A journey of 1000 Steps starts with one.
Yoga can make the body and mind suddenly seem so foreign. How do we begin teaching the body and mind something we don’t know much about? We have a familiarity with our body like no other object on earth. Why does is suddenly seem so unfamiliar when we turn upside down, or try to sit still or even change our diet? All of these answers begin to unfold as you start your yoga practice. The key to getting started is unrolling your mat and getting started!
Yoga practice starts with the breath. Yoga poses are like filters of energy provided by deep breaths over time. Beginning your yoga practice is becoming aware of how your breath affects your body’s ability to express itself. When our breath is steady and calm maintaining poses becomes easier. When its shallow keeping the spine long and lungs full is tough. Poses give us an opportunity to recognize emotional, mental, and physical blockages in our breath and therefore our bodies. Our health is linked to the optimal functioning of the body and mind. Because they are both powered by breath, strengthening our breathing with focus provides for a healthy body, mind and spirit. The best poses to start with in a yoga practice are the ones that feel the best to your body.
If you aren’t sure where to start, try approaching them in this order: Seated Poses, Forward Folds, Backbends, Twists, Standing Poses, Balancing Poses, Inversions.
These 7 major groups of postures prepare the entire body to function at it’s best. Seated postures focus on spinal extension and balance. Forward folds and backbends can be some of our tougher postures to hold for a long period of time though they are easier to relax in and therefore maintain. Twists often require more use of the spine and vary in difficulty based on their depth. Standing poses (warrior poses, wide-legged forward fold) and balancing poses (tree pose, side plank) take practice and the most muscular strength training. Finally, the inversions require the most familiarity with the body. Practicing the previous postures will build all levels of the body for poses like headstand and handstand when the mind is ready for a challenge.
Start out with sun salutations to warm the body up. As you move through this set sequence you’ll feel the places in the body that need your attention. The practice you develop from listening to your body, experimenting and making mistakes is the perfect practice for you. Utilize yoga to find out more about your body and your needs. Focus on creating the best space for yourself and your practice will always be interesting, effective, comprehensive, and best of all: ALL YOURS!