When first starting with a new form of exercise, safety should come first. This is particularly true if you have not worked out for a while. Yoga is a complete workout of body, mind and spirit, though most people think of it mainly in relation to a physical workout.
It is true that yoga has a range of postures, so of which look impossible for the average human body. Yet yoga is suitable for people of all ages, body types and levels of physical ability. Even if you have some health concerns, yoga should be safe provided you know what you are doing. Yoga is low impact, so it is ideal for people with arthritis. It builds bone and muscle, so it is perfect for those who have osteoporosis or who wish to lose weight.
Because yoga uses your own body weight to work out, there is no fancy or confusing equipment, yet it is just as effective as hours in the gym pumping iron.
Yoga doesn’t require a lot of expensive gear, just comfortable clothing and a mat. The mat should be skid-proof so you do not slip when working out, and thick enough so hands, knees, elbow and so on will not get sore if you are doing your postures on a hard wooden floor. You should only work out on a reasonably level surface in order to avoid any slips or falls while trying to hold a pose.
Not all yoga is to do with poses, however. Pranayama pays attention to the breath in order to move energy in the body and remove toxins. There are a number of beneficial breathing patterns you will learn as part of a balanced yoga practice.
Many people have heard the phrase, “No pain, no gain,” in relation to working out, but that is a dangerous myth. Pain is a signal in the body that something is wrong. You should never try to push through the pain in yoga or over-stretch or over-exert yourself. If you do have any health issues such as a bad back or knees, avoid poses that put undue pressure on your trouble spots. Be sure to ask your teachers if there are any modifications you can do in order to avoid injury.
If you’ve been thinking about starting a yoga practice, use these tips to gets started safely and sensibly and see what a difference it can make to your overall health.