How to Create Your Own Yoga Routine
We’re all looking for ways to balance our busy lifestyles and do whatever we can to deal with everyday stresses, feel good and prevent illness. Yoga has been shown time and time again to help support emotional, mental, and physical health. It strengthens the body and clears the mind.
Imagine a stillness. A moment in time when you’re blissfully isolated from the minor negativities in your life and immersed in a sea of calm that opens your heart, your mind, your soul - This is the very essence of yoga.
Think of the practice of yoga as a reconnection to your soul and the inner stillness of your body.
A moment of peace, truly for yourself.
The various techniques of yoga cultivate the experience of a union of the body, breath, and mind, leading to greater integration of being, internal peacefulness and clarity of the mind. It is a practice that is designed to cultivate health and happiness, with a greater sense of empowerment, self-awareness, and higher consciousness.
Daily Yoga Practice – is it worth it?
Yoga cultivates health and wellbeing (physical, emotional, mental, and more) through the regular practice of a range of different techniques, including postures and movement, breath awareness, exercises, relaxation, and concentration.
Yoga is also incredibly accessible because, quite simply, anyone can do it. It is a fantastic way to stay mobile as you enter your 50s, 60s and beyond. It’s also a wonderful way to support weight loss and improve heart health. Millions of people, young and old, across the world regularly incorporate yoga practice as part of their daily routines – and you can too!
Yoga – The Essentials
Before you start your yoga practice, it’s worth exploring the different styles of yoga. There are several styles and physical levels of postures (asana) and breathwork (pranayama), as well as chanting and meditation.
Some types of yoga are based on set routines, whereas others are more varied. The great thing is that there is no singular one-size-fits-all practice. Here are some examples of the more common styles of yoga, to help you decide where to start your yoga practice:
Hatha emphasizes mastery of the body through intentional physical exercises, often moving at a slower pace. The flows are built around a mindful progression of sustained poses. Each may be held for a longer period than typical yoga poses, focusing on the breaths between each movement.
The dynamic series of movements in Vinyasa Yoga are intelligently designed and guided by breath, flowing fluidly and progressively from one to the next. Think of it as “Breath to Movement” whereby you move with your breaths, as opposed to holding a pose.
Ashtanga is a dynamic form of yoga that can be vigorous in how it moves from posture to posture. Ashtanga builds an intense internal heat, achieved through a specific synchronization and pattern of breath with a progressive posture series.
Iyengar focuses on the precise execution of the yoga postures and uses props (like blocks and straps) to help you find your optimal positioning and correct alignment. A teacher is ideally on hand, in-person or virtually, to help guide you into position.
Perhaps the fastest and one of the more physically intense forms of yoga, Power Yoga is focused on combinations of more quickly paced movements. Sequences are designed to push you physically, challenging and training your endurance.
Restorative is your more mindful, relaxing style of yoga. Often props such as pillows and blankets will be included, and positions are mostly seated or reclined. This is an ideal style of yoga for those with restricted mobility or physical limitations.
Yin Yoga is a style that emphasizes longer and more passive holds. It works primarily with joints and connective tissues while elongating the muscles and relaxing the mind. Yin Yoga is practiced at a slower pace to give your body time to soak it all in, holding poses for 3-5 minutes at a time.
Beginner Yoga Practice - There’s no right or wrong.
Yoga transcends limitations, offering you as much as you are open to receiving. Yoga meets you wherever you are, or where you need to be, it is always there for you. Yoga practice is always modifiable and adjustable so you can both effectively and safely move through a dynamic practice that meets your needs, desires, and abilities. You will naturally find the style that best suits you and your lifestyle.
How to Get Started with Beginner Yoga
Truly, the best way to get started as a beginner in Yoga, is to simply start doing it. Whether you decide to enroll in a beginner’s class nearby, attend an online session or simply follow instructions independently, move in a way that feels good for your body.
Here are some of the essential tools that you may need as part of the start of your yoga journey:
- Yoga Mat: Aim for a stretchy, flexible, and comfortable material, but also something you can grip, so you don’t slip while stretching.
- Sweat or Yoga Towel: Yoga can be incredibly soothing, but it is definitely still a workout. You may need something to help you grip your mat or mop your hard-earned sweat.
- Yoga Block: Think of this as your additional limb – Blocks can support the back, head and hips to help your body settle into a pose.It’s ideal for beginners.
- Yoga Strap: Straps are great for deepening stretches, or as a prop for certain exercises to help make a movement more challenging.
- Water: Keep a bottle of water nearby, to stay hydrated, as you may well become sweaty and thirsty during your session.
What to Wear for Your First Yoga Class
The most important thing about choosing what to wear to a yoga class is that you are comfortable, and the fabric does not restrict your movement.
When we want to be comfortable, it’s easy to opt for looser clothing, however for yoga, it’s ideal to wear more fitted items. Let’s face it, we never want to find ourselves with our top over our heads every time we bend over into a stretch..!
Yoga is typically practiced barefoot, although if you prefer, you can buy yoga socks with grips that will give you traction and help keep your feet from sliding around the mat.
Basic Yoga Poses
There are a handful of yoga poses that are common across many yoga styles, so it’s handy to learn them before you take your first class. The most common basic yoga poses include:
Downward Facing Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana)
Downward Facing Dog offers a solid foundation for anyyoga sequenceand is a perfect standalone pose as it helps stretch and strengthen your whole body:
- Start on all fours, with hands underneath shoulders, in-line with wrists.
- Step one foot back at a time to come into Plank. Engage your core so your body and back are in one long straight line.
- Lift your hips to the ceiling - Drop your head towards your mat.
- Press your palms and heels to your mat.
Child’s pose is your resting posture with a gentle stretch across your body.It's a chance to stop, reassess your position and reconnect with your breath:
- Come to your hands and knees on the mat.
- Spread your knees as wide as your mat, keeping the tops of your feet on the mat, big toes touching.
- Lower your stomach to rest between your thighs and rest your forehead to the floor.
- Relax your shoulders, jaw, and eyes.
Cobra Pose (Bhujangasana)
Cobra is a powerful stretch for your back – essentially a form of a backbend. It stretches the muscles of your arms, torso, shoulders, as well as your spine.
- Lay on your stomach and untuck your toes, keeping the tops of your feet on the floor. Place your hands under your shoulders. Keep your legs straight.
- Press into your palms and lift your chest off the floor using your arm and back muscles. Keep your elbows tucked into your sides.
- Keep your leg straight and the tops of the feet pressed into the mat.
Practicing Yoga at Home
If it suits you best to start your yoga practice at home, then creating a dedicated yoga space is crucial to establishing a successful home practice. It doesn’t have to be a big project, simply establishing a calm, quiet space in your home where you associate your yoga time can be enough. Check out our tips for setting up your home sanctuary.
Whilst setting up your new wellness haven at home, why not help focus your thoughts with a mesmerizing playlist to drift away with. We’ve collected our teachers’ favorite songs especially for those starting their yoga journey at home. Prepare your space and get ready to flow to serenity with these tunes.
How to Be Good at Yoga - Know Your Limits
Whether you attend a yoga class at a studio, online or simply practicing at home, - be aware of how your body is reacting and set your limits accordingly. Yoga poses can feel uncomfortable, but never painful – and if you push your body too hard, injury is likely.
If you have pre-known issues or pain in areas of your body, let your teacher know. There are always modifications that can be made to poses, or your towel, for instance, can help ease any knee or hip pain.
Can Yoga Be Self-Taught?
Everyone’s yoga journey is personal to them, and you can decide how, where and when you take up your practice. If you are new to yoga, it is worth exploring classes, to help you learn the fundamentals, develop a routine, and become familiar with different yoga sequences or “flows”.
Once you feel confident, you can continue to practice on your own, or continue with classes and utilize a teachers’ guide to help you continue to improve and get better and better. The variety of yoga sequences are never ending!
Ultimately, yoga can be life-changing when practiced regularly. Your flexibility and mobility will improve, as well as your overall health. You may find you can regulate your emotions a little easier, and those stressful situations that may have ruined your day before, can now be handled with ease.
Yoga is so versatile, that your flows can constantly change and adapt depending on the style you fancy practicing that day, or the type of stretch you want to feel. Kickstarting your practice with a guided lesson could be the start of something incredible.
Disconnect from your day. Connect with us.
VIVAYA offers live-streamed classes, personalized, one-on-one sessions, and seminars with world-renowned guides, vetted by our collective of experts in the field. Through these offerings, we have built a bridge for anyone on a journey of self-discovery to meet face-to-face with master guides, creating a global collective unbound by time or place.
While the nuances of teaching styles and approaches will vary from teacher to teacher, you will find in all VIVAYA yoga & meditation instructors a commonality in their depth of knowledge, compassion and patience, and intuitive dedication to working with you.