Are you new to Yoga?
Are you new to Yoga? A new survey conducted by Yoga Alliance and Yoga Journal reports that the number of Americans doing yoga has grown by over 50% in the last four years to over 36 million as of 2016, up from 20.4 million in 2012. In addition, nine out of 10 Americans have heard of yoga, one in three Americans has tried yoga at least once, and more than 15% of Americans have done yoga in the last 6 months.
More than a third of Americans say they are very likely to try yoga in the next year. The number of American adults over 50 doing yoga has tripled over the last four years to reach 14 million. So if you are one of the few that have yet to try yoga, here is an easy guide to getting started!
1. Yoga is more than physical activity. The practice dates back more than 2,500 years and encompasses deep philosophy and promotes self-awareness, strength, perseverance, compassion, patience and love. With Yoga, you connect your mind and your body, breathe and movement. If you want to gain the full benefits, don’t reduce it to being just a way to get a six-pack or a tight butt. Make sure you see the bigger picture.
2. Be positive and set realistic goals. With anything, at first it may seem challenging and impossible to do. The physical postures might be difficult and you may ask yourself why you would want to put yourself in uncomfortable poses. Even if you thought you were in good shape before beginning, you might be aching for days because you are engaging muscles you are not used to using. You might want to give up, but be patient with yourself. Make sure to dedicate specific days and times you will practice Yoga and stick to it.
3. Find a studio where you feel engaged and comfortable. Being a part of a community of like-minded people will help you commit and show up. During your first week or two visit a variety of classes with different teachers and allow yourself the opportunity to find a class and teacher that will inspire and motivate you.
4. Choose a Yoga mat. There are a lot of mats out there, however many of them will be slippery once you start to sweat or they don’t provide sufficient padding. Aperion Yoga mats ($97) are colorful and fun, but also functional and durable as well. The mats are sweat activated, non-slip made of eco-friendly, recyclable, 100% biodegradable odorless natural tree rubber. Apeiron, which is derived from the Greek word “limitless”, was created by Adam Binder, who discovered a downfall of rubber yoga mats was sweat. Rubber mats became slippery and dangerous when wet. On top of that many mats lacked originality and design. Binder then set out on a mission to create slip-proof, well-designed yoga mats that express individuality.
5. Be inquisitive about the postures and the feelings and sensations in your body. Ask questions if it is appropriate to do so in class or wait until afterwards to connect with your teacher. If you are not sure about a certain pose, take the time to ask questions and learn. This will help to prevent injuries from occurring and it will also help you learn more about the strengths of your own body. Yoga is a practice and it is always changing. One day you might feel great and masterful in pose and the next day, you might feel defeated and tired. Yoga is about flexibility– don’t be judgmental and hard on yourself.
6. Do research by going on the internet or read introductory yoga books to learn more. Yoga can lead to other outlets that engage mindfulness such as meditation. JUST SIT: A Meditation Guide Book for People Who Know They Should But Don’t by Sukey and Elizabeth Novogratz (Harper Wave; $21.99) is perfect for people whose schedule or skepticism has kept them from trying meditation. It is an approachable and visually engaging beginner's guide for anyone who needs to distress and relax. This playfully illustrated and informative read includes an eight-week plan for busy novices to help keep on track and incorporate meditation daily into their lifestyle in order to enjoy its many physical and emotional benefits.
7. Have fun with Yoga and don’t take it too seriously. A great idea might be to recruit a friend and commit to a weekly class. This way you can support each other along the journey!
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