karma yoga *. All styles of yoga, both ancient and modern, belong to one of these large groups. Belonging to one of them decides a lot: this is terminology, and philosophy, and practices, and teachers, and even, at times, intermediate goals – all this is different in different traditions.
In short, in essence:
Hatha yoga achieves its goals through the performance of special static postures (asanas), breathing exercises (pranayama), special positions of the body and hands (mudras), and meditation (concentration);
jnana- (aka “raja”) yoga – through special meditations and meditative exercises for the mind;
bhakti-yogi – complete devotion to the highest goal of yoga (Enlightenment) and total emotional / mental inspiration (absorption) of this one goal;
karma yoga – the performance of all and any actions without the desire for any result, i.e. aimlessly, unselfishly.
Having understood this (very roughly outlined by me, for the purposes of explanation) structure, any beginner can immediately understand what he likes more, and will also be able to distinguish a true yoga teacher from a false one, and a “normal”, adequate and holistic yoga “yoga pyramids” and sects, or physical education with an Indian accent. Consider also the fact that today such general terms as, for example, “Ashtanga Yoga”, “Kundalini Yoga”, “Bhakti Yoga”, “Tantra” and others have become brands of author’s “styles”, are used with commercial purposes and lost their true meaning.
Read the articles “Yoga”, “Ashtanga Raja Yoga”, “Yoga Sutras of Patanjali”, “Chakras” on Wikipedia or in another encyclopedia – after spending only 1 hour, you will get a general, and not distorted, idea of yoga in general.
If you have more time and desire to learn about yoga, check out the blog post “What to read about yoga?” and read something from the list given there.
2. How to avoid injury in yoga? The question of the safety and usefulness of yoga practice is one of the first, no matter what style of yoga you are interested in! Recommended:
You need to start learning Hatha Yoga under the direct guidance of a “live” teacher (then, if you want, you will practice on your own, online or from books and videos – but not at the beginning).
As early as possible in the practice of Hatha, it is worth learning to listen to your body, and not just do the exercises. And then perform all the exercises at your level, and to the best of your body’s ability at any given time, NOT looking at the teacher’s explanations or recommendations from a book/video/online course, etc. No one, even the best teacher, will tell you exactly what you should or should not do, and how, except for your own body!
Make yogic cleansing of the body – “Shatkarma”. They will help to cope with the inflexibility of the body and the painful sensations from the asanas.
Diversify the practice with different “styles” and schools of yoga. Repetitive movements, especially if performed with small errors, can be extremely destructive to the body. The solution to the problem is diversity.
Don’t let anyone actively influence your body. The correction of a good yoga teacher is in the world-corrections of the body position, and not in the fact that a person has leaned on you with his weight, or pulls your arm / leg “to a silk”. You should be told how to improve your posture yourself.
Learn to relax. At first, you will have a lot of tension in your body. So that it does not accumulate, master the techniques of deep relaxation IMMEDIATELY – already at first. This is, first of all, a long (from 10 minutes or more) Savasana and Yoga Nidra (materials 1 and 2).
3. How to choose a yoga style? This is very important at first, and we have already discussed this in detail in the blog earlier.
4. How to choose yoga clothes? This will largely determine how you feel about the practice and even your state of mind. So this is not the last question. Fortunately, the Hanuman store has a large selection of high-quality yoga clothes for every style and every taste, for men and women. For useful tips, again, I refer you to the blog material.
5. How to care for your yoga mat? Again, the question at first glance is banal, but not superfluous. After all, convenience in practice, as well as the aesthetics and hygiene of the mat – your most important “props” in yoga – should not be in last place. Again, the Hanuman website store will help resolve the issue of choosing a yoga mat.
6. How to adjust your diet how yogis eat? A timely, adequate body constitution (Dosha) and a complete, balanced diet will largely determine your success in yoga: at first, it will give flexibility and lightness to the body, and in the future, it will ensure success in pranayama, as well as mental clarity and concentration. Adequate nutrition also avoids the wear and tear of joints and other body tissues from yoga practice, allows you to quickly restore muscles and strength, which means you can practice more often and longer, do not get tired and do not feel sad! Nutrition for yogis at the beginning of the practice does not differ from just a “healthy diet”, but taking into account modern discoveries in nutrition. Study this question carefully and thoroughly.
7. The most important component of a successful yoga practice is “Abhyasa”, or “constancy” of practice, i.e. continuity, regularity of training. It is better to practice every day for 15 minutes than once a week for 3 hours in a row! We also talked about how to start exercising daily.
8. How different practices and styles of yoga and physical are combined. workouts?
9. If you’ve started yoga and you’re suffering from being very inflexible, check out our blog post on the topic.
10. If you have individual practical questions about yoga, you can ask them right here in the comments to the material, or write to the editor of the Hanuman blog! Success in practice!