The word “yoga” originates from the Sanskrit work “Yuj” which is to unite or yoke. The concept is that by performing yoga, the various parts of the body get integrated with the mind, and then the mind with the soul.
There are many misconceptions behind doing yoga. One of the most common misconceptions is that yoga merely teaches one to twist the body into impossible-seeming contortions. While difficult positions are one of the aspects of yoga, the concept of yoga runs much deeper. As described above, to practice yoga is to synchronize the body, mind and soul.
The first thing you should do if you want to do yoga is to enroll for a yoga program. There are several yoga studios available today. Another option is to do an online course, for which you need to search the internet to find a suitable online yoga course. Yet another option is to get some DVDs or books and self-teach yourself.
Once you have decided which type of teaching you want to go in for, then you can start with the basic yoga asanas.
Attitude: The biggest and most valuable thing that you are going to need for doing yoga is something that costs nothing at all – a positive attitude towards the very concept. If you are a beginner, then you may be apprehensive about what to expect. The important thing here is to be optimistic and to keep an open mind.
Comfortable Clothing: Since the prime consideration while practicing yoga is comfort, it is logical that one should wear clothes which are comfortable. Choose garments which allow free movement of the limbs like stretch pants and sleeveless tops.
Yoga Mat: There is no special mat for yoga. A thin rug or a piece of plastic sheet should be sufficient. Make sure that the mat has sufficient grip on the floor, and it should be slightly longer than your height, so that you can lie flat on it comfortably.
Peaceful Place: If you are going to be doing yoga at home, you need to have a place where you will not be disturbed. The bedroom or study should be sufficient, provided that there is enough space available to stretch out.
Time: While you can do yoga for just a few minutes a day, you should be prepared to put aside the required time for performing yoga on a daily basis.
Instruction Book or DVD: If you have enrolled for classes then you do not require this. However, if you want to teach yourself yoga at home, then you need to find a suitable instruction book or DVD.
Precaution: Even with a professional instruction book or DVD, it is strongly advised to consult an expert before trying out the exercises, as some exercises can cause bodily harm if carried out in an incorrect way.
For beginners, the yoga sessions may be short and uncomplicated. One can expect to follow the routine given below:
Prone and Supine Asanas
Balanced and Inverted Asanas
Finishing Asanas or cooling down exercises
These exercises will be comparatively easy to perform and may not take more that half an hour to one hour. Depending on how well you are able to grasp the concepts, and how flexible your body is, you may move into the intermediate level of yoga.
Please note that yoga requires a certain flexibility of the body which is inversely proportional to age. Therefore, older people should not be discouraged if they cannot perform as efficiently as the younger ones. It should be kept in mind that regular practice of yoga necessarily creates a certain level of flexibility. So if you are consistent enough, you will be able to develop your own individual capabilities in yoga.