Over the past 40 years, Yoga has gone from practically nonexistent in the mainstream to a fad to a celebrated art and fitness tool. Case in point: September is now National Yoga Month. So if you’re just now getting inspired to get on board, here are some essential tips to get you started down the path of physical vibrancy and mental serenity:
- Go Slow
Practicing yoga is one of the best ways to increase flexibility and gain strength, but in order to truly receive these benefits, you need to start out slowly. If you twist your body into a pretzel shape and think you can quickly twist your way out of it, then you may have a problem. You need to let your muscles warm up naturally, and moving slowly will help you feel how far you can stretch your body without hurting yourself. I know we’ve been told to “reach for the stars” and all that, but seriously in this case, don’t push past your physical limitations.
- Pay Attention
It’s necessary to make sure you follow all directions from your yoga teacher. They’ve studied this art for years and know the exact steps you need to follow in order to ensure both maximum benefit AND that you won’t hurt yourself (which is very important; see Tip 1). Try explaining to the ER that the reason your body’s in a knot is because you didn’t pay attention. The only ones who get hurt in yoga, according to Bikram, are those who are too careless and don’t follow the rules!
- Have Patience
You’re not going to become a yoga master after your first class. In fact, you’ll probably leave it feeling weak, sore, and incompetent compared to the rest of your classmates. But if you persevere and attend classes on a regular basis, you’ll soon start seeing muscles take shape that you never knew you had in as little as two months’ time. It may seem like a big commitment to devote so much of your time to this, but ultimately your body WILL thank you!
These tips were taken from Bikram’s Beginning Yoga Class, available at these retailers: