Stay Healthy: Yoga Basics


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We all know that yoga is great for you, but how do we get started? The truth is, it’s much easier to start than you might think. Here are some tips on how to get going- everything from supplies you need to positions or sequences to try.

Image via Tragilidas

Image via Trigilidas

 

Perks of Yoga:

If I even tried to make a list of the perks you get from yoga, it would cover the page and then some. You can’t go wrong with yoga! You can do it at any time, anywhere. It helps to stretch your muscles, release stress, practice strength and control, keep track of breathing… the list is endless!

Things You’ll Need:

Keep in mind- these are items that you generally use in yoga but they are not required. There’s no need to buy anything unless you want it or think you may need it. Some of these things may even be provided if you take a yoga class.

  • Yoga Mat
  • Yoga Block
  • Towel (if your hands get sweaty like mine, there are smaller towels you can buy or you can use a handtowel)
  • Water bottle
  • Clothes you can move around in (Here is a great article by a fellow Smart Girl on affordable workout essentials!)

Beginning Poses/Sequences:

There are all kinds of sequences in yoga, where you go through a series of poses. The most commonly known sequence is most likely Surya Namaskar, or Traditional Sun Salutation. Lily Cushman, founder of Brooklyn Yoga School, has a great video guiding watchers through the Sun salutation. Smart Girl Jorie gives us another example of a simple yoga sequence to try out, with a cute little bunny to follow along with!

Types of Yoga:

There are several different types of yoga, each with different main focuses from weight loss to enlightenment. The most beginner friendly kind of yoga would most likely be Hatha Yoga. It is the most widely practiced form of yoga in the U.S., and focuses on breathing, holding poses, and clearing the mind. It is generally not too vigorous or demanding, being a very good choice for beginners. Hatha Yoga teaches the building blocks of yoga, preparing you if you want to graduate to more challenging options, such as Bikram (hot yoga), or Ashtanga (constant cycles of movement increasing in difficulty).

For beginners, I would recommend trying a class first. Whether it’s at your university rec center or a yoga studio, taking a class to start can be beneficial so that you can make sure you are correctly aligned and that you don’t try to move onto something too advanced before you’re ready. Most places will offer beginning options. As soon as you’re comfortable, continue on your own. You go, yogi!

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