When it comes to exercise and movement, we believe in a three-pronged approach: yoga/stretching, cardio fitness, and strength training. Because you really need all three to be at your best now, and as you get older, as we all tend to do. (Keep your eyes open at the end of this post for a great email course on natural health that gets into all three areas of fitness and A LOT more.)
If you’ve never done yoga before, going to a class and sweating profusely (and falling down) in front of others who aren’t sweating profusely (nor falling down) can be intimidating. But if that doesn’t bother you, check out local yoga studios, rec centers, and senior centers for classes in your area.
If your pulse just quickened reading about the sweaty blunderings that many first-timers experience, fear not. We’re going to introduce you to a little-known website (YouTube) where you can do more than watch videos of kittens and people injuring themselves. We’ll also show you how to build your own yoga video library for free … legally.
What is Yoga?
Yoga is a mind-body practice that originated in ancient India and became popular in the U.S. in the 1960s. it’s a combination of controlled breathing, focus, and movement, similar to martial arts like tai chi.
There are numerous types of yoga, all originating from a form called Hatha. Each is slightly unique in its principles, style, and methodologies. But as a beginner, we’re not going to worry too much about that.
Yoga is perhaps most unique in its extended holding of poses, known as asanas. And for its regulation of the breath, known as pranayama. It’s this combination that makes yoga both invigorating and at the same time meditative and relaxing. (At least once you stop sweating profusely and falling down.)
What are the Health Benefits of Yoga?
The obvious benefits of yoga are the improved flexibility and balance you’ll enjoy, both of which become more crucial as we get older. Other benefits of yoga include:
* Reduction in stress
* Improved quality of sleep
* Reduction in anxiety and depression
* Improved blood flow
* Increased strength
* Better weight management
* Clarity of mind
* Improved awareness
* Reduction in lower back pain
* Counteracts effects of sitting for prolonged periods
The combination of focusing on body, breath, and mind may be difficult in the beginning. You’ll likely have no trouble focusing on the first, but your breath will be inconsistent, and your mind focused mostly on struggling through each pose. But if you stick with it, and not for that long, you’ll understand why people who do yoga, really LOVE to do yoga.
Precautionary Measures when Starting a Yoga Practice
Yoga is very safe, even for older adults, and it’s easy to tailor your beginning practice to your current fitness level and fitness goals. However, there are some precautions to consider for those who are suffering from:
* High blood pressure
Women who are pregnant, and anyone with a recent injury history, may also want to check with their doctors before beginning a yoga practice.
How to Get Started
You don’t need much to begin doing yoga. Ideally, at the very least, you’ll want a good yoga mat. Beginners can also benefit from having a yoga block, which allows you to get into certain poses even when limbs won’t reach the floor. Beyond that, you just need a bit of instruction.
Your YouTube Yoga Video Library
A simple YouTube search for “beginners yoga” will yield tons of options. Find an instructor and beginning routine that you like. We’re partial to Yoga with Erica, from Austin, TX, who has a wonderful level one routine for beginners, and then a level two routine for those a little more advanced.
Erica’s level one routine consists mostly of sun salutations of varying degrees of difficulty. Sun salutations are excellent for building up heat and energy in the morning, and trust us, that’s exactly how you’ll feel by the end.
You can watch those whenever you want, provided you have an internet connection. But what if you want your very own downloadable copy? Well, you’re in luck, because there’s a simple way to save each of those to your computer legally.
For any YouTube video you want to save, in the address bar, simply put “ss” after www. and before YouTube like this: https://www.ssyoutube.com/. Click on download video in browser, then select your format and hit download.
If you haven’t tried yoga before because you were skeptical or intimidated, or because you’re a big strong macho man who doesn’t consider it real exercise, give it a try. You may be surprised. Especially that last bit. Because the truth is that yoga can be a killer workout. And not just for women. Here’s a good article on some man-specific reasons to incorporate a yoga routine.
Now get out there and clear your mind, monitor your breathing, and lower yourself into downward facing dog …. and hold it! Are you sweating yet? Don’t worry, we’re not going to say we told you so … but we kind of did.
If you like natural health, you’ll love our 10 Weeks to Total Health and Wellness email course. It covers everything you need to live a long and healthy life. Fill out the form below, and click the button that says, I WANT TO BE HEALTHY!