Yoga Beginners

Simple Yoga for Beginners

Why is Yoga Good For You?

I want to introduce you to Yoga in a simple way and explain to you why Yoga is good for you even as a beginner.

I only took up Yoga about 5 Years ago when I started to open my own studios and it was my way of understanding my teachers and seeing if they would be right for my business. Before this I had always thought that Yoga was very ‘hippy like’ you had to ‘be like and tree’ and it was far too complicated. I would therefore like to share with you my understanding and less complicated. In otherwise my simple yoga for beginners which I hope will help.

My first experiences were with a type of Baptiste Yoga which I enjoyed as I have always been highly active and sporty, so this was very powerful and moving. I then explored a Hatha Yoga class which was very strength based as you held postures for a long time. I also tried Yin Yoga which was more to do with lengthening the muscles in the lower body.

It is fair to say that all these types of Yoga gave me something different and encouraged me to explore Yoga a lot more. I continue to practice Yoga daily and do various types depending on what I believe my body needs at that time.

I therefore want to help you to understand Yoga a little more so that you can make choices for yourself about what can help you.

History of YogaHistory of Yoga

So, we probably all know that Yoga has been around for an exceptionally long time, but I am not to sure if you were aware that it has been around for over 5,000 years and originated in India.

It was in the 1920’s when archaeologists discovered the Indus Civilisations. These people were recorded as being the largest ancient civilisation from where the earliest findings of yoga through this population were found.

It was at this time that they found the motto of yoga inscribed into the walls which translated read

“Traditional Yoga seeks to provide answers to some profound questions such as

Who Am I?

Whence Do I Come?

Whither Do I Go?

What Must I Do?”

These questions are something that we all sooner or later ask ourselves.

What Is Yoga?

In its original form Yoga promotes awareness in all forms including self which essentially will give us the opportunity to make conscious and better choices through our daily life.

Early Yoga can be put into 4 categories from early times

Vedic Yoga

Earliest known texts to Hinduism. The word Veda means knowledge and were based around the following

Sacrifice

Chants

Atharvan (Knowledge)

It was mainly about the inner focus and sacrifice which connected the ritual life of ancient Indians. This inner focusing is the root of Yoga.

Pre-Classical Yoga

Existed for over 2000 years until the 2nd century A.D. Developed around Yoga Scriptures and the Vedic teachings of sacrifice.

One of the most significant Yoga scriptures is Bhagavad-Gita (Lords Song) with one of the main characters being Lord Krishna. The script was composed of 700 verses and became a high importance to Hindus.

Its main message is “To Be Alive and To Be Active”. The worked on the techniques of achieving deep meditation.

Classical Yoga

Also known as Raja Yoga taught by Pantanjali in his Yoga – Sutra. He believed that everyone was a composite of Matter and Spirit. They worked on the idea of separation to restore the spirit.

Raja Yoga taught an 8 Fold Ashtanga Yoga

Postures – Asana

Breathing – Pranayama

Senses – Pratyahana

Concentration – Dharana

Meditation – Dhyana

Absorption – Samadhi

Post Classical Yoga

In contrast to Classical Yoga, Post Classical Yoga affirms the unity of everything and probes the hidden potential of the body.

The teachings included trying to exit the body consciously to leave the world behind and merge with the spirit.

Under the influence of alchemy Yoga Masters created a system of practices to rejuvenate the body and prolong life. They explored the possibility of energising the physical body to the extent that its biochemistry is changed and even its basic matter is reorganized to tender it immortal.

These early teachings paved the way to the early teachings of Hatha Yoga as we know it today.Simple Yoga For Beginners

Modern Yoga

The earliest known teachings have come from Chicago in the USA in 1993 from a gentleman known as Swami Vivekananda (Swami Master). He was initially invited to parliament where he soon became a very popular diplomat. He spent his time traveling around the world attracting many students to Yoga and Vedanta (six sacred Indian philosophies).

He really opened the doors for many eastern Gurus

 

Swami Rama Tirtha

Yogendra Mastamani

Parmahansa Yoganda

Jiddu Kirshnamurti

William Atkinson & Baba Bharata

A Russian born Yogini Indra Devi (First Lady of Yoga) brought Yoga to the mainstream when she opened a studio in Hollywood in 1947. She taught a number of stars such as Gloria Swanson, Robery Ryan, Marilyn Monroe and trained 100’s of teachers.

Other people who have helped to bring Yoga to the mainstream was

1960/1970 Swami Sivandra who was trained by a Himalayan Master

1970/1980 Guru Bhagaven Rajneesh (Osho) who was very controversial as he taught a type of freedom of sexual depression to enable them to develop their deeper processes of yoga.

The Dalai Lama supported Non Violence and was a Nobel Peace Prize Winner was himself a great Yogi for modern Tibet.

The Dalai Lama stated that the Principal of Yoga can be brought into everyone’s busy daily life and also into politics.Dalai Lama

Tibetan Buddhism also practiced a form of Tantra Yoga and recognised the fact that there was a variety of Yoga which practiced different areas of our being such as

Energy

Physicality

Nerves

Central

Change

Effects on the mind

The Dalai Lama was a huge supporter of Yoga combined with the Training of The Mind.

Today’s Yoga

The Yoga that we are experiencing today is somewhat different to the ancient Indian teachings and has increased in its popularity from a commercial level in as much as a spiritual level.

The Yoga of today is mainly based on Asana Transitions and Yogic Postures with not many teachings around the philosophies of the ancient traditions. Only good Yoga Teachers study Sciences of Meditation and the Asana Transitions.

Long gone are the days when it took you over 8 years of practice before you could teach Yoga. Nowadays in this commercial world teachers only need to study their practice for a minimum of 200 hours before they can go out and teach.

So how has Yoga changed and what are the different types as it has now feels so much more complicated.

The Different Types Of YogaModern Yoga

Hatha Yoga

This is the traditional type of physical yoga that people are more aware of. It practices Postures (Asanas) and is more gentle and slower. You will generally spend more time in a pose and work on alignment of the body to perfect your postures.

Ashtanga Yoga

This is a lot more dynamic and was created by a gentleman called Pattabhi Jois. He developed a Series of 6 Asanas, with every student practicing the primary Series. The class is made of the same sets of sequences Mysore Style and allows each student to work to their own pace so not so much leading by an instructor.

It is perfect for those people who enjoy a more vigorous yoga and are very disciplined in their daily practice. There are also some postures involved.

Iyengar Yoga

Created by B.K.S Iyengar whose philosophy was about The Power of Yoga to Heal Body & Mind with Precision and Focused Alignment.

There is a small amount of postures in this practice and the class relies on props such as blocks, belts, and straps to develop these holds in the correct alignment.

It is about mindful and precise detail in the practice of postures.

Hot Yoga

Is always done in a heated room and Bikram Yoga is probably one of the most well-known of these.

The heat is supposed to allow your muscles to relax and release to enable you to achieve a deeper stretch.

The heat will also elevate the heart rate and boost blood circulation which gives an intensified workout.

It is very dynamic and vigorous.

Anusura Yoga

This is a type of Hatha Yoga created by an American John Friend in 1997. He taught flowing with grace which was also described as the celebration of the divine in every being.

Incorporates Vinyasa Style Sequences of flowing movements connected to your breathing. There are also longer holds in a pose. Spiritual meditation and intention are also part of this practice.

Therefore, this type of yoga incorporates the Physical, Mental and Spiritual Level.

Sivananda Yoga

Created from the teachings of Swami Sivananda and is a Hindu Spiritual Yoga. Based on a type of Hatha Yoga and prioritises Physical Health and Wellbeing of each student.

Included in Sivananda Yoga are Sun Salutations, 12 Key Postures, Full Yogic Breathing and includes an element of relaxation.

Its teachings emphasize the importance of exercise, breathing, meditation and diet for optimum health.

Jivamukti Yoga

Introduced in 1980 from New York Yoga Teachers and again based on a type of Hatha Yoga.

Includes 5 Tenets of Jivamukti Yoga and classes are usually physically vigorous and integrates elements of

Scripture – Spiritual Teaching

Devotion – Humility and honour of a Higher Being

Kindness – Nonviolence for self and other beings

Music – Eclectic soundtrack for charity and inner listening

Meditation – Stillness and witness of mind and thought.

Kundalini Yoga

This type of Yoga is a blend of physical and spiritual practices which are energising and uplifting.

Principle of this type of Yoga is to increase vitality and consciousness. Here you will awaken the Kundalini Energy which is known to be dormant in the base of the spine and draw it up through the body.

Classes include

Meditation

Breathing Practice

Physical Asanas

Chanting

This Yoga practices a transformation of the mind and awareness of your physical health.

Yin Yoga

Is a Chinese Philosophy where everything in the Universe contains balance of complementary and opposite forces Yin and Yang.

Hatha Yoga is a Yang in its nature and is energetic, dynamic, and muscular.

Yin Yoga is the opposite with a slower, deeper, and more passive approach.

Postures are held for a lot longer with little or no muscular effort. The idea is that it stimulates the connective tissue and fascia working deeply into the pelvis, hips, and lower body.

It is very meditative and mindful and is supposed to be the balance from a hectic Yang Lifestyle.

Baptiste Yoga – Vinyassa Yoga

Started in 1974 from a gentleman by the name of Baron Walt Baptiste and is a type of Power Yoga. The idea is to free your personal statue with the thought that all you need is already within you. It is about finding yourself by executing the emerging radiant self already inside you.

The practice allows you to empower, strengthen, stretch both body and mind.

3 Elements make up this class which follows a structure that is physically movement based incorporating breathing sequences to match.

Postures

Meditation

Self-Transformation

Benefits Of Yoga

Hopefully through some examples of yoga that I have shown you here you can make up your own mind as to what yoga could mean for you.

I realised that for me the benefits are about the followingIE Down Dog

Focus – Allows me to go with the flow of energy at the time

Variety – No set rules to yoga and mixing it up is fine

Push Your Limits – The ability to empower oneself

Cardiovascular – Especially when doing vinyasa flow

Strength – Works with own body weight

Mindfulness – Incorporates meditation and relaxation to calm and prepare

Fun – I do not take too seriously but understand the philosophy

Anyone can do this, and I am proof as I am no expert.

Conclusion

My journey with Yoga is one that I have really enjoyed, and it has helped me both mentally and physically. As a result, I have made it an important part of my life which I do every day.

Hopefully, I have given you a brief and simple explanation of where yoga has originated from and explain some varying types of yoga that exist today.

What I would suggest if you are interested is to initial explore the many types to find what might suit you best.

I believe that finding the right instructor that also understands the philosophies of the science behind yoga is important for a more all-round approach.

I hope you enjoy finding the yogi within you and please feel free to leave me your comments based on your journey. If you have any questions where you think I can help, please ask.

Namaste Namaste

8 comments

  1. evansese

    quite an amazing review you have here on simple yoga for beginners…sugar being an art that helps you communicate with your body and spiritual  being gives you the opportunity to focus and concentrate more on yourself it goes a long way to helping you get rid of stress..

    thanks for sharing such an awesome review… off to share it

    1. Imelda Easthorpe

      Greatly appreciated your comments,

      Thank you so much as I wanted to help those people who were like me in wanting to know more about Yoga but in a more simplistic way.

      Thank you 

  2. Carolyn

    Hi Namaste,

    Thank you for the very comprehensive explanation of the different types of yoga. I for one, never realized how many different types of yoga there are. I at one point tried a yoga/Pilates class. I thinks it would do your body a lot of good to practice those poses each day.

    1. Imelda Easthorpe

      Thank you Carolyn,

      Yes, having a daily dose of Yoga or Pilates will definitely be good for you. I do Yoga every day and try to do different types as they are all beneficial in many ways.

      Enjoy your Yoga/Pilates

      Nameste

  3. David Koh

    Hi Imelda,

    That is a comprehensive list of facts and information about yoga. It give me a good understanding of what it is all about. I am not aware that there are so many types of yoga exercises and benefits. It is really very insightful. I read about yoga during the teenage years. It was fascinating to know that it is a good way to calm the soul and emotion. To sharpen the mind and focus too. To me, it is more for the ladies than man. Well, i am wrong. There are men doing yoga to calm down and be able to handle work stress too. Also for couples to strengthen their connection and relationship. 

    The most difficult challenge is learning how to do the various postures. And stay still in that position for a period of time. It was a painful experience according to my wife. Who signed up for a yoga class to slim down previously. The most difficult part is learning how to get into the postures correctly. Nevertheless, it is overall a good choice for attaining inner peace and calmness over time. 

    One question: What do someone new to yoga need to know before deciding which yoga method to go for ?

    Thanks for your time,

    David Koh

    1. Imelda Easthorpe

      Hello David,

      Thank you so much for your comments and I am so pleased to open your knowledge to understanding a little more about Yoga.

      Sorry to hear about your wife’s experience as some of the pose are quite difficult. However, there is definitely something that will suit.

      Yin Yoga is really lovely and relaxing and is more about stretching so this is a good one to start. Also Hatha Yoga is the base foundation of all yoga so another good one. There are also great selections on YouTube and just need to start with 15 minutes and work up.

      Thank you again

      Nameste

  4. Angleika

    Hello Imelda, thank you for the very thorough explanation about where yoga came from and when. I have read with interest how you came to do yoga and you continue to do so. My niche is also yoga and I cannot stress the fact more that yoga can be done by everyone, also by total beginners because everybody will can only do what the body allows and you will build up strength and flexibility while you go along. Let us keep in contact and all the best for you.

    1. Imelda Easthorpe

      Thank you Angleika,

      I really appreciate your comments and good to meet someone whose niche is yoga. I know the benefits for me have been incredible and especially with the injuries I suffer. I truly believe in the minds strength to help the body and Yoga perfectly helps that.

      Thank you 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *