The Benefits and Tips Doing Yoga for Beginners from The Expert. Yoga is one of the most incredible and useful exercise regimens known to man. It has more than 50 distinct and highly valuable benefits for mind, body, and spirit and is low impact so accessible to all age groups and health levels. Yoga has become increasingly popular in recent years but it can seem like a minefield to get started with. There's the different poses, language and techniques that can seem overwhelming to a beginner. However, once you have begun it becomes a lot easier.
The Benefits of Yoga Practice
There are many physical benefits yoga of practicing yoga regularly, for example, improved flexibility, and core strength etc. However, the nonphysical advantages are less well documented, but still very much a benefit. Some of the non-physical benefits of regularly engaging in yoga are outlined below.
1. An elevated mood and increase in contentment
When practicing yoga you are encouraged to regulate your breathing using meditation and deep breathing techniques. This enables you to slow your breathing; leaving you, feeling much more relaxed. However, there has also been research carried out that points to a stimulation of brain activity, leading to a more positive mood. The study found an increase in Gamma-Aminobutyric Acid (GABA)-ergic activity for those that practiced yoga regularly.
The study was conducted over 12 weeks and compared a group that carried out a walking activity compared to a set of participants practicing yoga regularly, finding higher levels of GABA in the yoga group. Low levels of GABA have been associated with anxiety and depression.
2. Improves concentration and focusYoga has been proven to increase a person's ability to focus and concentrate. Research has shown that people are far more able to focus and maintain their concentration after a yoga session. Researchers compared a yoga group to one that had performed a regular workout at the gym and found the gym group, on being asked to perform tasks, lacked focus.
There were no definitive answers as to why this may occur. However, researchers pointed to the fact that yoga increases your self-awareness and leads to a less anxious state where cognitive function can be improved.
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3. Improves mind/body connectionYoga has long been shown to improve the relationship between mind and body, predominantly through the use of poses and particular breathing techniques. Particular poses and breathing techniques have been shown to increase blood flow to the brain and throughout the nervous system.
The 'conversation' your body has between the mental and the physical can be improved by many types of movement and exercise. Yoga is excellent for this very purpose as it encourages movement to be synchronized with breathing regulation. Ultimately, yoga is about unity of mind and body, with them being two sides of the same coin.
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4. Increases self-knowledgeSelf-awareness or self-knowledge is encouraged by many psychotherapists and natural healers. Those seeking this should be warned that it is not simple. However, yoga can bring about this awareness and the rewards are great. Once this has been attained, life becomes a much richer experience, with an outlook on life and general positive attitude that enables the yoga practitioner to experience physical sensations not usually felt within the confines of normal consciousness.
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The 8 Tips to Doing Yoga for BeginnersHere are 8 top tips for anyone new to yoga to ensure it is enjoyable for everyone.
1. Don't compare yourself to othersChances are there are people in the group who have been doing yoga for significantly longer than you and others who seem like they really know what they are doing. Try not to compare yourself to them as you may end up disheartened and give up. Accept that everyone has their own unique style and are at different stages; concentrate on what you are doing instead.
2. Listen to your bodyYoga can engage muscles and parts of your body that you might not be used to exercising. It is important you listen to your body and if it starts to ache then it might be time to have a break. Try not to do too much too soon and make sure you take a break when your body is telling you to.
3. Wear loose and comfortable clothingYoga involves stretches and movements that you might not be used to doing. By wearing loose and comfortable clothing, you are ensuring you will not be uncomfortable when doing it. Once you have tried it, a few times you will be more aware of what type of clothing is best for you.
4. Stay hydratedThe movements, particularly if you are not used to them, can be quite exhausting and you may find you are sweating a lot. It is important to make sure you drink enough water both before, during and after the yoga session.
5. Go for bare feet if possibleBare feet will help you with your balance and ensure a smooth quality of moves. If you do not want to go bare foot then you can purchase yoga socks that have grips on the bottom to help with balance.
6. Maintain a sense of humorRemember that you are learning a new skill and cannot be expected to excel at it from the beginning. Yoga can include some unusual poses and some people may find these harder than others. Maintain a sense of humor and you can get through the first few sessions until you know what you're doing.
7. Eat a light meal a couple of hours before the sessionAs with other types of exercise, avoid eating a large meal just before starting a session. Try to each a small, light meal a couple of hours before the session and eat a healthy meal afterwards.
8. Practice little and oftenInitially it might be quite exhausting and seem overwhelming to keep up with all the poses and language. You are better off practicing in small and regular intervals to increase your skills and build up your endurance.
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