In this article, we will introduce you to the basics to yoga, with a quick look at the various types of yoga and cover the basic equipment you will need to get you started. Remember, you can perform yoga at home or by taking your classes, do whichever method you feel works best for you.
Yoga is a great exercise with or without the meditation side of things. If you suffer will a medical condition such as back, knee pain or even asthma people have found yoga has helped with their condition. Women who took yoga classes throughout pregnancy gave birth easier, with fewer complications and with the bonus of getting back into shape quicker.
The different types of yoga
If you’ve done any kind of research on yoga, you will have come across Hatha yoga. This is one of the more moderate types of yoga and is extremely popular. Hatha Yoga incorporates all the basic movements of yoga and is a great place to lay the foundations of learning yoga. This type of yoga is a little gentle pace and is usually the kind of most recommended for beginners.
Yoga also goes by the name of Bikram yoga and it’s another popular type. As the name suggests, it is done in a room which is heated to about 95 degrees. This type of yoga is a great way to lose weight and it’s very beneficial if you suffer from tight muscles. The heat of the room allows your muscles to relax and this can be very helpful in itself.
Bikram Yoga consists of 26 different poses, but not all are done in every class. Much of this will depend upon your yoga instructor.
If you want to do yoga along with meditation, they look for a style such as Yin Yang yoga, this type of yoga is done at a more at a slower and more intense level. Each pose is held for several minutes in which time you meditate. This type of yoga takes time to learn but has huge benefits with developing your self-confidence and self-esteem.
Yoga Philosophy is all the rage right now and this incorporates yoga for your body and your mind. It was developed by Mandy Ingber, who was a friend and trainer of Jennifer Aniston. The concept of yoga philosophy is to develop a sleek looking body while calming and distressing the mind. This is a different type of yoga with a faster pace and beat. Your legs and buttocks will get a great workout and your heart rate will be pumped. So, if you want to try a new version of yoga, then this just might be for you.
Yoga mats come in many styles and materials. Some of the more commonly used materials include PVC, latex, plastic and rubber. The issue with some of these mats is that they admit toxins while in use. Gaining in popularity are eco-friendly yoga mats. They will be labelled with terms such as PVC free, green mats, natural rubber or natural wool mats. Look for the ones that are natural and plant-based as these will not admit toxins when used.
The average thickness of a yoga mat is 3.2 millimetres or 1/2 of an inch. This is for a standard mat, so look for something thicker if you want to have more cushion underneath you. A thicker mat is normally recommended if you have knee, wrist or ankle issues. One thing to remember is that though a thicker mat is softer, it can also restrict your movements.
If you do require a thick yoga mat then look for special yoga mats that are just coming onto the market. They are thicker, longer and made of a material and that allows for easy movements.
There are various types of yoga mats which are best suited for children. Kids yoga mats can be purchased at any good yoga or sports stores. The same applies to men special yoga mats for men are also now available.
Yoga bags you may wish to purchase a yoga bag to store all your yoga clothes and your yoga mat in. This is especially good if you decide to go to a local yoga class. It makes preparing for your class easy, just pack up and go. Plus, all of your clothing is easy to carry and you have a place to store your belongings during class. You can purchase yoga mat bags which allow you to easily carry your yoga mat from class to class. Just be sure to buy a yoga mat bag that accommodates your mat. If you get a thicker longer mat check that your bag is large enough to hold it.
Yoga towels are primarily used for Bikram and hot yoga classes. The great thing about a yoga towel is that it is super absorbent. A yoga towel can also be used as a replacement for your yoga mat if necessary, as they are non-slip. Yoga towels come in the same size as the standard yoga mat and are available in lots of different colours. They can easily be found in sporting goods stores and online. Many people like to use a yoga towel as a cover for the yoga mat. The towel acts as a barrier and it’s perfect if you’re using a mat which is not your own.
Optional equipment choices
The following are some pieces of yoga equipment that you might want to consider once you’ve been doing yoga for a little while. As you progress you could well use yoga blocks, yoga straps, yoga cork blocks, yoga ball and yoga foam rollers, but at the beginning stage, they’re not really necessary.
The basic two items you will need to get started with are a pair of yoga pants and a yoga top. When choosing these items, be sure to pick pieces that are comfortable and allow your body to move. Nothing is worse than trying to perform yoga movements with clothing that bunches and rides up you. Also, make sure that the clothing is made of a natural and breathable material. One that washes and dries quickly is ideal. Be sure to purchase pants and a type that fits properly. Don’t get them one size too large or too small.
Green or natural yoga clothing is becoming very popular, materials used are cotton bamboo, cotton, hemp and organic cotton. If you’re doing yoga for spiritual reasons, then purchase eco-friendly or natural yoga clothes. As this might fit in well with your beliefs.
Yoga Clothing is designed in an array of styles and colours, just pick something that reflects your personality. Many stores now carry yoga lines for men and children, which just shows you how popular Yoga is becoming.
Benefits of yoga
Men and women alike decide to start practicing yoga for many different reasons. Doctors can see the benefits of the breathing exercises taught in yoga for their patients who suffer from asthma, other people take up yoga for health or spiritual reasons.
Correct breathing can help an asthmatic person cope with the disease much better. Many children’s classes are aimed at helping kids with asthma. It’s also been shown that children who suffer from ADD can benefit from learning yoga, learning how to focus can help with the child’s learning ability.
Dozens of pregnant women are taken up yoga through their term, they find that during labour the techniques of breathing and relaxation are of a real benefit at that time. Also, women who were practicing yoga throughout their pregnancy normally find that they can get back to their normal weight in half the time than those who do not practice yoga.
Weight loss and yoga
Whatever type of yoga you choose to do not only will you become healthier. With its gentle exercises, you will find yoga a great way to gradually get back into shape, regardless of weight or age. For those who would like to see faster results if trying to lose weight then you could try hot yoga, you basically sweat the pounds off but beware, in these classes you will have to endure extremely hot temperatures.
Be sure that you can handle the heat before attempting this type of yoga. And remember to drink plenty of fluids to keep you hydrated. Other benefits of yoga include greater flexibility, stronger joints, relieve in tight muscles, helps to flush out toxins from your blood and fantastic toning exercise.
With the focus on being healthier these days, yoga classes are now seen as a path to a healthier life for both mind and body, not associated so much with the spiritual aspect of yoga. This is probably why Yoga has seen such a huge increase in popularity in recent years.
Basic yoga movements
The movements in yoga are known as postures, positions and poses. Each instructor will call them something slightly different. They’re also known Asana’s. Most yoga styles have 26 basic poses, and these are the ones you would learn if you took hatha yoga. From here the poses will start to differ depending on which type of yoga you are learning. This is why it is essential to at least learn the basic yoga postures first.
Then no matter which yoga class or DVD you do, you will have a good understanding of the basic movements with slight modifications, you can easily learn the new movements and styles. yoga postures include various types of positions from standing to seated, as well as inverted positions. Some of the more common yoga poses that you might have heard of include Lotus, Cat Stretch, Balance, Seated Forward Bend, Mountain Posture, Backstretch, The Inside Stretch, Cobra, and Leg Claps. As you become more experienced with yoga you will find yourself performing all types of postures, some of which will never think possible.
Ways to learn yoga
There are various ways that you can learn about yoga. This includes going to a yoga retreat, taking yoga classes or purchasing yoga DVDs and books. The method you choose will depend upon how comfortable you feel participating in a class, and of course, your budget.
For many beginners, a good way is to start yoga is to buy a yoga DVD. This gives you a good idea of just what yoga is all about. Plus, you will get a feel for the movements. Remember, it will take time and effort to master the techniques. So, don’t feel as though you can’t do yoga. Just persevere and you will learn. The best choice is to pick whatever you feel comfortable with at first, then when you decide that you want to continue with yoga, you may wish to take a few classes. This way you can be sure that you’re doing the movements correctly, plus, it is always great to meet other people with the same interests.
Yoga at home
If money is an issue, then you can at least continue doing yoga movements at home. Yoga is such a wonderful exercise that you might want to try and encourage your children and even your spouse to join in, this way you will have your very own mini-class right at home. If you’re going to perform yoga at home, then don’t forget to check out the DVDs on yoga philosophy. This looks like a great way to take to get a total body workout in while learning how to de-stress your body and mind something that we can all use today. While there is a lot more to yoga, you should now have a good understanding of the basics. This is more than enough then to help you choose a yoga class or tape.
While yoga is definitely great for the mind, the postures and poses themselves provide you with a great workout. A workout method which is gentle on your joints, but fantastic for your heart. Remember to get started with yoga, you don’t need to buy any fancy equipment. Just invest in a great yoga outfit or yoga mat and a DVD and you’re set to enter a new world of fitness.
You have made a great and healthy decision when you decided to take up yoga. Good luck.