Many people these days are becoming more mindful of their health. People tend to undertake numerous activities to adopt healthy lifestyles and changes in their daily activities, so as to prevent the stress and daily demands of life from taking over, especially now that we are currently dealing with the global health crisis. Can I teach myself yoga?
Despite the global recession and restrictions in outdoor activities, people have found some alternative healthy activities and fitness trends in order to stay proactive. One of the latest and most common fitness trends these days is Yoga. Your question now: Can I learn yoga without a teacher? Maybe, maybe not. It would depend on your discipline, dedication, and your will to achieve fitness, both in your body and in your mind.
Yoga is said to have originated in India and is considered as an ancient meditation practice that promotes both mental and physical health.
It is now gradually becoming more of a lifestyle rather than just a simple form of physical exercise because of the many benefits it offers.
Many people have known yoga because it has become a trend in social media or network platforms. It is so also because of the influence of lifestyle vloggers or bloggers and social media influencers or even celebrities.
How to begin yoga
There are various ways to perform yoga. However, in this article, we will focus on the steps on how to begin with it.
Yoga is a combination of both mental and physical activities and can be done anytime and anywhere as long as there is enough space. However, just like any other physical activity, it also poses risk and can cause injuries if precariously done.
Hence, if you are a beginner, it is necessary to have knowledge about the basics or first steps and the fundamentals of yoga.
Before rolling out your yoga mat, you have to make sure that you are in a safe and comfortable spot; not necessarily a fancy room but any place free from obstructions to avoid bumping into anything such as chairs or tables.
It is also necessary to choose and identify your yoga routine and goals. Since it involves mind and physical activity, you have to set and plan out the duration, frequency, and schedules. This will help you maintain your yoga practice in the long run.
You can also take online yoga classes or programs to help you out plan your yoga activities. Also, since yoga includes mental and physical activity, it is necessary to understand its CORE: meditation, breathing, poses and relaxation.
This activity involves personal meditation and freedom of both the mind and the body. Thus, before you begin, make sure to free your mind and body from anything. You should be aware of your breathing since it is interconnected with your mindfulness and awareness.
You also have to practice and learn how to maintain silence and stillness and not easily get distracted by anything around you, following the duration you have set out for the day. As you perform it over a period of time, you will get used and comfortable with stillness.
Lastly, it is very significant to learn the different basic yoga poses and to learn the dos and don’ts for safe yoga practice especially for beginners. It is not about doing the perfect yoga pose.
Remember, you are doing this to free both your mind and body hence, the positions and postures should be adopted freely without any strain and you should breathe as you gradually perform the basic poses.
Can I myself yoga?
Definitely, it is in the affirmative. Nevertheless, as mentioned, it will depend on your dedication, determination, and will power to embark into fitness journey. Likewise, concentration and focus matter.
There are several main yoga poses for beginners but as you advance in yoga, you will discover various yoga moves or poses. Understanding the main poses is required before you can perform other yoga poses.
Here are the “cores” of yoga that accentuate learning yoga for beginners
- Also known as “Surya Namskar”. It is considered as one of the main poses and a core of yoga because it comprises several yoga postures and a combination of poses, breathing exercises, prayer, and sunbathing.
- It moves the body to different directions and allows each movement to touch one of the “chakras” or energy centers of your body.
- This is also considered a balancing sequence because it allows the change or shifts from one position or posture to another which is facilitated by breathing- inhalation or exhalation through the nose and not your mouth.
- As the transition of position occurs, you should watch out for your breath and make sure you are maintaining a slow pace and you should take a pause or rest if it can make your breathing more labored.
- The purpose of nasal breathing is to allow you to have meditative breathing as it filters the incoming air and slows down breathing to avoid hyperventilation or rapid breathing or lead to shortness of breath.
- This prepares your muscles and warms up your body before making different poses.
The Shoulder Stand
- Also known as the “queen of postures”. Its Sanskrit name is “Sarvangasana” meaning “all member’s pose” as it moves all parts of your body. It is said to be the “powerhouse of a pose” and can be done easily.
- Since this includes movements of all parts of your body, this type of pose is full of benefits and known to nurture your body. It stimulates your thyroid glands, improves your digestion, strengthens your muscles including your arms, legs, shoulders, neck and abs.
- It also eases stress and depression, reduces anxiety and insomnia as it calms your nerves. This type of pose focuses on your balance, strength, mobility and flexibility.
- While it is easy to perform, it, however, better to consult first with your doctor if you have undergone surgeries or if you have medical or neck issues to ensure safety.
- The step is very simple. First, you have to lie on the ground with your face up, your arms on the side and your knees bent.
- While your arms are on either side, you have to press it into the ground and reach your feet up and then back behind you. Remember to soften your knees while reaching your feet toward the ceiling.
- Then, after that, you have to support your back using your hands and place it on your lower back pressing your elbows on the ground and about shoulder-width apart.
- Next, reach your feet up again towards the ceiling, stretching and straightening your legs then take at least three deep breaths.
- Then slowly move your knees again back toward your forehead and with the aid of your arms, slowly lower your back onto the ground.
The Corpse Pose
- Also known as “Savasana” and is considered as the most difficult asanas or pose. It is considered one of the most difficult asanas because it requires a condition that will allow you to slowly achieve a complete relaxed state and release all your mind and body tension.
- In this type of pose, you gradually relax one muscle and body part at a time and likewise, one thought at a time. Some say it is actually a struggle to relax in the pose and remaining conscious and with attention while in a completely relaxed state.
- Meaning, your mind should be active and alert while completely relaxed. This type of pose is the starting point for your meditation. When you achieve a truly relaxed state while conscious, you can be completely refreshed and rejuvenated since your mind and the entire body is at rest.
- This eliminates all your worries and stress and improves your mood and emotional well-being.
- Before doing Savasana or Corpse pose, you need to first practice the other yoga poses to release muscle tension and to stretch your body because it will be difficult to achieve a relaxed state when there is tightness and body tension.
- You need to lie your entire body flat on the floor and try to stop yourself and stay still for few minutes even though you feel like moving.
- Before coming out of the corpse pose, you need to take few deep breaths and allow your arms and legs to slowly regain physical awareness before you slowly move your body. This will allow you to have quality meditation and a true yoga experience.
The aforementioned poses are the fundamentals or the “Core” of Yoga that you need to learn as a beginner yoga practitioner.
Integrated Postures that will complement the Core Poses
However, aside from the main poses, there are also several poses that you will encounter as you go along. These include:
The Tree Pose
This strengthens your ankles, spine, and thighs and develops your balance and posture.
This can also help you focus on your breath as you do this pose. You only have to bend your other knee and place the foot on the inner thigh of the opposite leg or the standing foot.
The standing foot should continue to point straight forward. The foot placed in the inner thigh of the standing foot and the thigh of the standing foot should be pressed against each other while maintaining your balance.
You can place your hands on your hips or you can do the prayer position by reaching it over your head.
The Forward Bending Exercises
This can be done by breathing-inhaling and exhaling while placing your hands on your hips.
While slowly folding and forwarding your knees from your hips, you have to exhale and balance your body weight.
In doing this, you will move your hips and the base of your spine as your body leans forward maintaining or keeping your knees soft and your feet paralleled.
You can place your hands on the ground while ensuring that the fold comes from your hip joint and not from your lower back.
The Backbend Exercises
This involves movements that could stretch your stomach and chest while strengthening your back.
Before you perform a backbend exercise, you need to at least do some warm-up to increase your body temperature and blood flow and make sure you do not have any medical issues, back pain, or injury.
You can also use props to support your back in doing the back-bending stretches and create the arch in your back. This type of exercise eliminates the pressure on your lower back.
The Seated Spinal Twists
This type of pose allows the mobility of your spine, stretches your hips, chest, and shoulders, and increases the flexibility in your back.
This is completely relaxing, and refreshing because it can ease back pains and it helps you lose your belly fats and massage your internal organs which, as a result, promotes digestion.
You can do this by simply sitting on the floor with your legs straight out towards your front.
You have to bend your right knee and place the foot outside the left knee and place your left arm outside of your right leg near your knees.
Lift your breast bone while you inhale and twist a little while you exhale and maintaining your upper back wide.
Do the same when you try the other side. This can be however quite dangerous if done incorrectly.
The Cobra Pose
If you want to strengthen your back, this is a perfect pose for you.
This can be done by simply lying your stomach on the floor with your elbows close to your body and your toes pointing back and straight.
You have to pull your belly up as you inhale and your chest lifted. Come down while you exhale.
This type of pose can improve the flexibility of your spine, stretches and strengthen your chest and back muscles and your abdomen. Do not do this if you have issues or injury in your lower back and spine or neck.
In many ways, yoga can be a perfect part of your lifestyle as it enhances and promotes mental and physical mindfulness. This is not just an activity or exercise to kill time whenever you are bored.
Rather, it is a form of mental and physical activity to improve your quality of life. There have been scientific researches about yoga. Studies show that, if you are someone who is fighting and struggling with depression and other mental issues, yoga is one of the best practices to cope with the symptoms.
It alleviates negative energy or mood, boosts and increases both your mental and physical energy and uplift your spirit. Overall, yoga helps you experience peace, maintain your sanity while dealing with different life stressors and improve physical health.