Want to get started with yoga?
Great! There are so many benefits to incorporating yoga into your life.
But, how do you start? There are so many types of yoga and complicated poses it seems impossible to know where to begin.
Don’t worry, though. We’ve got you covered with this beginner’s guide to yoga. Then, you’ll be ready to jump in with this beneficial form of exercise.
Keep reading to find out more about the different types of yoga, some of the most common yoga poses, and what is the best way to get started with yoga.
Benefits of Yoga
There are literally dozens of health benefits of yoga, so we’re not going to be able to go into details about all of them. Instead, here’s a quick list of the benefits that were proven through scientific study.
- Strengthens muscles
- Increases flexibility
- Improves your posture
- Better bone health
- Protects your spine and joints
- Boosts circulation
- Increases heart rate
- Bolsters immune system
- Regulates hormones
- Lowers blood pressure
- Decreases blood sugar levels
- Improves mood
- Aids in weight loss
- Helps you focus
- Pain reduction
- Better sleep and relaxation
- Improved lung function
- Reduces digestive issues
We could go on, but surely you’ve found at least one thing on this list that you personally need help with. If you’re like most people, you probably picked out a few things that apply to you.
Now that you know more about how yoga can benefit you, let’s jump into the different types of yoga that are out there.
The 7 Types of Yoga
There are more than 7 types of yoga, but there are 7 main ones, so those are what we’re going to focus on today. Most of these are good for beginners, but some of these would be better suited to someone with some yoga experience under their belt.
The most popular type of yoga in general, Hatha is also the best for beginners. Although this term technically refers to yoga in general, most simple classes with slow movements are called Hatha.
This type of yoga is fairly new on the scene, but is no less valuable, especially for beginners. Its focus is on feeling uplifted while aligning your body. You may want to try it if you’re feeling down.
If you want to relax and improve your flexibility, then Yin yoga is the way to go. You have to be patient, though, as poses are sometimes held for up to 5 minutes at a time while you learn to be mindful.
This is one step faster than most Hatha classes, but still slow enough that most beginners will be able to jump right in. Vinyasa combines sequenced yoga poses with breathing so that you flow through the class.
Ashtanga is another step up from Vinyasa and will challenge beginners. There are 6 sequences that this type of yoga entails, each with its own focus. The first sequence alone has 75 poses, so don’t expect to go through more than one in a class.
6. Hot Yoga
Bikram is a type of hot yoga, but not all hot yoga is Bikram. Many hot yoga classes take Vinyasa poses and put it into a hot, humid room. Don’t forget to stay hydrated and ask the instructor first if you have any medical conditions before you start.
This type of yoga is great for those who are looking for a more spiritual focus rather than physical. That being said, poses used with Kundalini are often fast and incorporate rapid breathing to awaken your energy.
Beginner’s Guide to Yoga Poses
There are far too many yoga poses for us to go into details about all of them, so we’re just going to focus on 10 simple poses that anyone can do.
These are the foundation to more complicated poses, so if you can get these down, then you’ll be on your way. Even though these are simple, don’t underestimate their power!
Here are 10 yoga poses for beginners:
1. Mindful Breath
Mindful breathing is the basis of all yoga poses, so that’s where we’re starting our list. This pose is generally done lying on your back with your hands on your chest and stomach so you can fully focus just on breathing.
This is a seated pose that goes along well with mindful breaths. It allows you to calmly focus on what you’re doing right at that moment and will help you relax.
3. Mountain Pose
Although the mountain pose may appear as though you’re simply standing, it’s amazing at getting you to focus on strengthening, straightening, and aligning every part of your body.
4. Tree Pose
This pose is easy to get to from mountain pose and helps you improve your balance. It can be difficult to get at first as it has you balancing on one leg.
5. Downward-facing Dog
Easily one of the most well-known yoga poses, it’s popular for a reason. It can help relieve back and hip pain while strengthening your arms and legs.
6. Cat/Cow Flow
Starting on your hands and knees, the cat and cow poses work well together. Pushing your stomach down for the cow pose and arching your back for cat pose help your spine, neck, and many others.
There are many benefits to this simple pose, including stretching your abdominal muscles and strengthening your back. It involves lying on your stomach then pushing your upper body upright with your arms.
8. Side Plank
This is one of the more difficult poses on our list, but simple nonetheless. It’s amazing for arm and core strength. The side plank pose has you balancing on one arm and foot while your body remains rigid.
9. Supine Twists
Amazing for improving your posture, this lying down pose has you twisting your lower body while your upper body remains flat on the ground.
Leaning your legs against a wall while you lay on the floor may not seem like anything special, but it helps get your blood and lymph fluids flowing. You’d be surprised at how great you feel after doing inversions.
How to Get Started with Yoga
Now that you’ve finished our beginner’s guide to yoga poses, you’re ready to jump into yoga!
If you’re not quite sure which type of yoga is going to be right for you, call around and ask local yoga centers about their classes. Many will allow you to try out a class before committing to it.
Keep reading our blog for more tips and information on health and wellness.