Like everyone else, you've already vaguely heard about yoga. For a long time, you were convinced that this practice was reserved for a few initiates, or a handful of notorious stars. But this is not the case! Yoga is a true wellness discipline accessible to all. It can offer you important daily benefits. Do you want to enter this unknown universe? Don't panic, we are here to help you!
What is yoga?
First of all, let's get back to the basics. What exactly does yoga consist of? Yes, we must admit that there are many preconceived ideas about this practice. So let's start by untangling the true from the false to better understand this ancestral discipline.
Yoga was born many, many years ago in India. Initially, it was a spiritual practice that was transmitted from generation to generation. In Sanskrit, the word "yoga" means "union". For good reason, yoga was about union between body and mind!
For the Indians, body and mind are complementary, and harmony between the two is essential for well-being. Indeed, one cannot function without the other, and it is crucial to find a balance between these two human constituents.
According to Indian beliefs, the human soul should also be in union with the soul of the Creator. Each had to merge into the great Whole. So yoga had these two main aims: to unite the soul and the body, and to unite the human soul with the eternal soul.
However, yoga has subsequently traveled through ages and cultures. Today, this discipline is known all over the world, and apprehended in different ways according to the currents. In the West, it is mainly perceived as a well-being technique.
It is therefore perfectly possible to use yoga simply to improve one's physical and psychic well-being. Not everyone practices yoga for spiritual purposes. Most of the time, the objective is to refocus on oneself and to relax fully.
What is yoga based on?
The basics of yoga are inspired by principles found in Chinese medicine. Through various body postures, breathing exercises, and psychic exercises similar to meditation, yoga helps to release tensions located in the chakras.
Chakras can be defined as energy points located in different parts of the body. Each chakra is connected to an organ, and allows or hinders its proper functioning. A chakra can also be connected to mental or spiritual faculties.
The tensions accumulated in the chakras can therefore be the cause of many physical and mental ailments in the human being. Releasing these tensions can sometimes help to solve various problems, but also to regain general well-being.
What are the benefits of yoga?
Concretely, in which situations is yoga recommended? First of all, be aware that yoga can be practiced for no specific reason. Above all, yoga is a good way to prevent diseases and other difficulties rather than cure them.
Therefore, you can perfectly practice yoga without any specific reason. This discipline represents a real way to preserve your psychic and physical balance on a daily basis. It can also be your little moment of relaxation of the day!
Apart from a daily well-being, yoga is also a good way to soothe various ailments of the body as well as the mind. This practice can also improve or even cure many small daily worries. Let's discover together which ones.
Yoga is based, among other things, on various physical postures. These are more or less similar to gymnastic figures. In the long term, they allow you to gain in body flexibility and to tone the skin.
Yoga is a physical practice comparable to a sport. Like any sport, it helps you lose weight and refine your figure. It is therefore an ideal discipline for those who wish to gently get rid of a few extra pounds, especially in the belly area.
Let's also remember that yoga helps to relax the mind, but also ... the body! After a yoga session, your muscular tensions will disappear. Some pains can also be soothed by yoga, especially back pain. You will suddenly feel lighter and more relaxed.
Therefore, yoga is known to fight against sleep disorders, especially by improving the quality of sleep. Indeed, this discipline helps to plunge more easily into a meditative state of consciousness that could be called a modified state of consciousness.
Thus, it becomes progressively easier to let go, and let yourself go to sleep. The release of all internal tensions also helps the body to quickly and easily plunge into a deep and restorative sleep.
Finally, yoga can be a good ally if you suffer from digestive disorders. For good reason, this discipline promotes harmonious digestion. So we say goodbye to bloating, gas, abdominal pain and other joyfulness!
Beyond all the existing physical benefits, yoga is also a perfect remedy for many mental disorders. Among these, stress is of course at the top of the list! Yoga allows you to let go, to refocus on the present moment, and to relax deeply.
This technique therefore considerably reduces stress and anxiety. By giving ourselves even a few minutes of yoga a day, we can really change our perception of the world, and approach life more serenely.
Yoga is also a friend of self-confidence. Yes, doing yoga helps to reboost your ego, and believe in your abilities! As you evolve in this practice, you will feel more comfortable with yourself, and you will develop a better image of yourself.
Few people know this, but yoga also improves concentration and memory. That's because by practicing yoga, you learn to focus all your attention on the here and now. You learn to fully feel every body sensation.
Did you know that? The brain is a muscle like any other. Like all other parts of the body, it gains tonicity by training. The more you make your brain work, the more you will develop your brain capacity.
This deep exploration of movement and sensation allows you to escape the frantic rush of everyday life and the ultra-connected world of the screens. It's a real exercise of the mind! The mind sharpens as you go along.
Yoga : instructions for beginners
That's it, it's decided, you're getting into yoga! We can only salute this beautiful initiative. However, rather than rushing headlong into an unknown universe, follow our little guide. In a short time, you will become an ace in the field!
Step 1: Finding the ideal location
In order to do yoga in good conditions, you must already have an adapted framework. In principle, yoga requires little or no equipment. One can therefore easily practice it everywhere.
In fact, you have probably already observed people doing yoga in the park.
However, when you're new to the field, it's always best to choose a place where you feel comfortable. The important thing is to be fully comfortable both physically and psychologically.
You must therefore be free of your gestures, and not fear the gaze of others.
It is also recommended to choose a quiet place where you will not be disturbed. This way, you will be able to concentrate more easily and let go. Indeed, disconnecting from the outside world is not easy for someone who is new to the sport.
A piece of advice: also avoid practicing yoga on a floor that is too soft, or too uneven. For example, don't do yoga on your bed or in the mountains. For example, choose a small gym mat that is placed directly on the tile floor.
Step 2: Choose the right outfit
The second important step to do yoga in good conditions will be the choice of your outfit. Yoga involves a lot of physical exercises. It is therefore imperative that you wear clothing in which you feel comfortable.
Clothing that is too tight, too tight, or lacks elasticity is immediately eliminated.
Instead, prefer sportswear, such as leggings and a tank top. That way, you'll be able to move around easily and safely!
Also be careful with jewelry, piercings and other accessories that can hinder or injure you during certain movements. During your session, get rid of all unnecessary objects as much as possible. You will move more serenely.
Step 3: Choosing the right time
Of course, there is really no "ideal" time to do yoga. Everyone practices it according to his or her desires, and especially according to his or her schedule. So don't think that yoga is not for you if all these conditions are not met!
However, here are a few recommendations for a totally optimal session: choose morning or evening for yoga. In the morning, you are generally full of energy, and yoga will help you start the day off right.
In the evening, it's a good time to calm down. You let go of all the tensions of the day. It's your moment of relaxation. Yoga will help you have a pleasant night, and plunge you into a fully restful sleep to face the next day.
Before doing yoga, avoid eating. Indeed, some yoga postures are quite acrobatic. It is therefore better to avoid a copious meal just beforehand. The ideal is to wait at least 2 to 3 hours after eating.
To avoid being disturbed during the session, remember to go to the little corner before starting, and have a bottle of water nearby. Yoga sessions can sometimes be quite physical, and it is important to stay well hydrated during and after an effort.
Step 4: Focus on easy postures
As a beginner, you should avoid getting into very complex postures right from the start! This could discourage you, and you will not fully enjoy your session. It's best to start yoga gently, and at your own pace!
The posture of the butterfly
Among the postures adapted to beginners, why not opt for the "butterfly posture". The butterfly posture consists of sitting in a sitting position, stretching out your legs and then bending them so that the two soles of your feet meet.
Then you will lower your upper body towards your legs so that you can hold your feet with your hands. The spine should always remain straight. Then, make light movements with your knees, similar to the flapping of your wings.
The butterfly posture is ideal to soften the entire pelvic area and to regain total relaxation of the lower body. This yoga exercise also helps to tone the back muscles, and thus to relieve tension for a long time.
The posture of the dog upside down
The dog's posture is also easy to practice. It simply looks like a dog stretching, hence its name. Start by getting down on all fours, hands flat on the floor, and fingers wide open.
Then, extend your legs and arms so that your body is elevated. The feet should be spread out about the width of your pelvis. Once the posture is adopted, simply stand on your toes, pushing forward as much as possible.
This yoga technique helps to strengthen your legs while relaxing your muscles. Result: the legs are less heavy, more toned and more curved. The dog's posture also relieves tension in the back.
The posture of the tree
Finally, the posture of the tree is also appreciated by beginners. It allows, among other things, to work on concentration, balance, body strength, and rooting to the ground.
To begin, stand with your feet flat on the ground.
Then, raise one leg and put your foot against the other leg. The hands are placed against each other, a little bit in the prayer position. If you wish, you can close your eyes to better appreciate your feelings.
Breathe softly while fixing the point of your choice, and trying to keep your balance. Don't lose this point, as it helps you maintain your position without pitching. Then do exactly the same exercise with the other leg.
Step 5: Trusting each other
Before closing this guide, let's not forget a very important piece of advice: trust yourself! You will certainly hear anything and everything about yoga. You will also tend to want to compare yourself to others, or do better than your neighbor.
This is a trap you must not fall into! The important thing is to progress, not to conform to other people. Observe what you are doing better than the day before, without judging yourself or trying to be like anyone else.
In all circumstances, listen to your intuition, and test several exercises to find the one that suits you best. Every person is different, and it may take several tests to find the ones that really fit you.
Conclusion on getting started in yoga
A discipline accessible to all, yoga offers many psycho-corporal benefits. However, to begin this practice, it is important to know a few basics. Have you ever done yoga? If so, what did you think about it? If not, what are the elements that prevent you from taking the plunge?