Autumn is great time to kick start a fitness regime. The kids are back at school, life returns to normal and there just might be a few extra holiday pounds that need shifting.
Yoga is one of the best workouts you can do. Not only will it get your heart rate pumping, burn calories and build muscle tone – keeping you fit and trim – it does so without putting unnecessary strain on your body. In fact, it helps future proof your joints and keeps pesky problem areas such as your back in tip top condition.
So if you’re looking for a way to lead a healthier lifestyle this Autumn, look no further. Here’s our top 5 tips for yoga beginners:
1: Work at your own pace
At Sweat, we don’t offer a beginner’s yoga course or class for the basic reason that you don’t need one. Our Sweat Hot Classic class is suitable for all levels; 16-60, from those fit as a fiddle, to people unable to see or touch their toes. The level of your fitness, or the extent of your yoga prowess doesn’t matter as long as you work at your own pace. The yoga postures we teach in class are built up in stages and there’s a level for everyone.
Like everything that you do for the first time, mastering yoga poses will take time. Yoga forces us to move our bodies in ways that we don’t usually do. That’s what makes it such as a great form of exercise – you’ll activate under-used muscles and fix your posture – but changing your body takes time, so don’t be disheartened, keep at it and you will soon see progress. Simply rest when you need to, do what you can do and don’t worry about what you can’t do. And remember, everyone has to start somewhere.
Your body is made up of over 50% water. No matter what exercise pursuit you do, a lack of hydration will lead to a drop in performance. A hot yoga class will have you dripping sweat from about 15 minutes in. It’s important that you have taken on enough water so that you don’t dehydrate during class. Aim to drink at least a couple of litres of water beforehand and rehydrate after.
While you can drink during class, don’t drink too much. Certain yoga poses are designed to massage your internal organs. Twisting your tummy is fantastic for aiding your digestion but not great if your belly is full. Also, lying on your front will be uncomfortable. Don’t forget that hydration isn’t just about water, you also need to replace your electrolytes which comprise salts and other minerals. So consider drinking coconut water or adding electrolyte supplements to your water.
Yoga is a fantastic way to manage anxiety and stress and also to address pulmonary issues such as asthma. This is because in yoga you are taught to take a long, deep breath. Unlike with your gym workouts, where you may pant for breath when running for example, in yoga it’s important that while you are exercising your breath stays calm. It’s this calm breath that calms your body and mind. In general life we shallow breathe, in and out through our mouths, so breathing deeply through your nose will take a bit of practice. In your first few classes you may find it hard to do; there’s a lot of new stuff to learn and as you concentrate you tend to hold your breath. So keep checking back in with your breathing and if you find you are struggling to breathe calmly, or have started inhaling and exhaling through your mouth, take a break and join back in when you have control of your breath again.
4: Invest in a yoga towel
A yoga towel which grips your mat is the only equipment we say is important for class.It’s the same size as your yoga mat, it absorbs your sweat during class and won’t move about as you move around your mat. They are available to purchase in the studio.
5: Come back!
No one aces their first class. If you’re doing yoga for the first time, you’ll be moving your body in new ways. You are changing your body for the better, but it won’t happen overnight. The more you come, the more accessible the poses become.