If you’ve just started yoga within the last few weeks or even months, chances are that you still have a lot of questions about it. For example, how is this popular form of meditation and exercise going to make your life better? Are you even doing it right? How often do you need to do it?
While we can’t answer your most specific questions about your practice here, we can answer some of the general questions that first time yoga-goers are asking. Hopefully, the information here helps you as you come into your own as a new “yogi”!
Q: Is yoga right for me?
A: The answer to this is probably a very strong “yes.” Yoga can be practiced by anyone of any gender at any age, and can offer benefits to anyone who practices. While you may have some physical or health limitations that make some styles or poses off-limits, talking with an instructor to work around this can help you engage in yoga and take advantage of what this mixed style of exercise and meditation has to offer.
Q: How can I benefit from doing yoga?
A: Part of yoga’s popularity comes from its numerous benefits as a low-impact, non-aerobic exercise. Yoga is known to improve flexibility, improve the strength of your muscles and joints, to help you relax and de-stress, improve your ability to meditate, and more. The poses and movements of yoga work together to help you develop muscle strength, improve posture and balance, and feel better as a whole. And ultimately, a yoga practice is meant to encourage us to connect to our bodies and our lives in a more meaningful way – so the true benefits of your practice will be very personal.
Q: Will I lose weight doing yoga?
A: Maybe. Yoga is not a cardio workout and so is not considered effective in losing weight. However, its ability to address overall body strength may assist in the building of muscle, which can contribute to weight loss efforts overall. More importantly, yoga will provide increased flexibility, lower your stress levels, and a greater awareness of how your body is feeling each day.
Q: How often should I practice?
A: The benefits of yoga are typically best seen if you are able to practice 3 or more times a week. Like anything fitness-related, the more time you can dedicate to it, the more beneficial it will be!
Q: I can’t get a pose down – what now?
A: Don’t worry about it. There is not a “one-size-fits-all” yoga practice. No one expects you to be able to contort into the extreme poses you may see on Instagram. Poses should ultimately fit your body in each moment, and should keep you safe above all else. And any good instructor will agree that the asanas (poses) are part of the path, not the goal. Asanas are simply a tool to prepare the body for mindfulness. That said, we reach our fullest potential with practice! The best way to ease your body into a challenging pose is to practice it, safely and mindfully, while consistently pushing the edges of your ability. That’s how we grow! If we stay in our comfort zone, we never move past our physical, mental, emotional or spiritual boundaries. But remember: never push yourself through any pain to reach a pose. Instead, honor your limitations and keep practicing until your abilities naturally grow.
Q: I’m considering taking a class, but what if I can’t keep up with an instructor?
A: At Green Heiress this should never be a concern! The practice is for you! It’s your practice, not ours. You may feel the need to ‘keep up’ – however you are always in charge of your practice. Yoga classes should be judgement-free spaces, where your primary goal is to focus on yourself, your breathing, and your body. Just as you wouldn’t expect to run a marathon without training or play the piano without practice, you shouldn’t expect yourself to jump into a fast-paced yoga class without training and practice. Rather than stressing about keeping up with an instructor or a class, accept where you are on your journey. Keep your focus on going at your own pace, and learning about yourself and your body along the way. Find peace and joy in that, not someone else’s expectations. By the way: in addition to being there to provide guidance on an overall practice, instructors should also able to help you stay safe in your individual practice. If you’re not getting the guidance you feel you need, try another studio or a different teacher. Be encouraged to explore several places, with several teachers to find a good fit for you! Remember, yoga is about YOU and it is for YOU.
We hope this information was helpful and has encouraged you to dive deeper into your new yoga practice. If we didn’t answer a question you have, let us know! Get in touch with your questions and we’ll be happy to help you move forward in your yoga journey.
Did you know that you can reach out to our instructors if you are interested in a hands-on guide to a specific style of yoga? Or that we offer beginner yoga classes? If you think either of these would be a great next step for you, all the more reason to get in touch with Green Heiress!