Yoga is hip nowadays and everyone’s either doing it or talking about it. Yoga and meditation originated in India, but though yogis may use yoga as a path to enlightenment, medical research shows that the benefits of meditation and yoga are also present on both the physical and psychological level. Despite these many benefits, the biggest barrier to taking up yoga and meditation for beginners is figuring out how to begin and what to do. Let’s take a look at a few things to remember before you begin to learn yoga.
The Types of Yoga
Though most of the western world thinks of asanas when they hear the word “yoga”, yoga was traditionally said to be of four kinds: karma yoga, which worked with a person’s physical body, gnana yoga, which worked with a person’s physical body, bhakti yoga, which worked with a person’s physical body, and kriya yoga, which worked with a person’s inner energies. These four yogas correspond to the four basic components of a human being, namely the body, mid, emotions and energy.
How to Begin?
Though many people’s first experience of yoga is asanas, this is not necessarily the way to go for everyone. Often, investing the time to go through and learn a meditation process can go a long way in creating the physical and mental ambiance to take the next step. Isha Kriya is a free guided meditation available online.
Find a Reliable Teacher
Learning something right is as important as what you learn. Especially with yogic practices, doing them wrong could have undesirable side-effects, so ensure that the teacher you go to knows what he or she is doing. Look for someone with a good knowledge of both yoga and the human body, who also respects the sanctity and responsibility that comes with conducting a yoga class.
Clothes and Other Necessities
Avoid figure-hugging garments and tight-fitting clothes. Find something that is comfortable for the body and allows you to move and sit comfortably. Clothing made of organic material is a good option to go with. Choose silk or cotton apparel and avoid synthetics. You may want to consider getting a rudraksha. These are the seeds of a particular tree (Elaeocarpus ganitrus), which are usually strung into malas or necklaces of 108 beads. For a yoga practitioner, rudrakshas are a great support to maintain focus and awareness. Be sure to get your rudraksha from a reputable source.
Yoga also considers certain times of the year to be especially conducive for inner growth. These include the festival of Guru Poornima in July, and Mahashivratri in February and March.