I am a beginner. What do I need to know?
Welcome to your first encounter with yoga! One reason to do yoga is that it will make you feel great. Yoga will relax and re-energize you, and it will make you stronger and more flexible.
The first thing you should know is that you should never do anything that hurts. Of course, you are going to exercise your body, so you will feel your muscles stretching, which can sometimes be a bit painful, but that generally feels like a good pain—the ache of exertion, not the warning pain of injury.
Strengthening your body can be hard work, but again, that feels different than your body trying to alert you that something is not right for you. If you feel pain, ease off: Either the pose you are practicing isn’t right for you right now or there could be something wrong with the alignment of your body. Either way, when your body tells you to stop, listen to it! And remember the hardest part of yoga is to just show up.
How often and for how long should I practice yoga?
Yoga is great ! Even when you practice for 1 hour a week, you will feel so much better already. For some people that is enough. Others, because they feel so good with it, will naturally want to practice more.
You can practice 2 to 3 times a week or everyday if you want of course. You can practice an hour or an hour and a half when you can, but don’t let unrealistic expectations stop you from practicing 20 minutes, or even 10 minutes ! When my life is busy at times I practice 20 min everyday, and that is all I need to stay balanced, strong and flexible.
So practice how much you can, when you can. And focus and be proud of what you do, rather than focusing on what you want to do.
What are the physical benefits of practicing yoga?
Yoga has many physical benefits: It creates a flexible, toned and strong body, and it improves breathing, energy and metabolism. Yoga improves circulatory and cardiac health. It improves fitness levels, relieves pain, and improves posture.
How long does it take to feel the benefits of yoga?
You will feel some benefits immediately, such as physically feeling tension release and the body opening and muscle strengthening. The “feel good” feeling that keeps people hooked on yoga. Other benefits depend on how much you practice, and every person is different. But everybody will feel a positive change after a few weeks.
Yoga also provides mental benefits: It makes you happier, more balanced, and emotionally calmer. It helps you relax so you can handle stress better. Yoga encourages self-confidence and helps you to focus your energy.
The spiritual benefits of yoga are also key: Yoga teaches you to be aware—aware of what is going on inside and outside of you. Yoga teaches you to be present in your surroundings and open to what is all around!
Can I eat before yoga?
You want to have an empty stomach during a yoga session, so leave at least 2 hours between a main meal and yoga. Digestion of food requires energy, and when you do yoga after a meal, your energy goes to the muscles you’re exercising and the body can’t digest the food properly.
What is the best time to practice?
The morning is a great time to practice; you wake up stiff from the night, so opening up your body with some yoga sets you up nicely for the day.
In the evening, yoga can be a nice way to unwind.
Whenever you can fit yoga in, that’s the right time for you!
I want to lose weight. Can yoga help me?
Yoga helps to bring the body back into balance. For example, it helps to regulate the thyroid gland, which helps to regulate your weight. When you feel balanced and positive, you are less likely to eat when it isn’t right for you, and less likely to eat what is not right for your body.
Can I practice yoga when I am on my cycle?
Some people prefer to stop practicing yoga, and others keep going. Generally speaking, you shouldn’t practice inversions, which interrupt the downward flow. Strong twists can be uncomfortable as well. Listen to what your body tells you! A slower, more restorative practice might be beneficial.
Can I do yoga while pregnant?
First of all, consult your doctor. You should consult a medical practitioner before attempting any excercise and particularly yoga, to ensure that you do not injure yourself. This is particularly important if you are pregnant.
If you have never done yoga before, the general recommendation is to not start during the first three months of pregnancy, since your body isn’t used to it.
If your body is used to doing yoga, however, you can continue. Listen to your body – if relaxation is what you need, accept and embrace that and opt for more gentle practice.