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My yoga experience + tips for beginners

18 Oct 2010

I began Yoga in January of this year.  I initially used p90x since I had no idea where to begin.  I had been lifting weights and exercising very consistently for 4 years with the typical 5 min post-workout stretch you see many people attempting and an occasional weekly 20 or 30 minute stretching session.  Mostly I ended up just swinging my arms, leaning against a pole to stretch my chest, and doing a bouncy version of a hamstring stretch.  At the time I considered myself very fit, that is, until I gave yoga a shot.  I started with a close female friend of mine who loves yoga and recommended I try it.

The movements of yoga were foreign to me and the thought of calmness of mind did not register entirely.  I entered my first downward dog and instantly feared my muscle’s well-being.  Never had I felt the entire body stretch that resulted in my history of exercise.  The idea that I was supposed to show no pain or discomfort seemed impossible.  My female friend, who was much weaker than I, progressed through the movements with ease and confidence.  Needless to say, I only managed to complete the first 30 or 45 minutes the first two times I attempted it.

A few weeks later I found myself alone for a few hours so I turned out all the lights and fired up my old computer to give yoga one more try and make it all the way through.  This time I listened to the video instructor and entered the session with an open mind.  I managed to make it through the entire yoga session.  My reaction: phenomenal.  Since then I have been doing yoga as often as possible, typically about 2 times a week.  After following the video for a few months I ended up creating and doing my own version.

My purpose in writing this is to encourage you to incorporate yoga and stretching into your exercise schedules and also provide beginners with useful tips to focus on while doing yoga.  Since yoga, I have become a more centered and relaxed individual.  It has helped me deal with the stress of the fast paced 21st century lifestyle while providing much needed muscle stimulation and mental downtime.  The thought process it has evoked has translated into better performance in both sports and weightlifting.

  • Calm within the storm.  Although you may be uncomfortable, your face and mind remain calm.
  • You WILL be uncomfortable.
  • Know that the discomfort is ok.
  • Rather than resting the weight of your body on your pinky and outer palm, support yourself with locked triceps and channel the weight to your thumb and index fingers.
  • You are not the only one that is uncomfortable.
  • Do not hurry, if you feel you must then simply stretch.  The benefit is far less if your mind is occupied with reason why you must hurry.
  • It is ok to be a beginner; everyone was at some point in time.  Invest in a yoga DVD or book aimed at beginners.
  • Do not skip parts.  Yoga is best performed in a sequence and all portions must be completed to maximize the benefits.
  • Know the difference between pain and discomfort.  Yoga will test your strength and flexibility, but do not proceed if a pose is painful.
  • Control you breathing!  Rapid breathing creates a small sense of panic and will lead you to doubt yourself.
  • Guys, drop the ego.  I know many of us males think yoga is for women.  Give it a try though, it can’t hurt, and the reward is great.
  • Enter yoga with an open mind.  If you are going to try it, why not make the most of your time?

Author: Tyler

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