Basic Yoga for Beginners

Basic Yoga for Beginners


Are you  looking for a Yoga practice that is suitable for beginners? 

Here are some keys to starting a successful yoga practice that will get your body humming, your mind quiet and your spirit soaring in no time at all! 

  • Yoga Modifications for Beginners
  • Doing yoga safely
  • Drop the comparing Mind
  • Find the right teacher for you 
  • Yoga is about going deeper
  • Keep on practicing
  • Motivation
  • Joint Renewal System(TM)
  • Yoga that meets you

Yoga Modifications for Beginners

Most people believe that yoga is a practice that has levels of difficulty.  And it can be helpful sometimes to attend a "beginner" yoga class. 

However, that gets your mind thinking right away that you start at place A (the beginner place)  in your practice eventually you must get to place Z (the expert).

And in between A and B there is discipline and hard work. Hours on your mat.  Slogging away. Pushing, sweating, struggling and working.

Want to give up already?

As a beginner to yoga you need a teacher who has the knowledge that very asana  (posture) is designed to be able to be modified to the body that is practicing it.   That way every posture can be done by every BODY - whatever their fitness level, injury history, mobility and flexibility.

That means beginners and advanced students both. Together in the same room (or zoom room).  Doing the same class, each in their own way. So you don't need a beginners class, you need a teacher who is able to teach you where you are at. 

Doing Yoga Safely 

I teach my students to approach their yoga safely.  For the beginner and expert alike, as I explained above, even basic yoga postures can be experienced as "easy"  or "difficult".  

As depending on where you are in your own body, all postures have the potential to expose restrictions, areas of stiffness and maybe an old injury.  

Beginners can feel a little worried that it's not safe when they hit a restriction - a stiffness, soreness or tension in their body.  However,  I explain to students, you actually WANT to find restrictions in your body, because unless you find where they are, and place your attention there, then there is no way to release them.  When you meet your body with understanding,  as a new student you will feel safe and can relax and enjoy the practice. 

AND I teach my students to approach any restrictions very safely, we move with care in a very mindful and gentle manner. We hold poses over time.  And so, over time,   those restrictions do ease, and often even dissolve, disappear.

Each individual student can adapt and modify the time held in the posture, the layer of restriction that is worked on,  the interaction with gravity and how each of those forces will work the posture differently.


Drop the Comparing Mind

If you are looking for basic yoga for beginners and feel somewhat inadequate in a class, or don't begin because of self-judgements,  that problem is easily solved.   You might be looking at others and getting stuck in comparisons.  Or it might be the teacher is not right for you, or the class itself. Or your mind imagining a future that does not exist. Or you have a pre-conceived notion of what you need to be able to do to join a yoga class.  

I invite you to let all that go.  Stop thinking about yoga and just join a class and do it! 

If you  see a picture of a Bendy Wendy (wearing black above) doing a forward bend (uttanasana) something like this image shows you may feel you're a failure already. You've decided that touching your toes is necessary.  

It's not.  

Beginners need to know that whether you can do a pose or not does not matter.  

Let me repeat that. 

It does not matter if you can or can not do a pose.   You don't have to touch your toes. Or move any part of your body in any particular way. 

A good teacher can easily modify any pose with blocks or a chair = thereby bringing the floor to you like the photo above shows (lady in white). 

Yoga is about cultivating a sense of presence. If you are stuggling or comparing you will not be present to your own practice.   So it's important you work at your own level.  And your teacher needs to support you to stay at your level.    If there are 12 students in a class.  That's  12 different classes happening.  Each student being guided to find their own level, optimal place to work to open and release any blocks or restrictions so they can be fully present to everything that is unfolding in each moment. 

So your job becomes to stay open minded, stop analysis or being critical of yourself.  Drop those thoughts that you are too stiff or not flexible enough.  Let them go with a smile and continue on with your practice of moving the body slowly, mindfully and with awareness to gain the benefits of a yoga practice. 

Find the right teacher for you

As a beginner to yoga the relationship to the teacher is critical.  If a teacher is not clear with instructions,  find another. 

If you don't like their voice.   Look for someone with a different tone.

Some teachers may like to push the class hard, they may forget to remind their students how and when to modify a pose, they maybe in-experienced.  


Personally,  I think a 200 hour yoga teacher training is waaaaay too little time to then stand in front of a class and teach safely - I started with a month long training like that in 2000,  and I feel I was lucky that no one got injured in the kind of classes I was teaching back in the day!   

Since then,  my style has changed a lot and with many more years of experience with 1000's of more hours training, studying, practicing and learning, today I offer my students a whole range of knowledge and wisdom of the yogic path.   And I don't say that to brag, it's just simply a matter of doing the hours. 

My recommendation is to make sure if you are a beginner to yoga that you put yourself in a class with a teacher who has lots of years of experience under their belt.  

And don't be afraid to try a few classes or teachers until you find the right one for you. Remember you can choose your teacher, so if you don't like a class. Find another.  Don't drop yoga, simply drop the teacher.  I believe there is a perfect teacher out there for everyone.  Keep searching until you find yours.  

Yoga is about going deeper

 Not with postures.  That may or may not happen.  All students, whatever their mobility can go deeper and deeper, not physically,  but with their mind. 

Yoga brings heightened levels of awareness and deeper focus and concentration. Utimately it is designed to bring a heightened sense of awareness and presence.  True yoga couldn't be further away from the way it is presented in many gyms and fitness centres.   

The fact that you feel better and fitter through your yoga practice is almost a side-benefit, a consequence of every other benefit yoga brings to you. 


Yoga is for your Body, Mind and Soul.  

As a beginner if you have the right approach to yoga - that is is about connection, union, joining together all those different parts of yourself, it's much, much more than just a physical movement activity, then you will be moving, breathing and benefiting your practice with the correct approach.

Motivation

They say the hardest pose in yoga is the getting on your mat. 

As a beginner,  perhaps you need  motivation to start.  If you begin by educating yourself to the incredible range of benefits a yoga practice can bring you.  You may be far more inclined to begin. 

Benefits include lowering your heart rate,  activating the parasympathetic nervous system to rest and restore, mindful breathing to improve oxygen levels in the blood.  Better mobility in all joints especially hips, shoulders. Back pain can dissolve. 

There are 1000's of scientifically proven benefits of yoga including lowering anxiety levels, depression,  helping with addictions, improving mental clarity and more.   And you can receive those benefits the moment you begin.  In a one hour class, everyone gets exactly the same benefits whether it is your first yoga class ever or your thousandth. 

Keep on Practicing 


To keep on receiving those benefits of yoga you do need to commit to a regular practice, but that's easy once you experience the joy, freedom and delight yoga can bring.  It will have you craving more!

The key is cultivating some joy, smile when you practice and do it with ease. 

What puts most people off is that they struggle in a yoga class because they rush ahead to get some result.  Or think they need to do the shape of the pose rather than get the sensations and feeling of presence that a pose will provide.  Pushing, striving, straining - none of this will have you practice with ease.  The only easy thing about this is it could easily put you off yoga! 

The key is to find YOUR LEVEL to work - what I call the optimal level.  And a skilled teacher will help you work at that level - show you how your body will react when you have gone too far and tell you to back off when you push too much. 
  
As many western forms of yoga have taken just the postures and made them into a hot, fast workout you would be forgiven for thinking it's going to be too hard and not for you.  And don't get me wrong - if you are looking for a hot, fast, sweaty work out go for it.   There are plenty of other teachers who will help you with that. 


Using the Joint Renewal System(TM) 

The yoga based system of joint renewal that I teach is great for beginners because it helps target the joints- with specific pressure, time and gravity holds that will re-oxygenate the cartilage, increase blood flow to remove toxins and rejuvenate the knees, ankles, hips, shoulders and other joints of the body to increase strength and mobility. Once you feel your joints opening, you are motivated to continue and practice more.  And soon you see that not only does your hip feel better, but also your mind is clearer, your breath is easier, your stress levels are lower and you are living in a more awakened state of being. 

Yoga that meets you 

The reason why the yoga I teach is good for beginners is because it allows your body to move into rest and digest, restore and rejuvenate mode. In this mode you are helping the body as then it can heal physical aliments and chronic conditions.  How that happens is because of the relaxed place you are in while practicing. 

For beginners to yoga, the pace for doing the postures should feel as if you are having a massage and it's a wonderful thing to learn how to give this massage to yourself.  When a yoga class is slow, meditative, with long holds, and using the breath mindfully this sense of self-massage heightens. 

Yoga calms you down.  Slows you down.   So the body can get on with it's own healing process. That's why if you are a beginner,  it's so great to start a yoga  practice that is slow, mindful and precise with alignment and biodynamics. 

Our bodies are miracles. They can heal. They are always restoring given the chance.   It's just a problem that they often don't get a chance.   Yoga gives the body that opportunity. 

I hope that gives some pointers on what to be aware of when starting a yoga practice. 


Interested in trying ? 

 I have a special rate for new students.  3 classes for only $20usd.   Classes are zoom  online or inperson (Vancouver Island) More details here www.kathywhiteyoga.com/smoothbook





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