ANDREA - a full time Yoga, Pilates and Tai Chi instructor.

I fell in love with yoga over seven years ago, when I got a Nintendo DS and bought a game called Let's Yoga. From then, I began 'playing' yoga everyday, sometimes twice a day. At first, the practice was more physical for me, but after few months I started to really count on yoga to bring me a sense of calm during especially chaotic days. Soon after, I began recognizing the benefits of a regular asana and meditation practice and continued to incorporate yoga daily - not just during times of chaos. I found myself feeling more energized, more compassionate, happier, and with more awareness. Now, I teach full-time and couldn't be happier to do what I love. What began as a physical practice for strength and flexibility quickly became a lifestyle. I teach my students to take their yoga off the mat and apply the principles learned in the class to their lives outside of the studio. I do not only teach my philosophy, I live it.

Sunday, 3 February 2013

How to start to practice yoga

Before you opt for a particular style of yoga, consider what you’re looking for. If you want strenuous exercises (stretching, muscle building), try Power Yoga, Iynegar Yoga or Kundalini Yoga. If you are looking for relaxation (stress reduction, health, peace), try Hatha Yoga (Sivananda Yoga, Integral Yoga) or Viniyoga. Try out what is good for you. Every yoga teacher has his personal style. Every yoga teacher has weaknesses and strengths. Learn from any yoga teacher. Find your own way to practice yoga.

Finding a daily routine to include yoga in your life isn't always easy and excuses can sometimes prevent you from creating a healthy and habitual yoga routine. This post focuses on the ways to ensure that yoga becomes a daily routine for you that is both enjoyable and beneficial, and in particular, that fits in with your life. 

Here are few tips how to practice yoga:

*Set aside a regular time for yoga. If you're new to yoga, it may not be a practical idea to practice yoga daily, especially while you're getting used to yoga in your life. Instead, aim for at least one practice a week outside your regular class (if you attend a class), and gradually increase the days you're practicing.

*Go slowly and listen to your body. It knows what it can do. If it says "stop," then stop. Don't push it. Yoga is not a competitive sport; indeed, if you feel that way about it, you will not progress. If you push too hard, you probably won't enjoy it, and you may hurt yourself.

*Prepare for each yoga session. Ensure that you have comfortable clothing and avoid tight clothing. Lay down a sticky yoga mat or a folded blanket and have a cushion handy to support your neck if needed. If you feel the cold easily, have a blanket to cover yourself for the relaxation phase of your practice.

*Practice yoga on an empty stomach. Allow the digestion of a meal to be done before practicing yoga, so leave 2-4 hours between your meal and yoga practice. If you feel hungry prior to a yoga practice, drink a little diluted fruit juice or warm milk with honey.

*Maintain full awareness when practicing poses. It is far better to stay aware and take it slowly during a pose than to hurriedly proceed through a whole group of them. Find the ones that fit with your physique naturally and perfect the basic instructions before moving on to the more challenging ones.

*Fit yoga into your daily life. Practice small elements of yoga throughout the day where possible. There are yoga moves you can practice using your office chair, simply standing, or while waiting. Practice inhalation and exhalation exercises anywhere at anytime. Close your eyes and do a few minutes quiet reflection.

*Time is always on your side in yoga. The more you practice, the better you will get. Yoga is a journey, not competition or expectation of achievement. The great thing about yoga is that you continue to improve through life, and age has nothing to do with ability in yoga. Indeed, practicing yoga daily into your senior years is a goal to aspire to as it will keep you fit, confident, strong, flexible, mentally and physically balanced, and self-disciplined.

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