Everyone gets into Yoga for different reasons. Some attend Yoga class for the social interaction. Others want a healthier lifestyle. Some want to become attuned to their body, or they’re drawn to Yoga’s deep spiritual aspects. Being open to different people and their motivations for embracing Yoga can make the experience more fun and satisfying.
Something that surprises many people when they start Yoga is how strenuous it can be. While its movements are gentle and focused, Yoga puts real strain on muscles and organs, producing perspiration. Having a towel handy to mop the sweat from hands, legs, arms and feet will be quite helpful, because you’ll be unable to hold some poses if you’re sweating.
One of the best ways to stay motivated for Yoga is to work out with friend or “buddy.” You might be tempted to skip Yoga class, but your friend will push you to keep to the schedule. Another way to keep Yoga a regular part of your life is to have videotapes or DVDs for home workouts. Used videos or DVDs available at local bookstores or through online auctions can save money and bring quality resources.
Aside from these exterior matters, however, the key to making Yoga a permanent part of your life is to relax into the experience and let it happen as it happens.
For instance, one of the first things to learn in Yoga is how to listen to your body. If your body resists a new pose, don’t force it. Focus on your breathing and your body’s ability to do what it can. Yoga can be difficult as you learn new positions, called asanas, and new techniques. These things take time, and you should give yourself and your body the gift of time.
Furthermore, the key to learning Yoga is practice. Many difficult poses take quite some time to master, but on the way your efforts will still help tone and strengthen your body. Practice requires persistence, so don’t give up. Love your body for what it’s already doing for you, and keep asking it, gently but firmly, to do more. If any given pose is difficult for you at present, skip it and move to another.
One of Yoga’s great benefits is that it can be performed anywhere there’s enough space for you to spread out your mat. If you’re not in a class with an instructor who can correct your form, by all means get a book, video or DVD so you can watch asanas as they’re performed. Note how the models in the pictures or the film hold their bodies. Learning to hold your poses in the correct manner will result in sculpting and toning your body.
Whether you work out with a friend, or attend a class, or use a DVD, the important thing is to make a commitment to yourself to perform Yoga every day. In this way you will, over time, reap the benefits of this ancient discipline that unites body, mind and spirit.