Five Useful Things for Beginners to Know About Yoga
Yoga there is so much that can be learnt and experienced. Yoga has many layers and these layers continue to reveal themselves, here are 5 useful things for beginners to know.
1 What does the word Yoga mean?
The word yoga comes from the Sanskrit word yuj which means to yoke or join. Sanskrit is the ancient eastern language in which yoga has its roots. All physical forms of yoga come under the Hatha umbrella. Ha means sun and tha means moon. Hatha Yoga literally translates to mean the joining of the sun and the moon. It is through yoga that we work to balance opposites and experience a sense of union between mind, body, soul and universe.
2 What to expect in your first yoga class
A yoga class starts either lying on your back or sitting crossed legged, sometimes kneeling (those who have practiced for a while might be in lotus). The teacher will talk you through breathing and some preparation techniques to help prepare both body and mind.
Many classes start by chanting AUM (Om) three times.
You will then move through a sequence of postures whilst breathing slowly, including floor based postures, standing postures and balancing postures.
Class structures will vary from teacher to teacher. The class usually always concludes with a relaxation in the corpse pose known as Savasana.
3 How to practise
When you practise yoga the most important thing to do is listen to your body. Do not worry about what anyone else is doing. Breathe slowly, you don’t need to make a big sound with your breath, just let the breath flow in and out through your nose, the rest will come. Never force your body into postures or positions that are uncomfortable, regardless of what might be happening around you.
If the class chant Om, listen and just let the sound pass through you, join in the chant when you feel comfortable.
Take your time, move slowly and mindfully and do not rush to progress, the more you focus on alignment and basic postures the greater the benefits, there is no point adding additional stresses by trying to do too much too soon. Practise regularly and safely. This is why yoga is referred to as a practice.
4 What to wear
Always practise with bare feet. Comfortable clothes that you can move in and do not cause a distraction are ideal, so that you can perform postures that fold, twist or even invert the body confidently and not spend your time adjusting your clothing. Don’t forget socks and a something warm for the final relaxation.
A non- slip yoga mat is essential, many classes do supply these. However, your own mat is a good investment.
5 Why Savasana?
Savasana (the corpse pose); is the most important part of the class, please make sure that you stay and enjoy this experience. Savasana allows the body and mind to recover and integrate the yoga practices into your daily life. Yoga encourages good habits and new neurological pathways to form, during savasana this information can be processed.