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Starting Out – Issue 41

teach yourself yoga

Teach yourself a lesson. Carly Lewis offers her beginners guide to self-taught yoga at home

There are many reasons why people decide to embark on the path of yoga. Whether it be to gain flexibility and stamina, for stress relief, or for weight loss, or even spiritual enlightenment, the ultimate goal is to become a committed and accomplished yogi. However, for someone who is totally new to the yoga lifestyle, knowing where to start can be tricky.

Do your research
It may seem obvious but you’d be surprised how many people jump straight into training without knowing what they’re letting themselves in for. You’ve made a cracking start by picking up this magazine and there are countless books and reliable online resources available for beginners that are spilling with facts, tips and answers to any questions you may have. Don’t forget that there are numerous styles of yoga so do yourself a favour by finding out how you can benefit most from different practices.

Look the part
Appropriate clothing is a must even if you are starting out at home. You might not have the burden of worrying about how attractive you look but you want to be comfortable without having to shift, tug and adjust your outfit every five minutes. The style of yoga you choose may have some sway on the type of clothing you’ll need. Practices that incorporate high temperatures like Bikram require breathable fabrics, for example. And, sooner or later, you’ll be looking to invest in a yoga mat, a must-have for any beginner who’s got their eye on becoming a ‘real’ yogi, long-term.

Get started at home
So you’re clued-up, and garbed in a comfortable outfit, but you may be lacking the confidence to stride into a class and get stuck in with the best of them. You can either look for a facility that offers beginners classes or get started in the comfort of your own home. When choosing the latter option you have a few choices. The current digital age has made yoga incredibly accessible. You can view countless tutorial videos online (for free) and increase intensity as you gain flexibility. If you are without internet access at home and you don’t want to break the bank you can pop into your local library or internet café and order some second-hand DVDs at a steal. Then all you have to do is clear the most spacious room in the house of any protruding furniture, spread your mat and get ready to stretch out those limbs.

Progress is a slow process
By now you’ve probably been inundated with images of men and women bending themselves into positions you never thought were humanly possible. And while it is true that with consistent training and discipline you can become as flexible as you want to, it’s important to remember that progress is a slow process. The frequency at which you practice will undoubtedly affect the speed of your advancement, but even beginners who practice everyday will find it takes time to reach their long-term goals.

Manage your time
It can be a struggle to fit your new exercise routine around your current schedule. Remember that it’s important to remain dedicated and you may have to make some sacrifices even it means waking up an hour earlier or going to bed later at night. Eventually you’ll adjust to your new lifestyle and be well on your way to attending your first class where you can interact with other learners and get some one-on-one guidance from an instructor.

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