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Yoga for Beginners - Tips to get started

Hatha Yoga for beginners
Foundational postures guided instruction

If you're new to yoga, it can seem a little intimidating especially given the role that social media plays in portraying yoga as a physical workout. But I'm here to tell you, it's not! Yoga is a fantastic way to boost both your physical and mental health. It's a practice and a process and eventually a lifestyle, one that leads us to experience a better quality of life and happiness.

I remember when I first started I was unsure of what to expect. But once I got into it, I realised that there was a whole world of benefits waiting for me to discover.  From healing myself to a powerful tool of self development and connection to the bigger picture - yoga had it all.

So, whether you're looking to improve your health, clear your busy mind, or want to change your outlook yoga could be just what you need. Let's dive into the world of yoga for beginners, and discover how this ancient practice can bring a new level of wellness to your life.

When I found out I was over-training and diagnosed with glandular fever I knew I had to make some changes, not only to my mindset but the relationship between my body and mind. I had heard that yoga was good for your mind/body so decided to try it out to support my near depleted system. I remember promptly nodding off to sleep during the Yoga Nidra practice at the end of the class but it wasn't long before I began to see improvements in my energy levels and from this point onwards I began to heal and grow. 

The classes I attended were holisitic in nature in that they included asana, guided breathing, relaxation and meditation components. Something for the body, something for the mind and for the spirit. They hit the perfect balance of physical, mental and beyond for me.

Reclined backward bend for restorative yoga
Supported poses for restorative hatha

Yoga for Beginners - Tips to get started

So, if your like me and needing to address some health issue or gain some relaxation tools here's some of the benefits you can expect when you join our Auckland Yoga courses or Yoga Nidra classes.

Improved Physical Health

Yoga isn't about achieving a pretzel-like figure. I noticed that yoga, especially in the beginning, helped me to gain much needed rest, not just diverting my attention to rest but deep cellular rest which carried me through to a full recovery. I noticed small changes in many places, I slept better, my digestion worked better and I was more aware of my posture during the day.  Interestingly, the more vital I felt the more positive I felt. It gave me space between my busy life as a high school teacher and home life to unwind and let go.  Better still, it was something I could learn to do for myself which was empowering. 

Raised Mental Awareness

Simultaneously, yoga helped me ease the mental clutter I'd carry around. My mind was able to process things better and let go of unnecessary worry.  The small things bothered me less. With less scattered attention and more moments in the simplicity of the breath somehow a sense of space and openness developed.  The continuous practice of Yoga Nidra – a form of conscious release of the body while remaining present – bought profound changes especially to my outlook on life.

Guiding alignment and student self awareness
Beginners Yoga Course foundational hatha

Stress and Anxiety Relief

Being a competitive athlete at the time I started yoga meant that routines & timings were rigid. Yoga helped me to manage and alleviate the physical and mental stress of this. Engaging in regular Yoga classes and practicing Yoga Nidra opened me up to a newfound sense of wellbeing and trust in my own capacity to heal myself.  Just twenty five minutes to step away from roles and responsibilities made a world of difference.

Holistic Growth

Then I started to perceive changes not just on the mat but in life outside it too. Taking charge of areas of my life previously neglected, planning overseas travels and breaking out of stale habits. I started to take a good hard look at my lifestyle patterns and chip away at areas where I needed to change.  It wasn't long before I found myself practicing on my own to maintain the benefits outside of the regular classes. This was a milestone - moving into a self guided practice but an important one.  It is a goal I try to instil in my students and have them work towards. 

Finding your self practice in yoga
Self practice - the cobra backward bend pose

Where we begin

When you're just getting started you want to build a solid foundation across all dimensions of your personality which is why the system of Hatha Yoga is perfect. As a holistic system, Hatha yoga encompasses physical postures, pranayama, relaxation and meditation. It is a system that is progressive and highly adaptable. It aims to balance out physical and mental energies and sensitises you to the experience of prana or our energy system. Once we understand how to work with energy then we can start to assert and influence our states and function optimally.

Beginners often encounter restriction and tightness in their bodies so some supported postures can be incorporated which enable you to hold them for longer so tissue restrictions have the time to release. Hatha Yoga balances function in the different body systems and includes a range of detoxification practices.

How to Choose the Right Yoga Style

As a newbie, you'd need a yoga style that'll addresses not just your physical needs but also your mind. Mental health issues are on the rise and play a detrimental role in our lives. Many styles of yoga neglect the mental and pranic (energetic) aspects and barely scratch the surface when it comes to lifestyle practices. This is why the system of classical Hatha yoga is so well suited. If your join one of our New Zealand based Auckland Yoga courses you will find that beginners can experience the same benefits that long standing practitioners do.

A great place to start your yoga journey is with Yoga Nidra.  Highly effective as a relaxation technique but also so much more. It's done lying down while following the guidance of the voice of the teacher.  Super easy, so easy you may even drift off to sleep.  It is many peoples’ favourite practice. Not as strenuous as conventional yoga, but tremendously effective, as it requires you to be still and guided into deep relaxation.

Lying down for yoga relaxation
Yoga Nidra - Shavasana

Yoga Nidra has proven benefits like stress reduction, improved sleep, and enhanced body awareness. The best part is that you only need a comfortable place to lie down and the ability to listen - perfect for a beginner, isn't it?

Additionally, for those recovering from injuries or those finding general yoga practices too hard on their joints and muscles, restorative yoga could be a perfect fit. This style prioritises comfort and working within your own capacity, moving slowly, using sensation and breath as a guide. Postures are generally held longer with intentional use of the directing awareness into specific areas to enhance the effects.

So, consider your personal goals, physical abilities, and preferences in your decision. There's no 'right' or 'wrong' style, only what works best for you. As you continue your practice, you'll refine your preferences and make the practice truly your own. 

Auckland Yoga courses at Pure Yoga encourage self awareness and taking a non competitive, student centred approach. People join from all walks and stages of life, young and older, tradies and doctors, nurses and busy mums. Sometimes its recommended to start with a one to one session so we can clearly work out your goals and set you up to get the best out of the right course for you.

Supported hatha yoga poses restorative yoga
Restorative Yoga supported reclined backward bend

Starting Your Yoga Practice

Remember that the first and most important step is to start your practice. You don't have to be flexible, have the latest gear, or know all of the yoga poses. All it takes is a commitment to be present and breathe.

I recommend starting with a foundational yoga course. Attending one of Pure Yogas' Auckland Yoga courses, intimate and closely guided, these will ease you into the practices. Not only will this give you an introduction to poses and terminology, it also creates a supportive environment for you to grow and explore your practice further seeing how they can be applied in the context of your own life.

Another invaluable tip for newcomers is to take advantage of the resources available for beginners. There's a small library in the home studio to borrow books from, yoga products like incense, eye pillows and yoga mats and some divine scents made locally. I like to link students to our online hub of resources where they can have ongoing free access to audio recordings for Yoga Nidra, mantra chants and meditations. There are a number of guided breathing techniques available on soundcloud to keep your practice going at home.

Yoga books and inspiration for self practice
Pure Yoga Home Studio library

You've got this

So there you have it. Starting yoga might seem daunting but it's really all about taking that first step. So, get your yoga mat rolled out, take a deep breath, and remember - yoga is about meeting your needs and where you are at. The poses do not need to be perfect. It's all about the journey, the learning, and the progressive improvement. And within all that, finding calm, balance, and building a positive mindset along the way. Pure Yoga, Auckland courses offer beginner-friendly classes that'll guide you through the basics. You'll pick it up in no time. Embrace the journey and you'll soon see the transformative power of yoga in your life!


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