People are very eager to start a yoga practice. They have talked to friends and heard how yoga has "changed their lives." They have seen the myriad of social media posts of people demonstrating the incredible yoga poses they can do.
These influencers enjoy showing their skills and even offer yoga challenges for their followers to try. All of these things can be very inspiring to a yogi. They, too, want to be able to perform handstands, binding yoga postures, and arm balancing yoga positions. But what if a beginner stumbles upon these images and attempts these poses and challenges without any formal instruction? The results can be quite unpleasant:
personal injury could be the potential result of practicing challenging yoga poses without direction.
Yoga, as you know, is a very physical practice. It takes time and a lot of committed practice to develop the skills to perform the challenging poses you may see posted online. The dedicated practice improves strength and flexibility that allows these practitioners to move into these yoga postures. The yoga beginner observing these posted pictures need to be very cautious.
Everyone need to realize that yoga influencers were not able to practice breathtaking poses overnight. It may have taken them months, even years before they developed the abilities to do these poses.
So, what does it take?
Yoga isn't just about fancy yoga poses. The study of yoga is about living a healthy and fulfilling life that involves deep awareness, connection, concentration, devotion, and other concepts that lead to an enlightened life.
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Teachings include meditation, breathwork, mindfulness, and physical movement. The intention is to learn about our connection to ourselves, to each other, and all things most honestly and respectfully. To achieve this is certainly much more than being able to perform a perfect handstand, taking a picture, and posting it online.
Where to Begin
You can be inspired by the pictures you view online but remember the training it took to get to that point. If you aspire to something like this, you need to start from the beginning. First, it is important to determine why you want to practice yoga. Is it to gain strength and flexibility? Is it to warrant more calm and ease in your life? Whatever the reason, be clear about your intentions so that you can find the perfect class(es) for you. Depending on the type of yoga you practice, you may want to have a good understanding of your own body. Understand your personal strengths and limitations. Resist jumping too quickly into yoga postures that your body is not ready for. It is better to take things slowly and easily. The practice of yoga is a patient endeavor. It takes a lot of time and effort before the results you desire start to emerge.
Beware of Injury
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One needs to progress in styles like these gradually. If you push too hard or go too fast, you can pull muscles, dislocate joints, strain ligaments, and more. Performing advanced yoga poses or racing into a dynamic yoga practice is not worth the risk of harm to your body and mind. In fact, doing so would be counter to the very first ethical yoga principle of yoga: Ahimsa. Yes, yoga has a set of principles that every yogi should know and practice. The first is Ahimsa, which means non-violence. It is the practice of not invoking harm on yourself or others. When approaching any type of yoga, this should be the principle upon which to practice.
Go Slowly. Take Your Time.
A dynamically moving practice, therefore, may not be the one you start with if you're a beginner. Instead, choose slower moving classes: ones that offer very good and clear instructions. Find classes and instructors who are highly qualified; they should be able to guide you in and out of poses carefully and safely. You should be moving with integrity and full awareness of your own body. If poses are too difficult at first, an instructor should be able to provide modifications and variations of poses that suit your yoga level and abilities. Yoga props can also be used to assist you in your practice. Yoga straps and blocks are resourceful tools that may help with limited flexibility, extensions, releases, holds, and balances. All of these things need to be considered when you're working toward these advanced yoga postures you see in photographs. All of these online yogis have put in the hard work to make these accomplishments.
If you put in the time, you'll incrementally get stronger and more flexible. Further, with continued consisted practice, you'll learn to integrate the fundamentals of a moving practice: you'll learn more about alignment, balance, and focus. All combined, you can start practicing poses like headstands and other arm balancing positions. You will experience the journey that other proficient yogis have taken to reach their goals. Need further assistance? Consider taking special workshops or yoga clinics that specifically focus on these types of yoga poses. Also, look into private yoga lessons; certified yoga instructors can provide instruction designed especially for your needs. A private instructor will also take into account your strengths and limitations; they will offer suggestions to improve particular aspects of your body so that you are not only successful but also safe. If you have the goal of doing a handstand, an informed instructor can guide you and support you. They can provide proper curing, assistance, and even yoga drills and exercises that lead you to your intended goal.
If you happen to enjoy posting pictures of yourself in yoga poses or know of others that do, perhaps some responsibility and disclaimers can be added to these social media posts. For instance, along with the beautiful pictures, mention the dedication and effort it took to reach the capability of practicing this posture. State that it took multiple attempts and many failures to perform this pose. Indicate that the pose you're displaying is not for beginners. It may also be worth mentioning that the picture does not mark completion or finality. A yogi at any level is always practicing. A picture is just a snapshot of a journey that is continuously in progress. There is always room for improvement and further growth. That evolution might be demonstrated in an advanced yoga pose, but the real growth comes from within and the deeper intention that the yoga philosophy provides.