A Beginners Guide to Yoga
By Claire Nettley, President of Yoga Australia
Yoga is a practice that has been around for centuries. Over the past decade though, yoga has become increasingly popular due to the well-reported physical, mental and emotional benefits it can deliver. Through regular practice and a wide range of techniques and forms, yoga has been proven to assist in the improvement of relaxation, concentration and self-awareness. Many think yoga is difficult and that you must already be fit and flexible to practice it but the reality is, anyone can practice yoga. In fact, one of the great teachers of the 20th centre, Krishnamacharya said -if you can breathe, you can practice yoga'.
That said, there are many different styles of yoga, some of which have a stronger physical practice. But rest assured there is a style to suit everyone. We recommend these few simple steps to help you get the best out of your practice for your body and mind.
Finding the right style
There are many styles of yoga, some more physically challenging than others. A great option is to join a beginners' course where you can gain an understanding of the foundations and alignment before moving into something stronger.
Find out the different styles in your area and do your research – perhaps try a few different classes to see what you prefer. There are so many different styles and teachers out there – it's important to find what works for you and a teacher you connect with. What suits one student won't necessarily suit another. Visit the yogaaustralia.org.au website to find out more about the various styles and registered teachers in your area.
Find the right teacher
Another important thing to consider when starting out is to find a teacher with the right qualifications and who is recognised by Yoga Australia. By ensuring your teacher is professionally qualified, you are guaranteed to be practising yoga in the safest environment possible. Having a teacher who can take a holistic view of your practice and who understands your needs and capabilities are important.
Some things to remember when heading to your first yoga class:
Wear clothing you are comfortable in, that will allow you to move freely. Also note that footwear is not required as yoga is conducted in bare feet.
You may need to bring your own mat, so be sure to check with the studio or gym first.
Avoiding eating for at least two hours before class
Turn off your mobile phone
Remember to take a towel and a bottle of water to stay hydrated.
Make sure you inform your teacher of any injuries or conditions they may need to be aware of.
Remember that toga is not a competition – don't worry about what the person next to you is doing and don't push yourself too hard..
To find out more about yoga for beginners, visit: www.yogaaustralia.org.au