Basics of Yoga

Video at the bottom of article in this report we will cover the basics of yoga including a brief overview of the different types of yoga and the minimum yoga equipment you will need to get started. Remember you can perform yoga at home or by taking yoga classes, do whichever method you feel works best for you. Yoga is a great exercise with our without the meditation side of things. Many people are now seeing yoga as a great way to help many medical conditions such as asthma, back and knee pain. Even pregnant women are finding that yoga classes help them give birth with fewer complications. Plus they are getting back into shape faster.

The Different Types of Yoga

If you have done any kind of research on yoga you will have come across Hatha Yoga. This is one of the more moderate types of yoga and is extremely popular. Hatha Yoga incorporates all the basic movements of yoga and is a great place to lay the foundations of learning yoga. This type of yoga is a little gentler paced and is usually the kind most recommended for beginners.
Hot Yoga also goes by the name of Bikram Yoga and is another popular type. As the name suggests it is done in a room which is heated to about 95 degrees. This type of yoga is a great way to lose weight and is very beneficial if you suffer from tight muscles. The heat of the classroom allows your muscles to relax and this can be very helpful in itself.
Bikram Yoga consists of 26 different poses, but not all are done in every class. Much of this will depend upon your yoga instructor.
If you want to do yoga along with meditation then look for a style such as Yin Yan Yoga. This type of yoga is done a slower and more intense level. Each pose is held for several minutes in which time you meditate. This type of yoga takes time to learn but has huge benefits with developing your self confidence and self esteem.
Yogalosophy is all the rage right now and this incorporates yoga for your body and your mind. It was developed by Mandy Ingber, who is friend and trainer of Jennifer Aniston. The concept of yogalosophy is to develop a sleek looking body while calming and distressing the mind.
This is definitely a different type of yoga with a faster pace and beat. Your legs and buttocks will get a great workout and your heart rate will be pumped. So if you want to try a totally new version of yoga then this just might be for you.

Yoga Equipment

Yoga Mats

Yoga mats come in many styles and materials. Some of the more commonly used materials include PVC, latex, plastic and rubber. The issue with some of these mats are that they can omit toxins while in use.
Gaining in popularity are eco friendly yoga mats they will be labelled with terms such as PVC free, green mats, natural rubber or natural wool mats. Look for materials that are natural and plant based as these will not omit toxins when used.

The average thickness of a yoga mat is 3.2 millimetres or 0.12 inches. This is for a standard mat so look for something thicker if you want to have more cushioning underneath you.
A thicker mat is normally recommended if you have knee, wrist or ankle issues. One thing to remember is that though a thicker mat is softer, it can also restrict your movements.
If you do require a thick yoga mat then look for special yoga mats that are just coming out onto the market. They are thicker, longer and made of a material that allows for easy movements.
There are various types of yoga mats which are best suited for children, kids yoga mats can be purchased at any good yoga or sporting stores. The same applies for men, special yoga mats for men are also now available.

Yoga Bags

You may wish to purchase a yoga bag to store all your yoga clothes and your yoga mat in. This is especially good if you decide to go to a local yoga class. It makes preparing for your yoga class easy, just pack and go. Plus all your clothing is easy to carry and you have a place to store your belongings during your class.
You can purchase yoga mat bags which allow you to easily carry your yoga mat from class to class. Just be sure to buy a yoga mat bag that accommodates your mat. If you get a thicker or longer mat, check that the bag is large enough to hold your mat.
Yoga Towels
Yoga towels are primarily used for Bikram and Hot Yoga classes. The great thing about a yoga towel is that it is super absorbent. The yoga towel can also be used as a replacement for your yoga mat if necessary, as they are non slip.
Yoga towels come in the same size as a standard yoga mat and are available in lots of different colors. They can easily be found in sporting good stores and online.
Many people like to use a yoga towel as a cover for their yoga mat. The towel acts as a barrier and is perfect if you are using a mat which is not your own.
Optional Equipment Choices
The following are some pieces of yoga equipment that you might want to consider once you have been doing yoga for a while. At the beginning stage they are not necessary though.

  • Yoga Blocks
  • Yoga Straps
  • Yoga Cork Blocks
  • Yoga Ball
  • Yoga Foam Rollers
  • Yoga Clothing

The basic two items you will need to get started with are a pair of yoga pants and a yoga top. When choosing these items be sure to pick pieces that are comfortable and allow your body to move. Nothing is worse than trying to perform yoga movements with clothing that bunches and rides up on you!
Also make sure that the clothing is made of a natural and breathable material. One that washes and dries quickly is ideal. Be sure to purchase pants and a top that fit properly, don’t get them one size too large or too small.
Green or natural yoga clothing is becoming popular. Materials used are cotton, bamboo cotton, hemp and organic cotton. If you are doing yoga for spiritual reasons then purchase eco friendly or natural yoga clothing might fit it well with your beliefs.
Yoga clothing is designed in an array of styles and colors, just pick something that reflects your personality. As well many stores now carry yoga lines for men and children, which shows you just how popular yoga is becoming.

Benefits of Yoga

There are many reasons why someone chooses to start taking a yoga class. It might be for spiritual reasons or for health reasons. Many doctors are now recommending that asthma patients now take yoga classes. This is mainly to learn the correct breathing techniques. Correct breathing can really help an asthmatic person cope with their disease much better. Many children’s classes are aimed at helping kids with asthma.
It has also been shown that children who suffer from ADD can benefit from learning yoga. Learning how to focus can definitely help with a child’s learning ability.
Pregnant woman are also taking up yoga by the dozens. One of the main reasons is that yoga has been shown to be helpful in all trimesters of pregnancy. In addition the breathing and relaxation techniques can help during labour. Women who have taken yoga throughout their pregnancy normally find they can get back to their normal weight and health more quickly than those who haven’t.
Yoga is now being seen as a great form of exercise, for those who just want to get healthier as well as for those who want to lose weight. Hot yoga can easily help you to sweat the pounds off quickly, but temperatures can be extremely hot inside the classroom. Be sure that you can handle heat before attempting this type of yoga. Remember to drink plenty of fluids to keep hydrated.
Other benefits of yoga include:

  • Greater flexibility
  • Stronger joints
  • Relieves tight muscles
  • Helps to flush out toxins from your blood
  • Fantastic toning exercise

Many yoga classes today are set up with the health benefits in mind as opposed to the spiritual benefits that you would normally associate with yoga. This is probably why yoga has seen a huge increase in popularity in recent years.
Basic Yoga Movements
The movements in yoga are known as postures, positions and poses. Each instructor will call them something slightly different. They are also known as asanas
Most yoga styles have 26 basic poses and these are the ones you would learn if you took Hatha Yoga. From here the poses will start to differ depending on which yoga type you are learning. This is why it is essential to at least learn the basic yoga postures first.
Then no matter which yoga class or DVD you do you will have a good understanding of the basic movements. With slight modifications you can easily learn the new movements and styles.
Yoga postures include various types of positions from standing to seated as well as inverted positions. Some of the more common yoga poses that you might have heard of include:

  • Lotus
  • Cat Stretch
  • Balance
  • Seated Forward Bend
  • Mountain Posture
  • Back Stretch
  • Knee and Thigh Stretch
  • Cobra
  • Leg Clasp

As you become more experienced with yoga you will find yourself performing all types of postures, some of which you will have never thought possible.
Ways to Learn Yoga
There are various ways that you can learn yoga. This includes going to a yoga retreat, taking yoga classes or purchasing yoga DVD’s and books. The method you choose will depend upon how comfortable you feel participating in a class and of course your budget.
For many beginners a good way to start yoga is to buy a Yoga DVD. This gives you a good idea of just what yoga is all about. Plus you will get a feel for the movements. Remember it will take time and effort to master the techniques, so don’t feel as though you can’t do yoga. Just persevere and you will learn.
The best choice is to pick whatever you feel comfortable with at first. Then when you decide that you want to continue with yoga you may wish to take a few classes. This way you can be sure that you are doing the movements correctly. Plus it is always great to meet other people with the same interests.
If money is an issue then you can at least continue doing your yoga moves at home. Yoga is such a wonderful exercise that you might want to try and encourage your children and even your spouse to join in. This way you will have your own mini class right at home!
If you are going to perform yoga at home then don’t forget to check out the DVD’s on yogalosophy. This looks likes a great way to get a total body workout in while learning how to distress your body and mind. Something that we could all use today!

Conclusion

While there is a lot more to yoga you should now have a good understanding of the basics. This is more than enough to help you choose a yoga class or tape. While yoga is definitely great for the mind the postures and poses themselves provide you with a great workout. A workout method which is gentle on your joints but fantastic for your heart!
Remember to get started with yoga you don’t need to buy any fancy equipment. Just investment in a great yoga outfit, a yoga mat and a DVD and you are set to enter a new world of fitness.
You have made a great and healthy decision by deciding to take up Yoga.
Good Luck!