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The Chakra Checklist – A Beginner’s Guide to Yoga

Yoga has slowly made its way into mainstream fitness and is now an activity offered by most health centres and thousands of studios across the country. If you’ve ever tried yoga, then the benefits are obvious, for those who haven’t tried it can seem a little daunting – but be comforted that there are many levels to yoga all with a range of benefits, and the beginner yogi can still move through a beneficial and cleansing routine. Read on for a guide to help you begin your yoga practice.

Equipment

One of the first things you’ll want to pick up is a yoga mat, you can use others kept on hand at gyms or studios but because of the intimacy you’ll experience with the mat during your practice, for hygiene reasons you might be more comfortable with bringing your own. Once you have a mat, you are pretty much set. You can either take yourself and your mat along to your gym, or nearest yoga studio for a trial, or you can opt to stay within the comforts of your home and begin by using a YouTube tutorial to begin yoga.

It might make you feel more comfortable to start at home and try things out so you don’t feel so exposed going to a class with no clue of what’s coming, but at the same time, having an instructor watching over you and guiding you through your first session is a great way to ensure you get the technique right and develop and understanding of what you’re doing.

Types of Yoga

If you’ve tried looking up yoga classes or online tutorials, you might have noticed that there are a few different types of yoga to choose from. The main ones that you’ll come across are as follows:

Hatha yoga is the one you probably want to start with. It’s a slower paced yoga and one that focuses on connecting the breath to certain movements and stretches.

Vinyasa yoga is faster paced and the one to do once you have a few yoga sessions under your belt because the class will move a lot faster and you will have to work harder to keep up with the movements. However, this is a great yoga if you are wanting to get more of a workout from your yoga session. By the end of a good vinyasa yoga session you should be sweating, but feeling rejuvenated and ready for the day.

Yin yoga is a great type of yoga if you are in the need of a good stretch. Yin yoga invites you to move deeper into your poses and hold them for a long time, breathing through the discomfort to stretch deep into the muscles and release.

Bikram yoga is different again and works on a set of sequences in a heated room. Bikram yoga can also be known as hot yoga, because of the heating – which helps to detoxify your body while you stretch. Think of the benefits of a sauna and then double that because you’re also stretching and releasing lactic acid build ups and lengthening muscles. This class is not recommended for your first class, get a few months of yoga practice under your belt before stepping into a bikram class.

Choose the type that appeals to you, and give it a go at your own pace.

Move at Your Own Pace

The most important thing to remember when beginning yoga is to move at your own pace. Whether you’re in a class or at home following along to a YouTube instructor, don’t be afraid to let one exercise slide by or to just move back into child’s pose when the instructor tells everyone to go into an advanced pose that you know will do some damage to your beginner bones! Just go at your own pace, no one is going to get you in trouble for doing your own thing.

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Yoga should be relaxing, so get your mat, find an instructor that you like and who you feel has a calming presence, then relax and just let it flow.

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