Yoga is the holy grail of wellness in the 21st century and we’re riding the wave. Whether you randomly drop in from time to time or you’re a full-time yoga instructor, this guide has everything you need to know from yoga positions, yoga retreats, and different types of yoga.
This is for all of the yogis and yoginis out there.
Where to Begin: Yoga for Beginners
Entering the world of yoga can be an exciting journey once you navigate the complex and ample amount of instructors, classes and terminology that is in the yoga world. Most people get into yoga through word of mouth, it seems like everyone is doing it these days and everyone-especially millennials are getting into the spiritual practice of yoga.
But where does one begin in the vast world of yoga? The most obvious choice is to head to your local yoga studio. The downside is that in person classes can be expensive and if you’re a busy bee-then it can be hard to fit it into your schedule. A good place for beginners to get acquainted with yoga is right in the comfort of your own home and thanks to YouTube there are hundreds of online yoga instructors to choose from.
Yoga with Adriene
Yoga with Adriene is one of the most popular YouTube yoga instructors out there. Adriene Mishler’s mantra “do what feels good” is the center of her brand and a theme throughout her videos. Adriene’s style of instruction is easygoing, mindful and charismatic and she gently guides you through the spiritual and physical aspects of the practice. Some recent videos are yoga for future, yoga for self-respect and restorative yoga.
Floating Yoga School
Floating Yoga School with Helen Cloot offers an authentic, in-class yoga experience all from the comfort of your home. Watching an online class with several students offers different examples of how certain poses can look, all on different body types. Helen Cloot’s classes are also great for beginners for learning each pose and how to get into them. Online classes with Helen Cloot will give you the perfect base to elevate your yoga practice.
If you’re looking for more suggestions on instructors that teach great yoga for beginners, check out Top 5 Must Follow YouTube Yoga Instructors for Beginner Yoga.
Online Yoga Classes
When you’re starting out, you might be too nervous to go to a class right away. There are many websites that offer online courses so you’re able to get instruction to start out in the comfort of your own home and gradually work your way up in difficulty. We like Yoga International and Gaia to get started with yoga at home.
Yoga Poses and Stretches
Once you’ve started practicing yoga, it is easy to get addicted to the spiritual, mental and physical benefits of the lifestyle. You can target specific areas of your body with specific yoga positions, or you can work on your overall mental wellbeing with certain poses and flows.
Breathing in Yoga
The first thing that is essential to yoga is mastering yoga breathing technique. In yoga, the breathing technique is referred to as pranayama which is the “controlled intake or outtake in an established posture”. There are several different types of yogic breathing techniques, each one depending on the type of asana’s you’re doing. The different types of yoga also have different benefits and use. When flowing in yoga, it’s important to focus on the breathe as this helps with both mental and physical concentration. Proper breathing can also help to hold certain poses for much longer and helps alleviate stress and balance out the body.
Type in the word yoga on any search engine and thousands of images of yogis in flexible yoga positions would flood your screen. Improving flexibility is one of the goals and outcomes of practicing yoga regularly. There are tons of gurus with specific stretches and poses that you can ease yourself into. In our post about the Top 5 Yoga Stretches To Practice To Do The Splits In Four Weeks we discuss the popular Japanese yoga instructor Eiko and her four-week program to doing the splits. Eiko’s philosophy is not only about achieving flexibility in not only your body but your mind. When you’re ready you can try the most difficult yoga poses to challenge your flexibility.
Apart from the mental and physical, yoga has been proven to be linked to preventing and reversing heart disease, when coupled with other healthy heart practices. In Top 5 Yoga Poses To Practice for a Healthy Heart we lay out 5 easy poses that help reduce stress, increase blood circulation and all contribute to promoting a healthy heart. Typical, yet functional poses like the mountain pose, easy pose and downward dog can all help prevent heart disease. Implementing these poses into your regular exercise routines and holding each pose for one to three minutes is a great way to start reaping the benefits.
Whether you’re someone who likes to get your workout in early in the AM or you’re more of a gym night owl, working out regularly is proven to help improve your sleep. Yoga is known for it’s relaxation properties, and there are tons of yoga positions that you can do before bed for a restful sleep. Come into a child’s pose on your bed and hold it for two to four minutes with deep breathing can help reduce stress and prepare the mind for sleep. Counter the child’s pose with a supported bridge pose by placing a couple of pillows under your lower back. Other poses that are great for relaxation and restoration like the supported bound angle pose can be found in Top 5 Yoga Poses Before Bed for a Restful Sleep.
Things You Don’t Want to Forget On Your Yoga Journey
On your journey to yogi, you’ll probably be getting a lot of yoga tips thrown at you. Wear this, do this yoga position, eat this, breathe like this and so on. The biggest thing to remember is that yoga is about the mind and body aligning and not about the ‘things’ you need to be the perfect yogi. That being said, we can’t help but have our favorite brands that will make you feel and look great during your practice.
The Perfect Yoga Pants
When looking for the perfect yoga pants its important to take into account the fabric and the fit that will give you the perfect amount of stretch. Nowadays everyone’s got their go-to yoga pants that they throw on for a quick session or even to run errands. Whether you’re into the classic black yoga pants like Lululemon’s Align Pant, or like to spruce up your look with floral and mesh panels, there is a brand out there for every yogi. Check out the 12 Stylish Yoga 12 Stylish Yoga Pants That Will Hug Your Curves and Offer Ultimate Flexibility where you can find brands like Fabletics, Lululemon and Danksin.
Finding the right yoga mat can be tricky, especially with a wide variety of materials that range in thickness, texture and stickiness. In general, you want a yoga mat that is thick enough to support your joints and offers the right amount of grip so that you won’t slip during your sun salutations. Yoga mats should also be eco-friendly, using materials like PVC that are free of toxins like phthalate.
Brands like Yogamatters are great for people who are new to the practice. The yoga mats are lightweight and affordable enough so you don’t have to break the bank when you’re just starting out.
For people who have been practicing for longer or who are going to be doing more complicated poses that require a bit more grip may have to spend a bit more on finding the perfect mat. Brands like Manduka, Jade Harmony and Liforme have premium yoga mats that absorb sweat and hold your positions
Top Locations for Yoga
So you’ve done your at-home yoga, you’ve joined your local studio and you’ve got a killer collection of yoga pants for every day of the week. How do you take your yoga journey to the next level? Consider amping up your yoga experience by going on a spiritually enlightening yoga retreat.
Yoga retreats all vary in what they offer. With the increasing trend of Instagram influencers showing off their glamorous yoga holidays, it can be hard to sort through the sea of yoga retreats. If you’re looking to dive into the history and philosophy of yoga, as well as recharge at a getaway in a beautiful setting, there are plenty of yoga retreats all over the world.
India is known as the “birthplace” of the ancient practice that has taken the wellness world by storm. For those looking to delve deeper into the historical and spiritual side of yoga, India is a great place to find exactly what you’re looking for. Imagine working closely with gurus, meditating in a beach resort, learning about Ayurvedic medicine and truly unplugging from the hustle and bustle of life. In the 5 Magical Yoga Retreats In India for Those Looking To Unplug, you can find a range of retreats like the SwaSara Retreat, Shreyas Retreat and the luxury Ananda Yoga retreat. These retreats blend tradition with holistic lifestyle practices and are each transformative in their own way.
There is nothing like the gentle sound of waves crashing against the shore during a daily meditation or vinyasa flow. That’s why most people choose a beach resort or tropical island as their ideal location for yoga.
Truly unwind in places like Bali, Hawaii and St. Lucia while soaking up the sun. Retreats like Kalani Oceanside Retreat in Big Island, Hawaii offers all day yoga classes and meditation workshops within minutes of black sand volcanic beaches.
The Island Experience in Ilha Grande, Brazil offers special detox and relaxation programs at a spa and fitness lodge surrounded by 106 beaches. Lastly, get the ultimate holiday treatment at The Body Holiday retreat in Castries, St. Lucia. You can have your pick of all day long hatha, ashtanga, restorative and vinyasa flow classes in a resort tucked in the rainforests and minutes from beautiful Caribbean beaches.
Believe it or not, the reason why yoga has gained a huge following in the past decade is not only because it improves flexibility and melts away anxiety. Yoga is genuinely fun, and its followers think so too! It’s a great way to work out the body and mind and meet others who love to do so. The ‘fun’ aspect of yoga can be enhanced by trying different types of yoga that will take you to new places in your yoga journey. If you’re into trying new, quirky things then take a look at some of these Top 5 Types of Alternative Yoga. Caution: may upset yoga purists!
Beer yoga is one of the trendiest types of alternative yoga styles that has been making its way to cities across the country. If sipping on craft beer in a laid back yoga class with fun-loving people is your thing, then going to a beer yoga class will be your cup of tea (or glass of beer). You’ll come out feeling blissed-out, with new friends and great memories. Check out the Top 5 Surprising Things That May Happen During Beer Yoga for more.
Get into the flow of yoga by trying yoga in a pool, or as some like to call it- Aqua Yoga. Aqua yoga is not only refreshing, but it’s restorative and great for the body. Aqua yoga combines the buoyancy of the water and traditional yoga asanas to relieve stress and keep pain to a minimum.
Find out what yoga is like by completely flipping the quiet, peaceful element of the practice and replacing it with trap music. Trap yoga, originally created by Brandon Copeland of Washington D.C. is a trend that has hit many cities, seeking to reach lovers of the hip hop and trap music and the techniques of Ashtanga yoga.
There are tons of other types of yoga that you can find if you’re looking to spice things up. Check out more on that here.