The art of beginners yoga

(Photo by Heather Davidson)
(Photo by Heather Davidson)

Upon hearing the word “yoga”, I instantly imagined a group of individuals posing in ways I never thought people could do. Whenever I think of yoga, I would always correlate it to one’s flexibility. During my first yoga class, I was already dreaming about the numerous poses I’d be able to do and how my body would be unbelievably flexible.

There are several beginners like me who are anxious to become experts, so consumed in our dreams that we tend to forget the dedication and hours of practice that went into each pose. Erin Behl, the yoga instructor at Goodlife Fitness on Weber St. in Waterloo, gave me some fantastic tips on what beginners should focus on when practicing yoga. Behl is also an ambassador for and has contributed a number of enlightening articles regarding yoga techniques to the website. is one of the world’s biggest yoga pose encyclopaedias and has a plethora of articles on yoga, as well as information on different kinds of poses, videos and helpful yoga supplements. Behl encourages all beginners to focus on their breathing techniques. This is the most essential ingredient to an overall successful yoga experience.

“Focus on the breath, allow the breath to carry you through the posture,” Behl said.“A lot of time when we lose the breath, we lose the posture.”

Breathing is very important in yoga and there are even several different types of breathing techniques. The most well-known breathing technique is called Pranayama, which is a Sanskrit word which means “extension of breath” or “extension of life force.” “Prana” means life force and “ayama” means control, it is important to breathe deeply because it helps to create a calm mind and is the foundation for the pose.

Behl said that breathing is important because it nourishes our bodies with the oxygen it needs for our practice and it subconsciously clears our minds from distracting thoughts. Behl encourages beginners to “take full breathes into the lungs and inhale as much as you can.”

The more you practice on your breathing, the longer you’ll be able to hold the sometimes compromising poses. Yoga can be practiced every day. However, Behl warns that, as a beginner, you will want to remember not to fatigue the body too much.

Behl recommended  that when a beginner is stretching,  make sure that they also stretch different areas of the body. Patience is a very important characteristic that one needs to remember when practicing yoga.

During my yoga classes with Behl, she encouraged our class to go into the child’s pose whenever we needed to do so. She also reminded the class that we shouldn’t press ourselves too hard and we should practice the poses at our own pace and within our ability.

Behl also said that by putting 100 per cent effort into our practice, even if we struggle to execute the pose perfectly, practicing will allow us to go deeper within ourselves and the pose and hold it for a longer time.

Remember to breathe as much as you possibly can while building your endurance at yoga; be patient and practice with all your effort and one day what you imagined will become a reality.  If you do these simple tasks, you will become an expert at yoga in no time at all.

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