While starting a yoga practice without the support of a qualified yoga teacher is not recommended, we acknowledge that many people do not have access to a teacher due to location or times of classes.
We have put together this page and other resources to help you start a yoga practice.
While it is good to have goals for your yoga practice (build strength, reduce stress, obtain flexibility, lose weight), it is not good to be focused only on obtaining them. Yoga is a process, and sometimes this process can be very slow. Use your goals to help select the type and level of postures you wish to practice.
When not to do yoga
Please read the contraindications for each posture before doing them. Menstruation, pregnancy, high blood pressure and injuries to the knees, shoulders, and neck are all conditions where certain postures must be avoided and special care must be taken in all postures.
If you have any medical condition you should check with your health care professional before starting a yoga practice.
Variations and modifications
The instructions and pictures of the yoga postures are the goal as to where you are going towards, not trying to be. Experiment and explore different positions and alignment to make the posture work for your body.
You can make your yoga practice as challenging and vigorous as you want. We recommend you start slowly and make sure you understand the alignment of postures.
There are 3 ways to increase the intensity of your practice.
1. Hold postures for longer and longer periods of time.
2. Slowly build your practice up to more advanced and challenging postures, 3. Move quickly between postures.
Your daily practice should be between 15 to 90 minutes long and done 3-6 times per week depending on your schedule, goals and ability.
Choose to practice postures that look like you can do them. Postures done on the floor are going to be easier that standing postures as they do not require as much strength or balance. Also, postures that have longer recommended hold times (in breaths) are going to be easier to do. See yoga posture sequences for info on how to arrange the postures.
What to wear
Lose comfortable clothing or tights / unitards work best. Its important to wear something that will not restrict your movement.
Drinking / eating
It is not advisable to eat or drink right before a yoga practice (especially if you are practicing inversions). eat 1-3 hours before and drink only small amounts of water before practice, and do not drink during your practice.
How to start
It is best to start your practice with a brief meditation. Come into easy pose close your eyes and breathe deeply. you can alternately practice a pranayama as you meditate.
How to end
It is very important to end your practice with savasana, relaxation posture. This allows the body to integrate all of the postures and to balance and absorb the prana / energy that has been created and released during your practice. this is also an important practice for stress reduction.
To become a master yogi capable of harnessing all the beneficial effects of yoga is a long process involving several hours of practice. However, making a start is the crucial step. Beginners can follow a basic daily yoga program to start on the path towards good health. This is a simplified program to rejuvenate your health through yoga exercises each day and a step-by-step guide to executing common therapeutic postures.
A Basic Practice Chart
Daily yoga practice is an investment in improving your health. Twelve minutes a day will help you tone your muscles and improve the functioning of the digestive, circulatory and respiratory systems.
The following exercises will provide a well-balanced program, which should be supplemented, of course, by any other postures that are particularly good for your needs as per your personal constitution (available in My Soul):
First Day: Complete Breathing Exercises, Spinal Roll, Cobra Pose, Sun Salutation, Corpse Pose.
Second Day: Complete Breathing Exercises, Sun Salutation, Corpse Pose.
Third Day: Complete Breathing Exercises, Bow Pose, Cobra Pose, Posterior Stretch, Corpse Pose
Fourth Day and on: Repeat sequence.