Yoga, in and of itself, is our bodies’ teacher. The purpose of a teacher is to guide, advise and help us absorb and understand context, it is then up to us and our bodies, to do the rest.

If you are new to yoga, congratulations! Welcome – standing at the front of your mat; feet together; hands in prayer position; close your eyes; take a deep breath in; then exhale – this is the beginning of a life enhancing journey.

At times, and especially at first, yoga can be overwhelming, challenging, demanding or frustrating, which can bring on feelings of defeat or failure. Know that these feeling are normal and that over time they will dissolve.

Tips for Beginners:

  • Leave your ego at the door and let go of any negative thoughts or feelings.
  • Know that what YOU are doing is right for YOUR body.
  • Work within your limits and don’t push yourself to hard.
  • Take breaks when you need to and if need be take every second day off. It is most important to stick with it for the long haul.
  • Allow your movements to flow from you naturally, just do it and don’t over think what you’re doing.
  • Don’t judge yourself or compare yourself to others. Respect your limits; accept your feelings and emotions.
  • Know that Savasana (corpse pose) is the most important pose and the most difficult to conquer

Yoga keeps you physically stronger, mentally sharper, emotionally balanced and spiritually connected. Here’s how:

Physically – Over time, a regular yoga practice will increase flexibility, it will strengthen and lengthen the muscles, tendons and ligaments of the body, and it will improve posture and refine balance. Yoga helps us become more aware of our physical body, how we’re feeling inside and out; which enables us to focus on a healthier lifestyle.

Mentally – Yoga helps us to live in the moment, be present and focus on the here and now. During our yoga practice we need to block out our to-do list, our past mistakes and future worries or problems. Yoga allows for better blood flow to the brain, which results in a sharper more focused mind. Focusing on the breath is essential in calming the mind, improving our concentration, our mood and our memory.

Emotionally – Yoga helps us become more connected with our feelings and emotions. This helps to improve our mood, reduces stress and anxiety. The steady flow of yoga can help people who are suffering with depression and this in turn enables us to appreciate and love ourselves, our bodies and gives us a positive attitude towards life and the world.

Spiritually – With a consistent practice we become more aware of our inner self, our true being and this brings more peace, joy, happiness and positivity into our lives. Yoga teaches us to take the good with the bad and gives us the knowledge to know that when bad things happen, everything will be ok. It teaches us that the pathway we’re on is leading us to our destiny.

Yoga is a practice that allows us to become disconnected with the outside world, shut down our thoughts, focus on our breath and connect with our souls. This is not something that happens quickly, it takes time and patience to learn and the best part is that no matter how good you get at this, there will always be room for growth and improvement. There will always be more to learn.

Namaste ~

By Karen Staples Nicholson: Yogi, Writer, Health & Fitness advocate

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