The good thing about yoga is that you don't have to be a jock to do the exercises. The Indian teaching is not a question of age or condition, but a question of attitude. Even if the individual positions can (and should) be quite strenuous, yoga is primarily about combining various meditation techniques with physical exercises - the so-called asanas. To be in tune with yourself. But also to reduce stress, strengthen the cardiovascular system and feel fitter. No matter what age. This article explains which yoga exercises are best for beginners, what you need for them and which styles are suitable for the inexperienced.
1. The mat
The decisive factors when buying a new yoga mat are the material, the size and the thickness. There are models made of natural materials (e.g. new wool or cork) or mats made of plastic - the latter have the advantage that they last longer. When it comes to the length, you should consider in advance whether it is important to you that your body has space on the entire mat when lying down or whether your legs protrude over the mat. Thicker mats have the advantage that they cushion the body better, while thinner mats are better suited for balance exercises.
2. The clothes
For the yoga exercises, you primarily need comfortable clothing that is not too tight, but also not too loose - otherwise it would slip very easily during certain exercises. It is best to choose comfortable yoga pants with cuffs or leggings in combination with a well-fitting cotton top. On the other hand, it is better to avoid sportswear made of synthetic fabrics, in which you sweat more quickly and easily. On top of that, the clothes are too tight on the body, which can be annoying.
Another tip: You don't need shoes for the yoga exercises, it's still best to train barefoot. And if you get cold feet in winter, you can wear special yoga socks that are non-slip and give you more grip on the mat.
3. The yoga block
Beginners in particular would do well to use a yoga block. Depending on the exercise, it takes on different functions and can be used for support, laying down, as a seat or as a weight. Due to the natural material (e.g. cork), the block stays non-slip the whole time, even when you are doing strenuous asanas. Alternatively, you can get a yoga strap, which can help you stretch and bend. Because beginners in particular are still extremely clumsy during their first yoga exercises.
4. The atmosphere
For the yoga exercises you have to create a pleasant atmosphere so that you can calmly concentrate on your breathing and your movements. Don't leave the television or radio on to avoid being distracted. If you still want to listen to some music to relax, we recommend a yoga CD - the songs support your exercises with gentle sounds.
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T. Krishnamacharya, the "Father of Modern Yoga," could not have put it more aptly: "Anyone can practice yoga who can breathe." Before you begin the first exercises, you should not eat anything for at least an hour and a half beforehand, since most asanas can hardly be mastered on a full stomach. The exercises in the following videos by various yoga professionals are particularly suitable for beginners:
The Sun Salutation
The Warrior I
The warrior II
The Warrior III
The Downward Dog
For starters, repeating the exercises twice a week for 20 to 45 minutes is enough. It is best to block two days in your calendar when you take time for yoga - you should always take a break of two to three days between these dates. Of course you can also repeat the yoga exercises every day, but you should then find a healthy middle ground. Otherwise, the tight program could cause you to overstretch your muscles quickly.
In a fast-moving society like ours, everyday life is determined by stress and hectic, which has a direct effect on our health - sleep disorders, restlessness, digestive problems and joint pain are the consequences of the permanent overload from our environment. It is all the more important not to lose your feet on the ground and to put down roots. This is made possible, for example, with the help of yoga exercises, i.e. the combination of meditation exercises and sport, which are intended to help you ground yourself. These four yoga styles are best for beginners:
1. Hatha Yoga
The term includes several types of yoga and is therefore one of the most well-known yoga styles of our time. The exercises are mainly characterized by slow movements, which are primarily intended to relax the body. For this reason, the asanas (including downward facing dog) are particularly suitable for beginners.
2. Kundalini Yoga
This style, based on the teachings of Yogi Bhajan, focuses even more on the mind through breathing and physical exercises. The aim is to feel your body more clearly: First the back is warmed up, then a few asanas are done and finally relaxation plus meditation follows.
3. Yin Yoga
Yin Yoga is particularly good for releasing tension or inner blockages. The meditative, slow, and passive asanas are performed for several minutes (between three to six), either seated or lying down, to allow muscles to relax and breath to flow freely.
4. Ashtanga Yoga
The term "Ashtanga" comes from Sanskrit and means "eight limbs". This yoga style is very strenuous due to the smooth transitions between the asanas - which follow a strict sequence. Therefore, this style is particularly suitable for disciplined people with a lot of ambition.
Other styles suitable for advanced learners:
If you do not practice the yoga exercises at home but would rather attend a class, you should choose your teacher carefully. This is important to keep you motivated and inspired to get to know your body better - without feeling pressured. For this reason, you should consider the following points when looking for a suitable yoga school: A qualified yoga teacher has completed the appropriate training and guides his students. He or she answers all questions, gives helpful tips and ensures that the exercises are performed correctly. He or she is likeable and encourages his or her students to get involved.
Only if you feel understood in the course can you really let yourself go - and internalize the art of Indian teaching. If you don't feel comfortable in your class or if you can't find the right connection to your teacher, you won't really relax. This, in turn, makes you even more tense and increases possible physical discomfort. In any case, listen to your gut feeling and choose a yoga class that is tailored to your needs and gives you the feeling of a cozy atmosphere - as if you were in your own living room. This is the only way to harmonize body and mind.
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