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Beginner Yoga: Yoga At Home

Feb 22, 2008
Beginning Yoga can be an important step in improving your physical and emotional health. Yoga's benefits include greater emotional equanimity and physical stamina as well as amelioration of common health concerns such as insomnia and high blood pressure. Yoga is also effective in combating stress and its negative effects on the body.

Studio yoga used to be the only way for a beginning yoga practitioner to experience the benefits of yoga. More and more, however, online yoga is becoming an appropriate option. It fits our busy lifestyles and can accommodate our needs outside of the yoga studio. Many beginners sense that there is more to yoga than a 1-hour class once a week; yoga is a way of life that can and should be practiced at home, according to the need of the yoga practitioner, not the yoga studio.

Practicing yoga at home, you can set your own atmosphere and make things exactly the way you like them. Volume of music and instruction are up to you, as is room temperature and the choice whether or not to use incense. In practical terms, there are many things you can do to improve your yoga practice at home.

Even within the comfort of our own home you should prepare just as if you were at a studio. Lay a mat out on the floor (or use a large beach towel if you do not have a yoga mat), and place a hand towel and water bottle within arm's reach so you do not need to get up during your practice.

Also, there are a few other things to consider. If you are practicing online yoga, set the sound of your computer at a soft level that you can hear comfortably from the mat. Close applications on your computer that make unexpected noises, like email programs that chime when new mail comes in. Turn down the lights to a comfortable level, especially for an evening practice, and if you can, turn off the ringer on your phone. The goal is to eliminate distractions that would pull you out of your state of relaxation.

Possibly the most important choice, however, can be the choice of yoga instruction. There are many different styles of yoga and you should never feel bad about wanting to try a different kind of yoga. Often a good place to start is a guided yoga class where a yogi can talk you through the most common yoga asanas and get comfortable with the basic flow of a yoga class. It is also extremely important to choose an appropriate difficulty level for your level of yoga experience; any yoga provider who claims their classes are one-size-fits all is missing something. Even if there is a great yoga studio in your area, if their beginner classes do not coincide with your schedule or just do not feel right, it is time to look elsewhere.

For many yoga beginners, online yoga is appealing because it is less expensive and more private than a yoga studio. Also, it is more flexible as to the length of class, difficulty level and time of day of your practice. To enhance your online yoga experience, choose a website that will allow you to customize the length and difficulty level for your class.. This will provide more variety to your online yoga experience, since unlike a DVD you willalways get a different class.

Yoga is a practice that should feel good to you and should be a comfortable and energy-enriching experience. You should never experience pain when practicing yoga, and you should always respect your body's wisdom--if something hurts, stop or back off the pose until you reach a place where the pose feels comfortable and easy. Everyone's body is different, and before beginning your yoga practice, it is important to discuss any health concerns with your physician, to make sure it is safe for you to begin an exercise regime.

With a little preparation, yoga at home can be even more relaxing than in a studio; less expensive, more private and certainly less crowded. Give yourself license to be yourself and focus on your health and your wellbeing. Try yoga today!
About the Author
ABOUT THE AUTHOR Ashley Hecht is one of the founders of Guided Yoga (www.guidedyoga.com), an online yoga studio bringing personalized yoga classes to aspiring yogis of all skill levels, and dedicated to improving the quality of the online yoga experience. CONTACT: ashley@guidedyoga.com http://www.guidedyoga.com
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