Yoga is so much more than just stretching, balancing, or standing on your head. It helps you find inner peace - which we could all use a little more of!
Benefits of Yoga
Yoga is much more than physical exercise. It’s medicine for the mind. According to Johns Hopkins Medicine, here are some benefits of practicing yoga:
Yoga improves strength, balance and flexibility.
Yoga helps with back pain relief.
Yoga can ease arthritis symptoms.
Yoga benefits heart health.
Yoga helps you sleep better and relaxes you.
Yoga is energizing.
Yoga helps manage stress.
Yoga connects you with a supportive community.
Yoga promotes better self-care.
Mental Health Benefits
In addition to all of the physical benefits of yoga, studies have linked yoga to improved mental health. Below are some of the benefits that have been studied & proven.
1. Reduced Anger.
2. Reduced Anxiety.
3. Improved Sleep.
5. Improved Mood.
How to Start a Yoga Practice
Starting a yoga practice is easier than ever! More & more gyms are offering yoga classes, and now you can find yoga online for the cost of just a few lattes a month!
Here’s some tips to get you started:
Get a yoga mat.
While some yoga mats come with a hefty price tag, some you can find for cheap! Yoga mat prices can range from $5 - $150. More expensive mats will last for years and can be used in any environment - even a hot yoga class! It’s possible to practice without a mat, but much easier and safer with one.
Practice yoga barefoot.
Yoga is traditionally practiced barefoot. Socks can be slippery and possibly dangerous if they make you fall out of a pose. If you aren’t comfortable barefoot, try socks with grip like Barre socks.
Wear the right clothes.
When choosing clothing to practice in, look for something fitted, breathable, and easy to move in. A shirt that’s too loose may get in the way or fall over your face in inversions like Downdog.
Find classes that are suitable for beginners.
Solstice TV offers a beginner yoga series, and many classes that are suitable for beginners, like our Restorative yoga classes.
It takes time to level up. Remember there’s no rush to jump into intermediate or advanced classes. Once you feel solid in beginner level classes, then you’ll know it’s okay to level up your practice.
If you don’t like the first class you take, try again!
Many students feel confused when they first try yoga. Everything is brand new - but just because it’s all new, doesn’t mean you won’t get it after a few tries!
Find a style you like! Try a few different styles, like Restorative, Vinyasa, and Hatha. Each style is so different, and each teacher teaches in a way that’s unique to them.
Always consult your doctor before trying a new exercise program - especially if you’re dealing with injuries or chronic illness.
While yoga is generally considered safe & often recommended for those with injuries, it’s still important to check with your doctor to see if anything is contraindicated. For example, with pregnancy certain movements may be harmful so it’s good to know how to modify or what to avoid.
Listen to your body. If something is painful, adjust until it feels right for you - or stop and take a break.
Tips for Starting a Home Yoga Practice
It can feel intimidating to start anything new alone. Here are some tips to make your home practice perfect:
Unlike some workouts, yoga doesn’t require a lot of space. You’ll need about a foot of space around all sides of your mat. Clear out a space in your living room, garage, outside, or even next to your bed. Make sure it’s a space where you can practice without being interrupted.
Find a time of day that works for you. Some yogis find that first thing in the morning before the rest of the world is awake is the best way to start their day. But if you’re not a morning person, you may find that the middle of the day or evening works best. It’s usually recommended to practice on an empty stomach, so right after a meal may be uncomfortable.
Commit to an amount of time that works for you. When you’re first starting out, 10 minutes may feel more doable than an hour long class.
You might be sore the next day! Even shorter classes may work muscles that you’re not used to working. Know that it’s normal to be a bit sore.
Set the mood. You don’t have to do anything special to practice yoga - but creating a ritual for yourself can make your practice more enjoyable. Play some relaxing music, dim the lights, light a candle, or burn some incense if that will help you to relax.
Get a yoga buddy! Not only does practicing yoga with someone make it more fun, it also helps you to stay accountable. If you have a roommate or live with a partner, get them on board! But if there’s no one to practice with, don’t let that stop you. Yoga is an internal practice. Many people find it most relaxing to practice on their own.