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Are you curious and thinking about trying yoga? Then here are 5 tips for yoga beginners that will keep you motivated and that have helped me to stick with it even as a couch potato. Believe me, my experiences as a beginner are first-hand. For years, yoga and I had been getting to know each other through YouTube videos and yoga studio visits. But there was never any spark. However, October 2020 came and I have been doing yoga several times a week for exactly 12 months. Am I proud of myself? You bet! Can I touch my toes in the meantime? Well, let’s devote ourselves to simpler topics. For example, the question that stood at the beginning of my existence as a yoga beginner: Does yoga suit me?
Yoga beginners shouldn’t be immobile couch potatoes with an impatient temperament? As if!
For a long time I thought yoga was something for beautiful, flexible people who speak soothingly, seem to always be in peace with themselves and whose sports bra always matches the leggings. Unfortunately, I don’t fall into this category myself – and I let myself be put off by it for a long time. But in the meantime I have come to realise that yoga is for everyone: If you do it with the right motivation and approach. For me, it meant learning to be patient with myself and accepting that “the path is the goal” is not just an annoying saying. My personal path was marked by the following tips, which I would like to share.
5 Tips for Yoga Beginners
1. Online, in the studio or an open course: what do you feel most comfortable with?
Basically, it is best to practise under the supervision of a trained and experienced yogi. That’s why I attended several try-out classes in the last few years. But why didn’t I go through with it? Because it didn’t suit me. The times offered, the long way to get there or my inability to block out the other course participants were motivation killers for me. So I went online. There are some good yogis on YouTube and the like, but in the end I stuck with an online subscription model: YogaEasy. There I have access to a large selection of videos and multi-part courses for every level of experience – led by some of the most renowned yoga teachers in Germany.
But that’s just my experience: you have to find out for yourself what you need to practice yoga regularly. Flexibility and the ability to roll out your mat and start anywhere? Or would you rather do yoga together with (new) friends and have an experienced yogi right by your side? Find out how you feel most comfortable to start.
Important: There are many different styles and directions. As a yoga beginner, I can only recommend everyone to start with the so-called “Hatha Yoga”. This style is particularly ideal because it is suitable for every age and every level of athleticism and teaches the basics very well. After some time, you can then look for other styles.
2. Start small – and integrate yoga regularly into your everyday life
Yes, you can theoretically practise yoga every day. Do you have to? No, of course not. Even if yoga looks like a lot of breathing and stretching at first, don’t be fooled. The controlled breathing, the slow movements and the different sequences are exhausting! So take it slowly and don’t set yourself the goal of doing an hour of yoga every day. Two sessions a week are enough to get you started. But you should practise more than once a week to notice steady progress. By the way, this was also very important for my motivation. I was happy about every little extra stretch I managed to do compared to the week before. You should not overload yourself as a yoga beginner – but a certain discipline is important to keep at it.
3. The ideal time of day for yoga beginners
When it comes to the question of the perfect time of day for yoga, it again depends very much on you. Are you a morning person – or would you like to become one? Then take your time in the morning. If you work in home office and want to really switch off during your lunch break, this is also a great yoga opportunity. And as a little tip: I have never slept so deeply and soundly as after an extended evening yoga sequence. But there are a few things you should keep in mind – as I found out myself:
- You should not have eaten for at least two to three hours before yoga (danger of nausea!).
- Don’t be too hungry when practising yoga (danger of dizziness!).
- Make sure that you can really switch off during yoga – and plan enough time without having to rush somewhere after the final relaxation.
4. Shavasana: The final relaxation is important – take the time.
I can give this tip to anyone who is practising yoga at home as a beginner: take your time and end each practice with the final relaxation, the so-called Shavasana. And I have often made the mistake of stopping the yoga video after the strenuous asanas (exercises) were finished and it said: lie down on your back and relax. I was impatient and thought that just lying around wouldn’t get me anywhere anyway. But in fact Shavasana is extremely important to really experience the positive effects of yoga. Only in the final relaxation do you pause to feel the effect of the practice in your body. In the meantime, Shavasana brings me peace and a positive body sensation and I (almost) never skip it.
5. Be kind to yourself
As banal as this tip sounds, I mean it for every yoga beginner. It is also the point that I am still working hardest on myself. I have to say goodbye to thoughts of perfectionism and constant performance – especially in yoga. But this is also an ongoing process. After 12 months, I still have to remind myself of this with almost every practice:
- It is NOT important to stretch your legs completely.
- There is nothing wrong with not doing yoga on a “bad day” or just practising a little for a shorter amount of time.
- Practice yoga in a way that makes you feel comfortable. If something is uncomfortable or hurts, stop it IMMEDIATELY.
- Yoga is strenuous, but not a classic fitness workout. It does not depend on your calorie consumption..
- Take time for yourself – even in Shavasana – and be grateful that you give yourself this time.
- It’s NOT about stretching your legs completely (but I’ll get there one day…).