When I first tried Yoga 3 years ago, after the first class, I decided not to attend the Yoga again. My legs were sore for at least 3 days, more painful than I did my first squat. Fortunately, my friend has persuaded me some time later for another try. With her guidance, since then, I no longer avoid Yoga and fell in love with Yoga. So, I know how tough Yoga can be for a beginner. While I dare not claim that I am as flexible as those postures shown in the photos, but I have made some progress along the way.
Yoga, if it is not done properly, one many end up in worse shape. After all, yoga is meant to be a nurturing form of exercise, not a rigid imitation of poses. With that mind and couple with my experience, here are few things I learn and I hope that they will be useful for you too:
- Attend classes conducted by an experienced yoga instructor who asks about your physical limitations. Some of them are kind enough to slow down the pace or offer alternative poses to meet your needs.
- Always be in the class on time. Do not go in after the class has started. Once you miss the warm up, the exercise will do harm than good for you. Ten minutes of easy movements will increase blood circulation, get your body ready to stretch. Yoga poses should progress from simple to more difficult.
- Try no to eat 2 to 3 hours before you attend class. A pre-yoga snack may backfire on you. You will find it hard to bend. Not forget to mention the build up of “emissions” gas.
- Do not lock your knees in standing postures, despite what a teacher may say. If you feel any strain during sitting or kneeling postures, place a folded towel under your bottom.
- Always keep your neck in alignment with the rest of your spine when arching backward. Do not let it flop back or down. Seriously, do this properly.
- Get to know your body and its injury-prone zones. If you have pain, just stop. Do not compare yourself with others who may have been doing yoga for few years. Let go your ego. I have forced myself into difficult posture and end up hurting myself. If something feels painful or uncomfortable, ease back, rest and breathe. Yoga is all about awareness and accept what our bodies are able to do.
- Having said that, do not just sit back and rest when comes to pose you do not like. Do not practice only your best poses, but also work on poses you struggle with as well. Even a small progress is better than giving up totally. Such a practice will be more productive and give you the feeling of self-assurance.
- Most yoga teachers assist students during classes. In general, a light touch that brings your awareness to an area is fine. Teachers who adjust you by moving your body for you or forcing you into a posture may cause injuries. Just say no. I have done that before to a kind instructor – I just told him that, “No, I can’t do that and don’t force me (to whack you, so get your hands off from me, now!)”
As a beginner in yoga, you will times you feel a bit lost in the class. No worry, that is common. Go to your first class with open mind. We all have to begin from somewhere. Hopefully, with the above tips, you will be enjoying more on your next Yoga class.
By the way, if you wonder what you need what to wear for yoga classes, check out another of my article.
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