Updated: Jan 6, 2022
"Yoga is not a work-out, it is a work-in. And this is the point of spiritual practice; to make us teachable; to open up our hearts and focus our awareness so that we can know what we already know and be who we already are." - Rolf Gates
So you did a Google search, for something like...
'beginner yoga class'
'how to start my yoga journey'
'the best beginner online yoga class'
...and you ended up here.
Call me a genius, but I think you are someone looking to start practising yoga online...am I right?!
So let's break it down for you; the benefits, how to choose an online class, what you need to get started etc etc
What is Yoga?
Yoga is such a broad practice, and tends to mean something different to everyone. For some, it's a purely just a workout. But for others, it's a way to connect on a deeper level, beyond the physical. But for most of us, myself included, it's both.
Yoga is a very ancient practice that dates back to around 2700 B.C. For context, this is around the same time as The Great Pyramids were being built!
In modern yoga, there is a lot of emphasis on the physical yoga sequence or yoga flow. The poses in a physical yoga class are called 'asana'.
In the ancient yoga scriptures, asana/postures, weren't really mentioned at all. In the Bhagavad Gita, there is a reference to two poses; Mandukasana (Frog Pose) and Virasana (Hero Pose). But other than that, the focus is on stilling the mind, living in the present and simply breathing.
The Eight Limbs of Yoga
"Yoga is more than the practice of asana, or physical postures. Living yoga means integrating the principles of yoga into your thoughts, words and actions; it means taking yoga beyond your mat."- Gaia
Here are the eight limbs, as you can see 'asana' is just one part of what makes up our yoga practice.
Yama (Social Ethics)
Asana (Physical Posture)
Pranayama (Breathing techniques)
Pratyahara (Turning Inward)
Samadhi (Pure Bliss)
Why You Should Practice Yoga: The Benefits
Yoga has so many benefits, hence why yogis keep rolling out their yoga mat for their morning yoga; breathing, attending a vinyasa class and doing a guided meditation.
We are encouraged to breathe deep belly breaths in yoga, this helps our nervous system switch from 'fight & flight', to 'rest & relaxation'. When we are in 'rest' mode, our bodies have the space to be able to repair cells, digest efficiently and the stress hormone, cortisol, reduces.
Improves Bone Health
Yoga uses just your body weight when moving through each pose in a yoga session. These poses require us to balance, therefore working to improve our stability.
Remember that stability is simply, 'your resistance to change'. For example, if someone knocks into you, rather than falling over, you will sway to the side and then right yourself.
Check out my FREE Yoga For Stability Class [here]
Did you know that the jaw and hips are connected? Usually, when you're stressed, you might notice that you're clenching your jaw. In turn, your hips will feel tight when you come to move or stretch.
Cortisol is a hormone that is released when we are stressed. The adrenal gland releases the hormone in response to a stressful situation as part of our fight or flight response.
Pranayama and meditation are particularly good at reducing our cortisol levels, by encouraging us to breathe deeply and stay in the present.
"A meta-analysis of 17 studies that included more than 1,600 participants concluded that yoga can improve daily function among people with fibromyalgia osteoporosis-related curvature of the spine"- Harvard Health
Yoga encourages and helps to improve the full range of movement in our joints. We also start to understand how our body likes to move. For example, the lower back works best when stable versus the upper back works best when mobile.
Yoga Poses for Beginners
Easy Seat | Sukhasana
Sit on the floor or on a block
Ground the tail bone down and lift through the crown
Draw the shoulder blades together
Mobilises the hips
Lengthens the spine
A grounding pose
Low Lunge | Anjaneyasana
One leg forward, ankle and knee in line
Hands on block or on the ground
Improves spine flexibility
Increases ankle mobility
Easy Twist | Anjaneyasana Twist
From low lunge, left the same arm as the front leg to the sky
Consciously move the rib cage to twist
Keep hip bones square
Strengthens the spine
Butterfly Pose | Badhakonasana
Sit on the floor or on a block
Soles of the feet together, knees dropping out to the side
Lengthen from tailbone to crown of the head
Stretches the inner thighs
Stimulates heart and increases blood circulation
Downward Facing Dog | Adho Mukha Savasana
How to: watch the video below
Read more [here]
I'm sure you're super excited to get start your yoga journey right NOW! Practising at home has all the same benefits as in a studio...maybe even more, as you can practise in your pants!
If there are any questions that haven't been answered in this article, check out this one as well, 'Top 7 Questions People Ask About Yoga [from beginners]'
I cannot wait to start practising with you!