Yoga is a mind-body exercise that can be beneficial to your physical and mental health in many ways. Joëlle Sleebos helps you get started with a few yoga tips for beginners.
Top yoga tips for beginners, to help you get started
The health and fitness benefits of yoga are too rewarding not to try. If yoga has always intrigued you but you’re not sure it’s the right fit for your fitness regime, Joëlle Sleebos, personal training, group fitness and yoga instructor, is about to inform you on just how easy it is to get into a yoga rhythm. Joëlle left her corporate career in Economics to follow her passion for yoga and has since been teaching at different yoga studios in Cape Town and hosts regular yoga retreats and events. Here are Joëlle’s top ten tips for getting into the swing of things.
- You do not need to be flexible to do yoga
The perception that you have to be flexible to do yoga is false. Getting your body into a rhythm and allowing your muscles to stretch takes time and you will become more flexible with practice. Anyone can do and will benefit from practicing yoga no matter your flexibility level, gender or age.
- Focus on your breath
One thing beginners tend to forget is to focus on their breath. Conscious breathing allows you to fully focus on what you’re doing and to be present in the moment. It also allows you to connect to your energy from within and allows the movement of the body to follow the rhythm of the breath. It’s a form of stress relief as you let go of the past and focus on the now. It’s a simple but important practice in yoga.
While alignment is important, there is no one perfect way to do a pose, just your way that suits your body. Everyone’s flexibility levels vary and body diver, so it’s important to listen to your body and reach the flexibility level that you are comfortable with.
- Listen to your body
Some days you have lots of energy and you feel great, while other days you just may not have the energy or strength. Yoga provides so many options to fit in with how you’re feeling on the day. Some days your practice will be strong, while other days you might want to take it a little easier – that’s perfectly fine as long as you’re listening to your body. The more you listen to the body the more the subtle messages your body is trying to give you, you will notice.
- Variation is key
Incorporating different poses and different variations of poses into your yoga practice and mixing things up a bit allows you to explore your body and find out what works for your body at that moment in time.
- Practice on an empty stomach
Like most workouts, it’s not comfortable to exercise after eating a big meal. Yoga is the same. If you are hungry, eat a light snack an hour or two before your yoga class. Also, always make sure you drink lots of water after a class to stay well hydrated.
- Meditation before and after a class
Meditation and yoga go hand in hand. It quietens your mind, allows you to be still, restores balance and calms your nervous system. Learning to meditate before and after a yoga class ensures you take in the full benefits of yoga and stay present.
- Wear comfortable clothes
It’s important to feel comfortable in your workout clothes because of all the bending and stretching you do. Also, it’s not something you want to be worried about during your workout.
- Have an open & positive mind
Yoga is all about good energy so stepping onto your mat at the beginning of a class with an open and positive mind is essential and sets the tone for your workout.
- Have Fun!
While it’s good to take your yoga practice seriously, it’s just as important to have fun and enjoy yourself. Be present in the moment and enjoy the journey.
Together with adidas, Joëlle is hosting Cape Town’s International Day of Yoga on Saturday, 17 June at the Cape Town International Convention Centre (CTICC). For more information on securing a free ticket and where to catch a class with Joëlle, visit www.joellesleebos.com
Author: Mariska du Plessis
Mariska is the editor of Fitness Magazine, Bootcamp Instructor, Writer, Photographer and Wellness Blogger.
Follow her on Instagram: @justmariska_