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The discipline of yoga has been enjoyed and practiced for thousands of years. Today, it’s grown into a multi-billion dollar industry with over 55 million people practicing yoga in the US in 2020 alone. There’s a reason yoga has become more and more popular around the world. You can do it almost anywhere at any age, it doesn’t have to cost a lot of money to practice, and the health benefits are virtually endless.

Most people who are new to yoga have different reasons to try it out. Weight loss and burning fat with yoga is the most common attraction to the discipline, but yoga provides a multitude of benefits such as lowering blood pressure, reducing stress, enhancing balance, and so much more.

The word yoga means “union,” and that’s a perfect description because the underlying philosophy of yoga is to unify or harmonize the body and mind together to render peace, fitness, and overall balance. If you are getting into yoga to improve your body, be prepared to enjoy the emotional and mental improvements that go along with a regular yoga regimen. 

To be sure, yoga is an enriching, life-affirming practice that will serve you well on many different levels. But if you’re new to yoga, some common mistakes could put a downer on your introduction to the discipline. Here are a few tips to avoid pitfalls most beginners run into when first starting a new yoga routine.

Keep Breathing 

It may seem obvious because we breathe all the time, but a common phenomenon among beginners of yoga is the tendency to hold one’s breath. This is a natural response to moving the body in different ways. But a key element of embracing the full yoga experience is joining harmonic breathing with each asana (position or yoga pose). The act of deeply inhaling and exhaling in tandem with movements results in better balance both internally and physically so you can experience the full benefits of yoga.

Go Your Own Pace

If you’re new to yoga, you might be super-enthusiastic and want to dive right into a routine. That’s great, but it’s important to start simple with easy routines and progress with more complex movements as you become more familiar with yoga. As the old saying goes, “you’ve got to crawl before you walk,” and that’s really true for all beginners of yoga. Too often, a beginner will get discouraged if they start with an overly challenging routine. Avoid disappointment by starting at your level of ability and mobility; it will encourage you to keep going and embrace yoga as a lifetime practice.

Get Prepared

As mentioned, yoga doesn’t have to cost a lot of money, but there are a few things you might need to invest in. For example, a good yoga mat is the single-most piece of equipment you may want when you start your routine. While you can certainly use a thick beach towel, an inexpensive yoga mat will stay securely in place and provide more stability. Also, make sure you wear clean, breathable clothing. Clothing that is too tight or traps in moisture from sweat can lead to uncomfortable yeast infections. If you’ve fallen prey to this experience, then a simple swab test and antifungal treatment will get you back in shape for your next yoga class in no time. Although you don’t have to spend loads of money on yoga gear, a decent mat and proper attire will keep you safe and healthy as you enjoy your yoga sessions.

Don’t Get Intimidated

Let’s face it, starting anything new may feel awkward and can be intimidating in the beginning. Not knowing what to do isn’t fun, but it’s a natural process of learning. If you’re starting in a yoga class, don’t let veterans (or the instructor) intimidate you. Remember, they started at ground zero, too, just like you. Nobody comes out of the gate mastering their first downward dog. Also, be patient with yourself and your progress. Avoid self-defeating thoughts like “I’ll never get this” or “This is too hard.” If negative thoughts start to bully you out of your practice, then start remembering why you started yoga in the first place. Take stock of the accomplishments you have made, and remember anything worthwhile is worth pursuing. Lastly, remember you are investing in yourself, your health, and your future, so keep going!

20 minute easy yoga routine

Perhaps the biggest and best tip for those new to yoga is to enjoy yourself. Pat yourself on the back for trying something new and taking steps to improve your life. Yoga is a beautiful practice that yields bountiful rewards as it is enriching and satisfying for the body, spirit, and mind. As you continue to practice yoga, you will gain more confidence, comfort, and gratification, and you are sure to see clear enhancements in your health and life.