A guide of yoga for beginners

How To Enhance Your Life Style With Our Yoga for Beginners Guide!

If you are looking to become involved in yoga today it is beneficial to firstly understand the basic principles of this ancient spiritual, physical and mental practice.

This guide for beginners helps educate and provide an understanding of the basic principles of yoga.

There is a wide variety of schools and styles to suit just about anyone. So it doesn’t matter what your age, size or gender, there will be a beneficial style yoga that is waiting for you.

What most people are surprised to first learn is that yoga is not only about stretching and meditating. It has a vast history; is philosophical in nature; is a life long journey and can be practiced by anyone at any place or time. 

What is yoga?

Yoga is one of the fundamental systems of Indian thought, (philosophy) known collectively as darsana, meaning –view, point of view, insight, vision. Simply expressed Yoga practice is a means of looking within, of reversing the outward flow of consciousness within to a state of quiet, joy, understanding and peace.

Yoga for beginners take the enlightened road

In the ancient Indian language of Sanskrit the word ”yuj” means yoking, joining or uniting and it is from this word that the word yoga was derived. Yoga is the ability to direct the mind, a path available to every human being and a natural way to be, aligned with our environment and other living beings.

Although having its’ roots in Indian thought, Yoga is universal in content. There are many paths on the journey to an understanding of Yoga. Every person walks their own unique path however Yoga can be defined as being truly present on our journey, in every action and in every moment. It is a means to control your mind, balancing and harmonizing your body and emotions through union of individual consciousness with universal consciousness. Yoga is union or oneness and the practice allows one to find the quiet space within.

Yoga can mean something different for each individual, depending on lifestyle and interests. A further meaning of Yoga is an attainment of what was previously unattainable. The starting point for this thought is that if we find the means to bring desire into action that step is Yoga, in fact, every change is Yoga.

Make Yoga suit your life styles needs

A Yoga practice teaches how to use our body to achieve this mystical union through breath, movement, postures, relaxation and meditation. Yoga is a way to participate in life, it is not passive and requires action – attentive action.

Yoga is not a religion but rather a philosophy, however it does provide a vehicle for spiritual growth. One does not need to surrender religious beliefs; in fact yoga can enhance unity with the Devine.

The philosophy of Yoga is beautifully expressed in Patanjali’s Yoga Sutra - a classical guide to Yoga practice that outlines the “Eights Limbs of Yoga”.

Adherence to and study of these “limbs” informs our path.

    • Yama = practice of restraint
    • Niyama = Observance
    • Asana = Postures
    • Pranayama = ​Breathing
    • Pratyahara = Withdrawal of senses
    • Dharana = Concentration
    • ​Dhyana = Meditation
    • Samadhi = Absorption

 Exploration of these limbs leads to refinement and ultimate internal focus. The third limb, asanas or postures is the most popular today and the physicality of this limb provides strength and stamina for the inner journey of meditation and concentration.

Many different interpretations of the meaning of Yoga have been studied throughout history and there are many possible ways to interpret meaning, however fundamentally we can understand Yoga as an individual journey on a path on which we need to pay careful attention and observation to the direction in which we are travelling.

Brief History of Yoga 

Yoga, a vast and complex tradition, meaning unity, oneness and a harmonizing balance between mind, breath and body, has a long history. Yoga originated in India thousands of years ago, evidenced through archeological excavations from the Indus Valley that uncovered images of Lord Shiva in yoga postures and meditation positions.

It is known that Yoga predates written history and that over 5000 years ago it was practiced - the discipline passing orally from teacher to student. Part of the Hindu religious tradition, Yoga was taught in order to enhance and develop the body, mind and emotions of the many disciples and devotees.

We do not know exactly when Yoga began, but it was considered ancient at the time when The Bhagavad Gita, a popular scripture, was composed 2500 years ago. The history of Yoga can be traced as we read the many sacred texts of yoga, such as the Vedas, the Upanishads and The Bhagavad Gita.

​Yoga history is rich and vibrant

The songs, mantras, rituals, practices and beliefs documented in these sacred texts provide the foundation of yogic principles that are applied today, many thousands of years since the ancients observed the perfect balance in nature and sought to apply the same to humankind.

Later, some time in the second century, over 2000 years ago, the great mystical scholar and yogi Patanjali, who is often considered the father of yoga, wrote The Yoga Sutras. In these works Patanjali presented the knowledge of the ancient texts in an organized form and he created Asta-anga -“Eight Limbs of Yoga”, a potent, affirmative guide for heartfelt living; universal in context yet definitive and concise. These sutras still underpin and strongly influence most forms of modern Yoga. In the same period the yogi, Swatmarama wrote Hatha Yoga Padipika, a further treatise on body, mind control.

These sutras still underpin and strongly influence most forms of modern Yoga. In the same period the yogi, Swatmarama wrote Hatha Yoga Padipika, a further treatise on body, mind control.

Start Yoga and begin the journey

Eastern Yoga masters began travelling to the West in the early 20th century resulting in increased interested in the practice of Hatha Yoga. The life work of the yogis T Krishnamacharya and Swami Sivananda promoted this practice in both the East and West - many outstanding texts being written by Swami Sivananda and Krishnamacharya and his students BKS Iyengar, TKV Desikachar and Pattabhi Jois to compliment the ancient works. It is said that Yoga is India’s greatest gift to the world.

Reading and reflecting on any of these above mentioned texts can provide further information on the history and practice of yoga – the spiritual union of individual consciousness and universal consciousness, enduring through the ages. This ancient and vast tradition is as relevant today as it was thousands of years ago.

​How is The Best Way to Begin Yoga?

Begin without struggle or obsession but with intention. An individual journey, you may begin from any starting point such as by studying the Yoga Sutras, by meditating or by engaging in the physical exercises of Yoga – asanas.

Start your yoga for beginners journey now

How to start yoga will always depend on the individuals needs and reasons for beginning yoga. More often than not  the best way to start yoga is to find a beginners yoga class in your local area. You will quickly find out which style of Yoga is best suited for you.

How to start yoga will always depend on the individuals needs and reasons for beginning yoga. More often than not  the best way to start yoga is to find a beginners yoga class in your local area. You will quickly find out which style of Yoga is best suited for you.

  Thinking about beginning yoga can often be more difficult than actually going to a beginners yoga class and participating in a class.  Look around at what type of Yoga is available to you and what type you feel may suit your personality then make the appropriate contacts and begin with an open heart and an open mind. The student-teacher relationship is an important component; so ensure that your teacher enables individual expression in a supportive context.

Starting yoga early is best

If you choose to practice asanas you may begin your practice with a brief meditation/intention. This enables you to ground yourself and connect with the space you are entering.

No one regrets starting Yoga, only not starting earlier ​!

Once you begin you will see that the most basic and essential element is the pranayama - breath. Linking the breath to body/movement is intrinsic to practice as the breath is the intelligence of the body. It is important to breathe in and out through the nose and into the belly. Concentration on the breath allows the body to become balanced and controlled as breath awareness energizes our mind and body.

Breath is our life force and we need oxygen to purify the blood stream and burn up waste matter. Practice should therefore begin with gentle, deep breathing connected to movement. Just as Yoga is movement from one point to another so too is the breath. Practice is also looking for a balance of Sthira – strength, steadiness and stability while being alert and Sukha – comfort, lightness, flexibility while being at ease and happy.

Yoga and mediation in peace

Guided by your teacher and/or independent research you can practice Asanas or postures, intended to instil steadiness, alertness whilst maintaining comfort in the pose and acceptance of our body as it is. It is beneficial to take time to observe how you feel before, during and after each posture, as only then can you be aware of the vital flow of energy through your body.

​It's important to make time for your health and wellbeing

A basic practice involves warm-up sequences followed by basic Yoga postures such as seated twists, down facing dog, cat cow, child pose, cobra, mountain, triangle and forward bend. Each pose should be complimented by a counter pose and each pose should be appropriate to need.

At the conclusion of your practice it is important to take time to relax your body through deep breathing and mind concentration. Resting on your back, this allows for the release of any tension in the body and for restoration to take place through oxygen exchange. This is the practice of Yoga Nidra. A short seated meditation after Yoga Nidra is a transition back into the world.

Remember always that the breath is your best teacher – compromising the easy flow of breath to achieve an asana is not practicing Yoga. Listen to your own body, find your own rhythm and allow your body to be your teacher.

 What is The Best Style of Yoga Classes for Beginners?

yoga motivation

Yoga teaches to accept yourself where you are, so to begin practice you need to know your needs, your strengths and your weaknesses.There are many different styles of yoga practice from which you can choose the style most suitable.

There is a Yoga class to suit everyone

Hatha, the Sanskrit term for physical posture, is a slow, gentle, balancing practice where poses are held for a few breaths. Hatha Yoga is an ideal style of yoga for beginners. Hatha Yoga is often voted as the best yoga for beginners.


Vinyasa Yoga links movement to breath in a quick paced, dynamic movement based practice. It is intense and appeals to those wanted a strenuous workout or endurance athletes. This is not a style of  beginner yoga. Its better to gradually work your way up towards a Vinyasa yoga class.

Iyengar Yoga is focussed on body alignment and poses are held for a while with the aid of props such as straps and blocks. It is a detailed and precise practice, slow paced and gentle.

Ashtanga Yoga follows a non-stop sequence of poses in the same order in every class. The routine poses are challenging, designed to build internal heat through breath and movement. The structure of Ashtanga practice appeals to those who like order and predictabilty in their lives.

Bikram Yoga is a 90minute sequence of 26 poses practiced in a heated room. It is a vigorous practice and it is necessary to hydrate sufficiently. Like Ashtanga it is orderly, predictable and challenging.

Hot Yoga does not follow the Bikram sequence but is practiced in a heated room. It is a tough, sweaty work out.

Kundalini Yoga is mentally challenging. Kriyas – repetitive physical exercises, intense breath work, chanting, singing and meditation are all components of Kundalini Yoga. It is a more spiritual and philosophical practice therefore suited to those who are looking for more than the physical. It focusses heavily on the internal aspects of yoga.

Yin Yoga is slow, calm and meditative. Poses are held for several minutes to lengthen connective tissue and fascia and calm the mind. It is restorative and balancing.

Restorative Yoga is very slow moving and calming, with long poses allows the mind and body to experience deep relaxation. Props are used to support the body in each pose. It is very gentle and perfect for anyone wanting to unwind.

Being sensitive to your needs and intentions helps in making a choice about what style of Yoga to practice. 

 Best 5 Yoga Poses for Beginners

The best poses are often the ones that are the most enjoyable however these five poses can form the basis for practice.

Beginners yoga

Mountain Pose / Tadasana

Mountain pose
  • Simply stand—feet hip-width apart, weight spread evenly—with your arms at your sides
  • ​Breathe slowly and deeply at an even pace, keeping your neck aligned with the rest of your spine
  • You can move your hands and arms as you focus
  • Some people take a prayer position or reach up to the sky for a stretch
  • This pose is excellent for breath control, improving posture and achieving mental and physical balance

Downward facing dog / Adho mukha svanasana

Downward dog stretch
  • Get on all fours with hands and knees shoulder-and-hips-width apart
  • Walk your hands forward and spread your fingers wide for stability
  • ​Curl your toes under and carefully press your hips upward so your body looks like an inverted V with your knees slightly bent
  • You can get a stronger stretch by keeping your heels on the floor; “walk your dog” by alternately pressing your heels down.​
  • This pose is great for stretching, especially calves and heals and encourages full body circulation.

Child’s pose / Balasana

Childs pose
  • Sit upright comfortably on your heels
  • Roll your torso forward and bring your forehead to rest on the ground in front of you
  • ​Extending your arms forward, lower your chest to your knees as close as you comfortably can
  • Hold the pose and breathe into your torso. Exhale and release to get deeper into your fold
  • This is a great pose for a yoga beginner
  • This pose is beautiful for relaxation and allows you to breathe into your back; stretches the hips, thighs, and ankles
  • It can relieve back and neck pain

Warrior pose / Virabhadrasana

Warrior pose
  • Stand with your legs three to four feet apart
  • Turn out your right foot 90 degrees and your left foot in slightly
  • ​Keeping your shoulders down, extend your arms to the sides with your palms down
  • ​Lunge into your right knee 90 degrees; keep your knee over your foot and don’t let it go past your toes
  • Aim your focus over your hand for as long as you like then switch sides
  • A great pose to enable a strengthening stretch to arms and legs.

Tree Pose / Vriksasana

Tree Pose
  • Stand in mountain pose
  • Then shift your weight onto your left leg
  • Keeping your hips facing forward, place the sole of your right foot inside your left thigh and find your balance​
  • When you’re there, take a prayer position with your hands
  • ​To kick it up a notch, reach your arms up as you would in mountain pose
  • Be sure to repeat on the other side
  • This pose improves your balance; strengthens your thighs, calves, ankles, and spine
  • These poses are great beginner yoga poses that will help improve flexibility, breathing, ​ muscle strength and relieve tension

 How Can I Start Yoga at Home ?

 Some times it's not easy to find yoga classes for beginners where you live. The times may not suit your daily schedule or you might live a bit to far away from the closest school. There are a lot of reasons why it might be best to start beginning yoga at home. All that really matters is that you do make a start.

Its a great time to start yoga at home

Start with intention and set realistic goals perhaps by starting with a short daily sequence and then building up practice. Your home practice should be based on your individual needs. You can move at your own pace and are more able to listen and intuit your body and its’ needs modifying practice accordingly. A short restorative practice is perfect if you do not have a lot of time but are weary whereas standing poses provide grounding and stability while an energizing morning practice is a great way to start the day.

You may want to listen to an instructional Yoga app, have a DVD to guide you or you may want to bring what you have learned in a class or read about into your home practice. The choice is entirely yours.

It is also good to have a special space in which to practice. Somewhere quiet, special, spiritual, where you have all you need, such as your mat and props, close by as well as objects or art works of personal significance. If you enjoy music while you practice the choice is yours. In actual fact by doing yoga at home you have your unique yoga studio.

A home practice is empowering, as you are in control and are able to develop a sound knowledge of your body and its’ needs. Listening to these needs and responding with relevant practice increases resilience and self-knowledge.  Practicing Yoga at home for beginners is a great way to get started. There is an impressive selection of Yoga videos for beginners available  for an excellent Yoga session in the comfort of your own home.

A home practice is a great gift to self.

What Clothing and Equipment Do I Need to Get Started ?

You’re going to want comfortable, stretchy clothing to practice in, but avoid wearing clothes that are too loose as they can be a distraction during your practice.

Also, if you have long hair you’re going to want to have a hair elastic, headband, and/or clips ready to keep your hair out of your face.

yoga at home for beginners

A Yoga matt, towel or a spongy matt can make you more comfortable. While props such as bolsters, straps and blocks can also assist you. Yoga exercises for beginners will rarely involve any props and schools will often supply props if needed.

The practice of Yoga Asanas aims to develop the balance between the two qualities of Sthira, meaning strength, steadiness and stability, being alert, and Sukha meaning comfort, lightness, flexibility, feeling at ease… happy. So Dress and equip yourself accordingly. There is no excuse now to get started. Go and progressive from Yoga for beginners to Yogis master!

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