How To Properly Start Yoga Exercising
Once you've got your equipment for practicing yoga - a mat, blocks, bolsters, blankets, straps, and a chair, and your clothing (working out in a leotard designed especially for yoga will make you feel that much more ready for the workout!) - it's time to actually get down to business.
Your yoga session is much like a martial arts kata. Each yoga position that you use should flow naturally into the next, and each position, or posture, should be chosen for its specific health or exercise-giving qualities.
For example, some postures are used simply for stress reduction, others for general conditioning. Many postures are simple, others are complex and require months if not years of proper training in order to perform properly. So the postures you choose to use, in order to make up the full workout, should reflect what you're trying to accomplish.
Before you begin your workout, you must warm up.
Warming Up Exercises
Start with simple toe touches, side bends, and so on (which are warm up exercises for any work out), then do some yoga-specific warmups.
Here are a few sample warm-up exercies.
- Lay flat on your back, arms at your sides. As you exhale, slide your arms along the ground until they are over your head.. Repeat five times.
- Sit cross-legged, with your hands placed in front of your crossed feet. Slide your hands forward as you lean forward, and come as close to placing your forehead on the ground in front of your feet as you can.
- Stand up straight, then attempt to touch the ground with the palms of your hands. If you cannot do so without bending your knees (and most people can't, to start with) go ahead and bend your knees. At all times, use "forgiving limbs."
There are a wide variety of yoga positions, too many to go into here. In order to design a workout for your use at home, you should have a good grasp of what each position entails. Although you can get books on yoga, which will contain photos or drawings of the various positions, it is really a good idea to at least take a class or two so that a competent professional can show you how to do each position properly.
One thing this professional will tell you is to not overdo it. Don't force your limbs into positions where it's causing you pain, as it could very likely cause injury. There's no hurry when it comes to yoga. You will gradually increase your agility and limberness. All it takes is time and consistent practice.
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