Beginner Yoga Series: Starting a Routine
When you are new to yoga, getting a foot in the door can feel rather intimidating. What do you really need? How do you get started? Which type of yoga is right for you? (Types?! Yes... there are several) What if you have to fart in class?! Beginning yoga may feel awkward, so I am here to you through it!
Over the next six weeks, I will be posting a different blog post and video designed to explain some yoga basics. Whether you are hoping to take your new found skills to a yoga studio or you want to continue learning online, these posts will help you to feel confident in doing so!
I am approached by friends and family regularly about how to get started in yoga or how to move past the fear of stepping into a yoga practice. Here is my biggest advice: have fun with it! Don't be worried about getting things right or having a wardrobe or practice designed for the cover of Yoga Magazine. No one starts off that way and, even still, few ever get a level where their Instagram is full of fans admiring their fancy poses.
Not that there is anything wrong with that! What I mean to say is, yoga is not really about looking cool in Lululemon pants or tucking your head between your legs. It is truly about the journey. It's about releasing any preconceived notions about what yoga is what your body is capable of. Instead, start the practice with an open mind, eager to learn something new. You won't regret it.
Today's post is all about getting started with a home yoga routine.
Starting Your Home Routine
While it would be nice to dedicate hours to your newly found love for yoga (wink wink) each week, many of us just don't have time for that. Which is okay!
To be completely honest, I would suggest looking into a local yoga studio and see if they have any workshops dedicated to beginner students. Usually these classes are a few hours long, but they are invaluable. Teachers can walk you through some of the basic poses, included proper alignment for safety, how to practice breathing properly, and much more.
However, there is a lot that can be learned at home! Furthermore, I am of the opinion that it is much better to practice daily, even if only one or two poses, than to practice once a week for one hour. Practicing daily helps your body to remember the poses more quickly. It will relax your brain and give you the mental connection to the practice each day.
My mom challenged herself for a while to simply do one downward facing dog pose each day, one of the most popular yoga poses. Not only did her body begin to appreciate a pose which is usually difficult, but it felt good for her to follow through with her daily commitment.
Daily Sun Salutations
I am teaching sun salutations today because they include beginner level poses and will give you a wide variety of daily options. Sun Salutation A and Sun Salutation B are both sequences that are regularly practiced in flow, Ashtanga, and Vinyasa style classes. These postures are considered foundational, so it is great for you to have a good idea of how to do each one!
Plus, you can complete one round of Sun Salutation A in about one or two minutes. It is a sequence you can commit to doing each day - in the morning, during lunch break, before bed, etc. However, if you want a longer practice, you can complete the sequence several times in a row or add rotations of Sun Salutation B.
That's why I love teaching these flows to new students. Sun Salutations have you moving with the breath, teaching you to slow down each inhale and exhale. They can be done on their own or paired with a warm up and/or cool down practice.
In the video below, I walk you through both Sun Salutation A and B. Plus, I walk you through ways to warm up your practice and cool down afterwards. Check it out:
You can start seated on the floor, laying in bed, standing on your mat - it doesn't really matter. I only ask that you give yourself a quick moment to close your eyes and "step into your practice". Give yourself time to slow down the breathing in and out through the nose. Get your mind focused.
While there are a ton of warm up poses, I really enjoy stretching in Cat/Cow to start my quick practice. This posture connects with the breath, moving into cow on the inhale and cat pose on the exhale. It wakes up the spine and engaged the wrists, which is helpful before a bunch of downward facing dogs in the Sun Salutations.
How to do Cat and Cow Pose? From tabletop (hands and knees), make sure the shoulders are stacked above the hands and the hips are stacked on top of the knees. On the inhale, move into Cow Pose by arching the tailbone towards the ceiling, lifting the chest forward, and gazing upward with the head. On the exhale, move into Cat Pose by tucking the pelvis underneath, rounding through the spine by drawing the bellybutton upward, and roll the head downward. Repeat back and forth 8-10 times.
After a flow, such as Sun Salutations, I highly encourage you to take a pause for yourself and rest at the end of the practice. At minimum, enjoy a moment or two of savasana. Savasana is the glorious moment at the end of yoga where you get to lay flat on your back, close your eyes, and rest into the floor. It gives the body time to heal and the mind can find quiet.
If you have lower back pain and it is difficult to lay flat on your back, check out end of the video above for other options, including resting your legs on a couch or up the wall.
Additional cool down practices include reclined twists and happy baby pose. These are included in the video and the downloadable PDF.
Take a Break
If you are tired in the middle of your Sun Salutations or it is difficult to hold Downward Facing Dog for too long, try taking a rest in child's pose. Child's pose is the perfect way to not only take a break but to let go of the ego brain that gets bothered when you need to relax. There is absolutely nothing wrong with dropping into a resting pose and child's pose is the perfect surrender.
How to do Extended Child's Pose? From hands and knees, bring the big toes together and take the knees out as wide as the mat. Sit back onto the heels and walk the hands forward, bringing the forehead down onto the mat. Allow the belly to drop between the thighs and sink into the hips. Reach through the fingertips, but allow the shoulder blades to stay in place.
Get the Free the PDF's
Once you have watched the video one or two times, you don't need my instruction in your ear. The PDF I created has both Sun Salutation A and Sun Salutation B so you can print these and have them handy whenever you need them. Additionally, I've included a description of each pose in the Sun Salutations and the additional warm up and cool down poses shown in the video.
Stay tuned for the next five weeks for even more yoga tips for beginners. We will be showing you different yoga props to help make the practice easier. We will introduce you to some of the yoga lifestyle principles. Plus, I am here to answer any questions you have along the way.
New to yoga? I am here to help! Comment below or send us any questions you have to Taryn@theRemoteYogi.com. We are always happy to give advice and assist you in your yoga journey.
The light in me honors the light in you! Namaste,