An ancient practice that has survived and flourished in the modern times, yoga has changed the lives of so many people around the world. Ask any yogi – they'll tell you just how thankful they are for the benefits of yoga. It can help you clear your mind, keep your body healthy and active, prepare you for more strenuous physical activity, or generally ease you into a sustainable self-care routine. If you haven’t tried yoga yet, sign up for a beginner yoga workshop now!
What exactly is yoga? What can you expect in your first few yoga classes? Read on for a quick yoga beginner’s guide.
Yoga Means Union
The word ‘yoga’ itself means “to yoke” or “to bind” in Sanskrit. It is also interpreted as “union” -- the foundation of yoga is in its spiritual aspect, and ‘union’ refers to a yogi’s aspiration to be one with their God, their divine Self, and all the living beings around them. There are eight limbs of yoga: yamas (restraints), niyamas (observances), asana (postures), pranayama (breathing), pratyahara (withdrawal of senses), dharana (concentration), and dhyani (meditation.)
Most yogis focus their practice on the third limb: asana. In a yoga class, you will perform a series of asanas or yoga poses which can purify or detoxify your body, strengthen your bones and muscles, and improve the function of your body’s systems (cardiovascular, digestive, to name a few.) Asana practice goes hand in hand with pranayama practice; each inhale or exhale comes with a specific movement or pose. A class also usually starts with meditation.
What You Can Expect
Yoga is a journey of experiential learning. The best way to learn about it is to hop onto your mat and do it! However, you also want to prepare yourself mentally and physically, so it’s best to set a few basic expectations before joining a class or a beginner yoga workshop.
Starting with Hatha Yoga
There are different styles of yoga (Ashtanga, Vinyasa, Kundalini, to name a few), but Hatha is what is usually offered to beginners. In a Hatha class, expect to focus on your alignment and balance, as well as your breath. Hatha opens up the channels of the body. It also gives special attention to the body’s main channel: the spine.
Hatha is great for beginners because it gives you the opportunity to set a solid foundation for your practice. Teachers may also ask you to hold a specific pose and adjust your alignment by the detail so you can establish good form. Once you feel more comfortable with your body – or that you’ve ‘filled out’ your body with your energy – you will feel more confident to flow in and out of different poses. This also warms up your practice for exploration of other styles.
Beginner’s Variations, Assistance from the Teacher, Yoga Props
A beginner’s flow is designed to be easy to follow, but as we know, our bodies and our experiences are different. If you experience difficulty in doing the poses, or if you have a preexisting medical condition that may make yoga challenging for you, there’s absolutely no need to worry! At your beginner yoga workshop, feel free to come as you are.
You can expect your teacher to provide beginner’s variations, or versions of the poses that you may find less challenging. It's also common for teachers to approach their students during class. They will correct your alignment or offer physical support as you move into or hold a pose.
Yoga props, such as yoga blocks and straps, will also be available to offer you physical support. If your hands don’t reach the floor during a standing pose, you can hold the block and rest your weight on it instead. Or if your hands don’t reach your toes during a stretch, you can wrap the strap around the arches of your feet and use it to pull yourself upwards.
Finally, if you really need to take a break, yoga teachers will allow and even encourage you to take a timeout in a restorative position, such as child’s pose. Yoga is a welcoming practice. Don’t feel as though you have to ‘catch up’ to it; yoga offers many ways for you to experience it according to your level of comfortability. The important thing is you listen to your body as you practice!
Setting Your Intention
Yoga engages your mind, body, and spirit. Yes, much of it involves physical activity, but as a holistic experience, you practice best when you set an intention. This is to condition your mind and spirit while you flow in and out of poses. Think of it like a prayer, except you send your whole body up in prayer this time.
As mentioned above, a yoga class usually starts with a short meditation. During that time, your teacher may ask you to set your intention for your class, whether that’s to de-stress, heal from pain or worry, give thanks for your blessings, or simply just to improve the quality of your day. As you move along into your yoga journey, you’ll find that your intention changes or deepens as you learn more about yourself.
Join Yogi Studio Today
We would be happy to have you begin your practice at Yogi Studio. Unroll your mat and flow straight into your newfound strength, your best mood, or a new perspective overall.
Check out our schedule on the Class Schedule section of the Yogi Studio website. For enquiries, call us at 0490 331 376, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or leave a message via our website’s contact form. You can find Yogi Studio at Marcoola Beach Resort, 6/885 David Low Way, Marcoola, QLD 4564.