We all live incredibly busy lives. Yoga is an ideal way to help you manage your daily routine by allowing you the time to unwind and reduce stress. Even an occasional practice can do wonders for building strength and achieving balance in the body and the mind. You can focus on toning your muscles while allowing your brain to shut down and relax.
Too many of us underestimate the importance of allowing ourselves time to be present in the here and now, without worrying about the responsibilities and deadlines that often take over. Yoga is about staying in the moment and concentrating on your routine, instead of the many stressors of the day.
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Why should you start a yoga routine?
Yoga has been scientifically proven to alleviate anxiety and tension in the mind and the body by limiting the production of cortisol. This hormone can make you feel stress, depressed, and even anger.
Inflammation in the body increases the likelihood of developing many diseases and illnesses that can have serious health consequences. A reduction of inflammation can help ward off breast cancer, diabetes, and heart disease.
Fight Chronic Pain
Movement is one of the best ways to stave off chronic pain. The repetitions of movement that yoga offers can be a vital ally in reducing discomfort.
Promote Positive Well-Being
Managing stress has a significant positive impact on your mental health. Meditation and breathing help to provide clarity to see past the fog and clutter of anxiety, depression, and low self-esteem.
Related: What is Kundalini Yoga?
Get your yoga gear ready
This is your most important piece of equipment. Your mat provides a sturdy foundation to practice on, as the surface prevents you from slipping while holding a pose. A good mat is soft yet resilient. Choosing the right one is essential, you want something made from a material that breathes well and wicks sweat from your body.
Related: Our Favorite Yoga Mats of 2020
Some studios will provide these for you, but if you plan on doing private practice at home, you should invest in a good yoga block. They are particularly advantageous for beginners because they offer the support needed to extend your range of motion to hold more challenging poses. The block can be placed in any position necessary to eliminate the overexertion of the body.
A reliable and robust yoga bag is the perfect accessory for keeping your gear organized and portable. There is a wide variety of options on the market with plenty of features.
If you are not comfortable, you can't practice your routine with any level of efficacy. Wearing the right clothing that provides complete and total freedom of movement is absolutely essential. Check out some of these options that combine aesthetics and functionality in equal measure from the Yoga Society shop.
Choose a relaxing space
You want to practice in a space free from distraction while offering plenty of space for mobility. A yoga studio is a popular option, but first-timers may feel self-conscious about their limited skills and opt instead to develop their abilities in a more private setting. This could be a backyard, the living room, or any other environment that feels more safe and comforting.
For those who enjoy practicing in a group, parks, or other public, outdoor spaces are great places to practice. They offer serenity in a natural environment.
Start with small sessions
Too many first-timers who are starting out will often put excessive pressure on themselves to establish a routine. Avoid placing high expectations on yourself to get every pose correct the first time or forcing yourself to endure long, strenuous sessions you're not ready to take on yet.
This is counter-productive to your goals. Start small in all things; your expectations, your poses, and the length of your sessions. Nothing will burn you out quicker (and frustrate your progress) more than asking too much of yourself from the start.
Block off time
No routine can succeed without devoting enough time to it. Whether you decide to practice first thing in the morning or choose to practice as a way to end your busy day, it is critical that you block off enough time for yourself.
This isn't about merely penciling in practice time on your calendar either, it's about disconnecting from everything around you, so that you may concentrate 100% of your attention on your routine. Emails, meetings, and phone calls will all be waiting when you return.
Begin with a simple yoga sequence
These two sequences are an excellent introduction to the movements and poses that are most common in everyday practice.
Additional Yoga Tips
As you get started, here are some things you should always keep in mind to help improve your practice.
Learn to accept
You don't want to place too much pressure on yourself. Everyone develops at a different pace. The faster you learn to accept that fact and embrace your weaknesses and strengths, the better off you will be in developing your routine and getting more out of your practice sessions.
Sign up for a class
Once you feel comfortable with your abilities, take the opportunity to practice in a classroom setting. You can gain more information and insight into your routine by learning from others around you. This will also enable you to try different styles of yoga. There are many of them out there, so don't limit yourself!
Remember to breathe
You're alive, breath deep! Taking stock of oneself means knowing when and how to breathe. This is an aspect of yoga that is so crucial, yet all too often neglected by beginners.
Yoga is not a competition; don't be critical of yourself! Being overly critical can cause you to lose motivation and make your enthusiasm wane. There will be days when you may not want to practice, and there will be days when you are not happy with your progress. Clear your mind of these distractions. They are nothing but obstacles for you to negotiate as you navigate through this journey.
Above all, listen to your body. It knows what it needs and will always tell you when something is not right. You will know when to hold back and when to accelerate your practice by listening and providing what your body needs to succeed.
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