By Olya Amburg
So you decided to jump on the yoga bandwagon? Congrats on becoming a beginner yogi! Now is an exciting time to choose your first class and dive deep into the yoga world. If you choose to begin your yoga journey practising in a studio, the process is quite simple: choose a location, find a beginner class that fits your schedule and venture out. What if you choose to start building up with an online home practice? While a face-to-face interaction with a teacher is great, there are considerable benefits to an online practice too. But with the great benefits comes a great responsibility for your safety, the effectiveness and development of your practice. Here are some tips on how to make the best of Udaya platform as a beginner yogi.
A side note: you might be naturally or as a result of another physical activity strong and/or flexible. However, if you have not practised yoga before you are still a beginner yogi and thus need to start with the level 1 or 2 classes.
Why so? Firstly, asana flow is a unique type of movement that requires a specific alignment of the body and synchronization with the breath. Secondly, yoga is much more than just asanas. So a step-by-step introduction will ensure that you are broadening your yoga horizons and getting all the benefits the practice has to offer.
Now on with UDAYA yoga for beginners.
1. Make use of 5 minute asana tutorials.
Now you stepped onto the mat and are most likely excited about taking your first full-length class that ranges from 30 to 90 minutes. But we suggest you begin with one of the biggest perks an online yoga platform provides: mini asana workshops. These are 5-minute tutorials where the teacher guides a student through a single asana in detail. You can just watch the tutorial looking at the pose specifics and listening to the useful alignment cues. However, we suggest you workshop the pose at least once to remember how the correct alignment feels in the body and test out different pose variations, if applicable.
Mountain pose, Downward facing dog, Plank, Cobra, Child’s pose – those asanas you are sure to encounter in nearly every class so these tutorials are worth starting with. Having the basic alignment knowledge during your first class will make it much more enjoyable. Thus you won’t get distracted unsure what to do you can actually experience the beauty of a flow for the first time.
2. Nice to meet you, practice
Another huge benefit that an online yoga practice affords is the ability to choose the class right before your practice. The blessing, though, might very well become a curse: you spend half an hour looking through the list of various classes to choose one and run out of the practice time or lose the spark. Sounds familiar? Then our advice is to make your own little yoga schedule. Start with getting to know your teachers. At udaya.com you can find personal profiles of the instructors where they share their path to practice, the style they teach and more. Then give the yoga style descriptions a quick scan. Your best bet is to start with the diverse Vinyasa flow for the active asana practice. It will give you a well-rounded intro to the flow and asana combinations.
4. Make it different. And diverse
Onto choosing the actual classes. Give yourself plenty of options. Select some 20, 40, 60-minute classes to make sure you have a go-to even when you are short of time. Mix up the themes of your practices as well: a morning quickie, spine remedy for an evening practice, backbend-focused flow to experiment with an asana family or an entire class that focuses on the foundation yoga poses. You can briefly look through the class or even watch an entire video if you want to get more familiar with the flow. Saving your go-tos on the favourites page will create your own yoga library over time.
5. Find the balance between the movement and the stillness
When constructing your yoga schedule, remember that practice isn’t just about moving, it is also about slowing down and being quiet. The former you can find in yin yoga and restorative classes. Even though there is some form of stretch in the cooldown section of any class, it is great to dedicate at least one day per week to a class in one of these styles. Here are some ideas: a real 40-minute yin treat for the entire body or a beautiful restorative practice for the days when extra self-care is needed.
For these types of classes, you might often need yoga props. If you are a beginner it is likely you don’t own any yet. But you surely have some great substitutes in the household: some pillows can go for a yoga bolster, a stack of books for a block and any long belt for a strap.
The quiet time we find in meditation.
In fact, asana practice is there for our bodies to prepare for the long seated meditation practices. So we suggest incorporating the quiet time into your routine from day one. Start small: any of these 5-minute meditations will be a good fit for any beginner yogi out there.
As you start progressing in your practice try adding a separate short Pranayama or breathing practice into the yoga routine. Check out this class to learn the basic yoga breathing techniques.
6. Explore a step further
At the end of the day, we are stepping onto the mat to only improve our living off of it. So if your asana practice makes you inspired, integrate your yoga practice into some daily routines. Take a look at some of the nourishing recipes that activate the chakras or keep you invigorated. Or add holistic self-care onto the daily life with this “stress away” foot soak or moisturizing sugar scrub. Living a yoga lifestyle means we are mindful of what goes into our bodies as energy, so a series of fun and healthy cooking tips might come in handy.
Now you are all set to begin your online yoga journey. But wait, what about the space you are practising in? Stay tuned to find out how to turn even the smallest home space into a mini yoga practice hut.