Yoga: A Comprehensive Guide To Everything You Need To Know

If you thought yoga was all about bending and twisting your body into strange positions, think again. Yoga is much more than that. Yoga is, in a nutshell, taking care of your body, mind, and overall well-being.

In this blog, we’ll provide homage to this form of exercise that is centuries old by providing all the information you need to know about yoga. So, if you’re planning to start yoga or are already an expert, this blog is definitely for you! 

What Is Yoga? 

Yoga is a 5,000-year-old Indian body of knowledge, derived from the Sanskrit word “yuj,” which means “to combine or integrate.” Yoga focuses on bringing the body, mind, and breath into harmony through breathing exercises, yoga poses (asanas), and meditation. 

Yoga is an ancient and profound Indian philosophy-based practice. It began as a spiritual practice, but it has since gained popularity as a technique to improve physical and mental health. 

Although classical yoga has additional components, yoga as it is commonly practiced in the United States focuses on physical postures (asanas), breathing methods (pranayama), and meditation (dhyana).

There are numerous yoga styles to choose from, ranging from gentle to physically demanding. The types of yoga utilized in research studies may have an impact on the findings. This makes evaluating research on yoga’s health benefits difficult. 

Yoga and two Chinese practices, tai chi and qi gong, are referred to as “meditative movement” techniques. All three disciplines incorporate both meditative and physical elements. 

Yoga is an excellent approach to improve flexibility and strength. It’s not just for folks who can touch their toes or wish to meditate; almost anyone can do it.

Relaxation is a focus of some yoga styles. You move more in others. The majority of types concentrate on learning asanas, or yoga positions. They frequently involve breathing exercises as well. 

The life force energy (also known as “prana”) flows through the subtle body in a number of channels known as “nadis” in yoga. These nadis cross at “chakras,” which are concentrated energy places.

An Overview of Our Chakras

chakras
Image courtesy of mindbodygreen.com

The physical body is more than just bones, muscles, and organs enclosed in the skin, according to ancient Indian medicine and spiritual science. Rather, it consists of layers of energy fields that encircle the physical body. The electromagnetic field, often known as the aura, is created by several interwoven metaphysical layers. The subtle body, often known as the “light-body,” “etheric body,” or “spiritual body,” is what this is.

Chakras are spinning vortexes of energy in the subtle body that correspond to specific glands along the spine and inside the head, and are named after the Sanskrit word for “wheel.” The human body has seven major chakras, according to yoga philosophy, which will be discussed more in the following sections of this guide. 

Each chakra governs several aspects of our existence, such as financial security, communication, and love. They also control the skeletal system and other bodily processes. Every chakra is also associated with an element, a “mantra” (a “repeated word”), and a distinct color that is associated with the rainbow.

The chakras get stagnant when the nadis become blocked due to bad behaviors and old patterns. The life force becomes sluggish as a result, which can lead to physical, mental, and emotional health problems. Yoga purifies and revitalizes the nadis and chakras, allowing prana to flow freely once more. 

The seven primary chakras are described below:

1. Muladhara Chakra (Root Chakra)

  • Location: Base of the spine
  • System: Skeletal
  • Gland: Gonads
  • Associations: Security, survival, safety, money, and physical vibrancy
  • Colour: Red
  • Element: Earth
  • Mantra: Lam

2. Svadhishthana Chakra (Belly Chakra)

  • Location: Pelvic basin
  • System: Reproductive
  • Gland: Adrenals
  • Associations: Sexuality, appetite, creative powers, desires, and sensations 
  • Colour: Orange
  • Element: Water
  • Mantra: Vam

3. Manipura Chakra (Solar Plexus Chakra)

  • Location: Solar plexus and navel
  • System: Muscular and digestive
  • Gland: Pancreas
  • Associations: Intelligence, power, resolve, self-control, introversion/extroversion
  • Colour: Yellow
  • Element: Fire
  • Mantra: Ram

4. Anahata Chakra (Heart Chakra)

  • Location: Heart
  • System: Circulatory, respiratory, immune
  • Gland: Thymus
  • Associations: Compassion, love, acceptance, emotional openness, connection
  • Colour: Green
  • Element: Air
  • Mantra: Yam

5. Vishuddha Chakra (Throat Chakra)

  • Location: Throat
  • System: Metabolism
  • Gland: Thyroid
  • Associations: Expression, abundance, manifestation, intuition, and communication
  • Colour: Blue
  • Element: Ether
  • Mantra: Ham

6. Ajna Chakra (Third Eye Chakra)

  • Location: Between eyebrows (third eye)
  • System: Endocrine
  • Gland: Pituitary
  • Associations: Self-awareness, spiritual awareness, and self-realization
  • Colour: Violet
  • Element: Light
  • Mantra: Om

7. Sahasrara Chakra (Crown Chakra)

  • Location: Crown of the head
  • System: Nervous
  • Gland: Pineal
  • Associations: Universal consciousness, intuition, spiritual connection, and mental calm
  • Colour: White
  • Element: None, beyond the elements
  • Mantra: None

Practicing yoga on a regular basis is a delightful and simple approach to correct your chakras. You can discover harmony in your body, mind, and spirit by practicing yoga and meditation. Purifying your energy centres promotes optimal health and well-being.

The Eight Limbs of Yoga 

The eight limbs of yoga
Image courtesy of yogapedia.com

The Yoga Sutra, by Patanjali, is a collection of aphorisms that outline the eight limbs of yoga. It is usually recognized as the authoritative source of yoga. These wisdom “threads” (as sutra is Sanskrit for “threads”) provide guidance for living a meaningful and purposeful life. 

The eightfold path is known as ashtanga in Patanjali’s Yoga Sutra, which literally means “eight limbs” (ashta=eight, anga=limb). These eight steps serve as suggestions for living a life that is meaningful and purposeful. They serve as a guide for moral and ethical behavior and self-discipline; they focus attention on one’s health, and they assist us in acknowledging our spiritual essence.

1. Yama

The first limb, Yama, is concerned with one’s ethical standards and sense of integrity, with an emphasis on our actions and how we conduct ourselves in life. Yamas are universal behaviors that are most closely related to the Golden Rule, which states, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”

There are five types of Yamas, which are mentioned below: 

  • Asteya, which means not stealing
  • Ahimsa, which means adopting non-violence
  • Brahmacharya, which means practising continence
  • Satya, which means staying truthful
  • Aparigraha, which means following non-covetousness

2. Niyama

The second limb, Niyama, is associated with self-control and spiritual observances. Attending temple or church services on a regular basis, saying grace before meals, creating your own personal meditation practices, and going on contemplative walks alone are all instances of niyamas in action.

There are five Niyamas to follow: 

  • Saucha, which means cleanliness
  • Isvara pranidhana, which means surrender to God
  • Samtosa, which means contentment
  • Svadhyaya, which means the study of the sacred scriptures and of one’s self
  • Tapas, which means heat or spiritual austerities

3. Asana

The third limb is made up of asanas, which are yoga poses. The body is a temple of spirit in the yogic perspective, and taking care of it is a vital part of our spiritual development. We build the habit of discipline and the ability to concentrate via the practice of asanas, both of which are required for meditation and overall well-being. 

4. Pranayama

This fourth stage, which is commonly referred to as “breath control,” comprises practices aimed at mastering the respiratory process while recognizing the link between the breath, the mind, and emotions. Pranayama literally translates to “life force extension,” and yogis believe it not only rejuvenates the body but also extends life itself. You can do pranayama as a stand-alone technique (sitting and doing a series of breathing exercises) or incorporate it into your regular hatha yoga practice.

The first four stages of Patanjali’s ashtanga yoga focus on refining our personalities, mastering our bodies, and developing an energetic awareness of ourselves, all of which prepares us for the second half of this journey, which deals with the senses, the mind, and attaining a higher state of consciousness.

5. Pratyahara

The fifth limb, Pratyahara, implies sensory transcendence or retreat. We make a conscious effort to draw our awareness away from the exterior world and outside stimuli during this period. We direct our attention internally, keenly aware of our senses yet establishing a detachment from them. Pratyahara is a meditation technique that allows us to take a step back and examine ourselves. This withdrawal allows us to objectively observe our cravings: behaviors that may be harmful to our health and likely obstruct our personal development.

6. Dharana

Pratyahara establishes the setting for Dharana, or concentration, as each step prepares us for the next. We can now deal with the distractions of the mind after we’ve dealt with the diversions of the outside world. It won’t be easy! 

We learn how to slow down the thinking process by concentrating on a single mental object, such as a specific energetic centre in the body, an image of a god, or the silent repeating of a sound, in the practice of concentration, which comes before meditation. Of course, we’ve already begun to hone our focus skills in the previous three steps of posture, respiratory control, and sensory withdrawal.

Although we pay attention to our actions in asana and pranayama, our focus wanders. As we fine-tune the myriad subtleties of any given posture or breathing method, our focus switches continually. We become self-observant in pratyahara; now, in Dharana, we concentrate our attention on a single spot. Meditation develops organically as a result of prolonged periods of focus.

7. Dhyana

Meditation or contemplation, the seventh stage of ashtanga, is the uninterrupted flow of concentration. Although concentration (Dharana) and meditation (dhyana) may appear to be one and the same, a fine line of distinction exists between these two stages. Where Dharana practices one-pointed attention, dhyana is ultimately a state of being keenly aware without focus. At this stage, the mind has been quieted, and in the stillness, it produces few or no thoughts at all. The strength and stamina it takes to reach this state of stillness are quite impressive. But don’t give up. While this may seem like a difficult, if not an impossible task, remember that yoga is a process. Even though we may not attain the “picture perfect” pose or the ideal state of consciousness, we benefit at every stage of our progress.

8. Samadhi

The eighth and final stage of ashtanga, samadhi, is described by Patanjali as a state of bliss. The meditator integrates with his or her point of focus at this point and transcends the Self entirely. The meditator realizes a deep connection to the Divine, as well as interconnection with all living things. With this insight comes the “calm that surpasses all comprehension,” the feeling of pleasure and oneness with the Universe. On the surface, this could appear to be a lofty, “holier than thou” ideal.

Wouldn’t joy, satisfaction, and freedom appear on our list of hopes, wishes, and aspirations if we took the time to think about what we actually want out of life? But, peace is what all human beings aspire to, as stated by Patanjali as the completion of the yogic path. We might also consider the fact that enlightenment, the highest step of yoga, cannot be bought or acquired. It can only be experienced, at the cost of the aspirant’s unwavering devotion.

The Types of Yoga 

Yoga’s overall premise is to bring the mind, body, and spirit together. Yoga is divided into six categories. Each type has a distinct purpose and set of traits. These types are: 

  • Hatha yoga: This is the physical and mental type of yoga that tries to prepare the body and mind for the journey ahead.
  • Raja yoga: This type entails meditation and rigorous attention to the eight limbs of yoga, which are a set of disciplinary actions.
  • Karma yoga: This is a service-oriented method that aspires to create a future devoid of negativity and selfishness.
  • Bhakti yoga: This type is intended to develop a devotional path, which is a constructive approach to channel emotions and cultivates acceptance and tolerance.
  • Jnana yoga: This branch of yoga is all about wisdom, the scholar’s path, and intellectual development through study.
  • Tantra yoga: This is the path of a relationship’s ritual, ceremony, or culmination.

The Benefits of Yoga 

Now that you know what yoga is and part of its history and origin, it’s time to discuss why you should consider practicing it at all. We’ve mentioned some of the most prominent benefits of yoga. 

1. Improve Your Balance, Strength & Flexibility 

Slow movements and deep breathing help to warm up muscles and enhance blood flow, while holding a yoga pose can help you gain strength.

2. Get Back Pain Relief 

In individuals with chronic back discomfort, yoga is just as effective as basic stretching at relieving pain and improving mobility. Yoga is recommended as a first-line treatment for chronic low back pain by the American College of Physicians.

3. Ease Arthritis Symptoms

According to a Johns Hopkins assessment of 11 recent research, gentle yoga has been demonstrated to relieve some of the discomforts of sore, swollen joints in persons with arthritis.

4. Improve Heart Health 

Regular yoga practices may help to reduce stress and inflammation throughout the body, resulting in healthier hearts. Yoga can help with several of the conditions that contribute to heart disease, including excessive blood pressure and obesity.

5. Stay Relaxed & Get Better Sleep 

A consistent evening yoga program, according to research, can help you get in the appropriate attitude and prepare your body to fall and stay asleep.

6. Have More Energy & Be In A Brighter Mood 

After getting into a yoga regimen, you may notice an increase in mental and physical energy, a boost in attentiveness and enthusiasm, and fewer negative feelings.

7. Manage Your Stress Better 

Scientific data demonstrates that yoga helps with stress management, mental health, mindfulness, healthy eating, weight loss, and good sleep, according to the National Institutes of Health.

8. Get Access To A Supportive Community 

Yoga lessons can help to alleviate loneliness and provide a safe place for collective healing and support. Even during one-on-one sessions, loneliness is lessened since each person is recognized as an individual, listened to, and included in the construction of a tailored yoga plan.

9. Promote Self Care

Scientific validation of yoga’s benefit in health care is being listened to — and incorporated — by the US military, the National Institutes of Health, and other significant institutions. Yoga has been shown to help with arthritis, osteopenia, balance disorders, oncology, women’s health, chronic pain, and other conditions in numerous studies.

Potential Risks & Side Effects of Yoga 

Yoga is about more than just breathing and relaxation. It’s a very genuine physical activity with potentially harmful consequences. 

In a 2008 study of 110 Finnish Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga practitioners published in the International Journal of Yoga Therapy, 62 per cent said they had a musculoskeletal injury that lasted more than one month. However, according to a 2012 major survey of 2,500 Australian yoga participants published in the International Journal of Yoga, nearly 79 per cent of yogis did not sustain any injuries.

These contradictory outcomes are most likely due to the yoga style used. Ashtanga is a strenuous practice that frequently needs participants to be hyperflexible, which is most likely what contributed to the high likelihood of injury in that study. 

Yoga has few serious adverse effects, and it is usually considered to be a safe practice. Only 76 recorded occurrences of negative side effects from yoga were described in a literature review published in the 2013 edition of PLOS ONE. Some of the complications that have reportedly been caused by yoga include: 

Glaucoma Complications

Glaucoma is a condition in which there is too much pressure behind the eyeball, resulting in vision loss. The ocular pressure rises in some yoga positions, notable inversions like Headstand and Shoulderstand, and this might cause issues with this eye ailment.

High Blood Pressure Aggravation 

Inversion positions and forced breathing can also raise blood pressure. Certain advanced yoga techniques, such as Breath of Fire, may be inappropriate if you have pre-existing hypertension.

Back Injuries

Over-aggressive Forward Folds might irritate your back’s already weak discs, especially those in your lumbar spine. You could have a major spinal adverse effect if you circle your back too much or try to go too far before you’ve warmed up.

Strain to Your Muscles 

The muscular system was involved in 27 of the adverse occurrences reported in the PLOS ONE study. This refers to a significant muscular group being pulled or strained. When you ignore your body’s warning indications and strive to stretch beyond your known limits, you may overstretch. Stretch until the point where you feel a gentle tug, not a strong tug. 

Yoga has definitely been shown to have a higher risk of undesirable side effects in certain people. If you have any pre-existing medical conditions, you should see your doctor before attending class.

You can also injure yourself by practicing too aggressively for your expertise level and without being careful as you advance into poses. It’s a good idea to practice under the supervision of a trained teacher to keep your side effects favorable.

Most Popular Yoga Poses for Everyone 

Yoga, although being an old discipline, has recently become the workout du jour. Everyone these days, from A-list celebrities to your co-workers, is getting their om on – and for good cause.

You might be overwhelmed with the number of poses and their varying complexities. So, we’ve created the ultimate ‘Yoga Cheat-Sheet’ filled with yoga positions for beginners! 

1. Mountain Pose, also known as Tadasana

Tadasana
Image courtesy of gaia.com

Stand with your feet hip-width apart or together. Grasp the ground with all four corners of your feet. Roll your shoulders away from your ears, pull your shoulder blades down your back, and elevate the top of your head.

Engage your thighs, draw in your abdominal button, and extend your spine. Face the front of the room with your hands up. Unfurrow your brow and relax your jaw. Take a deep breath.

The Benefits of The Mountain Pose 

You may appear to be, well, standing there, but just give this pose a chance. This is the starting point for all additional postures. It improves equilibrium and brings your focus back to the present moment.

2. Chair Pose, also known as Utkatasana

Utkatasana
Image courtesy of ekhartyoga.com

Begin in Mountain Pose. Raise your arms, spread your fingers, and reach up through your fingertips as you inhale. Sit back and down as you exhale, as if you were sitting in a chair.

Shift your weight on your heels and extend your spine. Lift and extend your arms as you inhale. Sit deeper into the posture as you exhale.

The Benefits of The Chair Pose

This heated standing posture (you’ll feel the burn after a minute) strengthens your legs, upper back, and shoulders. While an added bonus, you’ll be able to develop patience as your thighs work hard. Just remember to take deep breaths.

3. Down Dog on a Chair, also known as Uttana Shishosana

Uttana Shishosana
Image courtesy of sleepsantosha.com

Place your hands on the back of a chair, shoulder-width apart. Step your feet back until they are aligned beneath your hips, forming a straight angle with your body and your spine parallel to the floor.

Ground with your feet and rise with your thighs. To extend the sides of your body, move your hips away from your hands. Firm your outside arms in and extend your neck to the crown of your head.

The Benefits of ​​Down Dog on a Chair

Downward-Facing Dog is the foundation of yoga, although it may be difficult for novices. This variation provides the same advantages as the original posture — extending the hamstrings, opening the shoulders, and lengthening the spine — but without putting all of your weight on your upper body.

4. Downward-Facing Dog, also known as Adho Mukha Svanasana

Adho Mukha Svanasana
Image courtesy of sleepsantosha.com

Walk your hands 6 inches in front of you on all fours. To extend your spine, tuck your toes and raise your hips up and back. To put your weight back into your legs if your hamstrings are tight, keep your knees bent.

Spread your fingers wide, push your hands together, and twist your arms so that your biceps are facing each other. Return your thighs to the wall behind you.

The Benefits of Downward-Facing Dog

This classic posture opens the shoulders, lengthens the spine, and stretches the hamstrings. Because your head is lower than your heart, the moderate inversion has a soothing effect.

5. Warrior II, also known as Virabhadrasana II

Virabhadrasana II
Image courtesy of gaia.com

Stand with your feet 3–4 feet apart and 3–4 feet apart. Shift your right heel outward so that your toes point slightly inward. Extend your left foot 90 degrees. Align the arch of your left foot with the arch of your right foot.

To preserve the knee joint, bend your left knee to a 90-degree angle, keeping the knee in line with the second toe. Stretch your straight back leg and ground into your back foot.

Bring your arms to a T at shoulder height on an inhale. Draw your shoulder blades down the back of your neck. Spread your fingers and place your palms down. Examine your forefingers. Sink deeper into the stretch as you exhale.

Rotate your palms face-up to pull your shoulder blades down the back. Take note of how your shoulders change as a result of this. Once you’ve found a comfortable position, turn your palms facedown.

The Benefits of Warrior II

A standing position with the word “warrior” in its name may not seem very zen, yet it may help quiet and stabilize your mind. It is more difficult than it appears, as it strengthens your legs and ankles while improving stamina.

How To Meditate With Yoga 

The first step to effective meditation is to practice it frequently. Getting the hang of how to meditate, whether you’re new to yoga or have been attending classes for a while, can be difficult, even in a class where the yoga teacher dedicates time to it. There’s no point in putting pressure on yourself to perfect your meditation method after just a few sessions, given that dedicated yogis spend a lifetime honing the skill.

Concentrating on the present moment is a simple approach to learn how to meditate. When you’re focused on being present, there’s no room for your attention to be drawn away from the now to distracting ideas about the past or future. 

It’s usually best to start with active meditation, which involves focusing your attention on a single object. The goal is to focus your attention on just one item at a time, such as your breathing or a candle flame.

Prepare for your mind to wander when you’re initially trying out this meditation approach. Simply bring your mental concentration back to the present whenever you notice your thoughts have wandered. 

Do you want to try yoga meditation? To get started, follow the steps outlined below.

  • At first, set aside only a few minutes. Choose a time of day when you won’t be interrupted when meditating. You could time your meditation to occur before or after your physical yoga exercise. 
  • Sit with proper posture, either cross-legged on the floor or in a chair if more comfortable. (If you’re sitting cross-legged, alternate which leg is on top each time you meditate.) 
  • Examine a simple item, such as the flame of a candle or a black dot on a piece of paper. Alternatively, close your eyes and focus on the beat of your yoga breathing. 
  • As you gain experience with meditation, gradually extend your practice time by a minute or two at a time.

Finally, remember this typical yoga meditation myth to avoid frustration: ‘Meditating is not about achieving a blank mind.’ It’s more a matter of avoiding the want to react to the thoughts that do enter your mind.

For a more in-depth guide, watch the video below:

Yoga Gear You Don’t Need But Definitely Want 

It’s difficult to know what you really need when you first start practicing yoga. The yoga business is still developing so much gear and equipment that you may feel compelled to purchase hundreds of dollars before even entering a studio. 

The good news is that you don’t need much to get started. Here’s what you need to know whether you’re starting a home practice or if you’d like to buy yoga-specific clothing and equipment before your first session.

Essential Equipment

Clothing 

You don’t need a slew of patterned yoga pants or branded gear to begin your yoga journey effectively. Begin with the comfortable, breathable sports clothing you currently own and then acquire mid-level essentials to fill in the gaps. Here are some of the most common yoga clothing worn: 

  • Pants or shorts: A couple of pairs of solid-color yoga pants in black, dark grey, navy, or brown will never go out of style. You may use these tights with a broad range of tops, and if you get high-quality choices, they will last a long time. If you don’t like tight trousers, opt for jogger-style pants or the trendy harem-style pants with elastic around the ankles. These trousers are flexible and provide a little more room, but the ankle elastic ensures that they stay in place during your practice.
  • Tops: It’s essential to wear form-fitting shirts so your shirt doesn’t fly over your head during forwarding bends. Wicking material is beneficial, especially if you sweat a lot or plan to attend a hot yoga session.
  • Yoga Socks: To be clear, yoga socks are not required for doing yoga. In fact, doing yoga barefoot is better. If you’re not comfortable completing the complex stretches barefoot, invest in a pair of yoga socks with bottom grips to keep your feet covered while retaining adequate traction. Standard socks will not suffice, since you will wind up slipping and sliding all over your mat.

Yoga Mat

A yoga mat, also known as a sticky mat, is commonly used in gyms and yoga studios. The mat helps define your personal space and, more significantly, provides traction for your hands and feet so you don’t slip, which is especially essential when you’re sweating. On a hard surface, the mat also provides some padding.

Determine which mat qualities are essential to you—for example, length, thickness, material, durability, comfort, traction, or how to clean it—and then purchase a mat with excellent ratings based on your requirements.

Optional Equipment

Yoga props are a godsend for a beginner’s yoga practice. Props enable students to maintain the best alignment possible in a variety of postures while the body bends, twists, and opens up. They also assist you in making the most of each position while avoiding harm.

Mat Bags or Slings

If you own your own yoga mat and are going to be dragging it back and forth to the class on a daily basis, a mat bag or sling is a good investment. These attachments do exactly what they say: they allow you to sling your wrapped mat over your shoulder without it becoming unrolled.

Blocks

Yoga blocks are used to enhance your alignment and make you more comfortable. Blocks are especially handy for standing postures that need your hands to be on the floor.

Placing a block beneath your hand has the effect of “raising the floor” to meet your hand rather than pushing the hand to come to the floor while jeopardizing some other aspect of the posture. The half-moon stance exemplifies this. Many people lack the hamstring flexibility and core strength required to hold the pose correctly.

Yoga blocks are available in foam, wood, and cork. They can be rotated to stand at three different heights, making them extremely versatile. If you want to perform a lot of yoga at home, investing in a set of blocks is worthwhile (helpful for poses where both hands are reaching toward the ground). If you plan to attend classes, blocks will be assigned to you.

Straps

Yoga straps, sometimes known as belts, are especially beneficial in postures when you need to hold onto your feet but can’t reach them. The strap essentially serves as an arm extender. In Pascimottanasana, for example, if you can’t reach your feet with your hands in the sitting forward fold, wrap the strap over the bottom of your feet and hang onto the strap to keep a flat back rather than sinking forward.

Wheels

Yoga wheels are a relatively new prop that is beginning to acquire traction in the yoga studio. These wheels have a diameter of around 12 inches and a width of about 4 inches. When the wheel is upright, you may lie back on it or rest a foot or hand on top of it to deepen your stretches and increase flexibility, progressively moving the wheel deeper as you relax into each stretch. Wheels can also be utilized in more advanced practices to test stability or provide support during difficult postures.

How To Track & Measure Your Journey

This quick guide gives you simple ways you can keep an eye on your yoga goals, whether that is to improve your balance, work on stretches for flexibility or strengthen your core muscles.

However, we must remember that yoga is a personal journey and each of our goals will vary from one person to the next.

There is no need to compare yourself to any other yogi and building up daily yoga practices, for whatever reason, takes time.

  • Photography. Taking pictures of yourself in a certain pose can be a great way of tracking your progress. 
  • Yoga Apps. There are plenty of yoga apps on the market that are trying to help with yoga progression. 
  • Yoga Journal. A journal dedicated to your yoga practice is a low-cost solution to monitoring your progression in yoga practices.
  • Measure Long Holds. Yes, we know, our arms start shaking in crows pose too! Select a pose and have a timer ready. You can either time how long you can hold the pose in proper alignment or set a goal time (never push to the point of significant pain or injury). If you manage to hold the pose for the set time, up the time for next time. If you don’t manage to hold the pose, keep training toward this time. 
  • Measure Repetitions. Practice makes perfect and repetitions count your yoga progress.
  • Track the number of repetitions that you do through your yoga practice. You can track repetitions of a pose. For example, how many times can you flow from left side plank to right side plank, or for a flow where you track repetition till you reached your goal or maxed out.

FAQs

What are the benefits of yoga?

Yoga provides a host of various benefits, physically and mentally. We’ve listed some of the most prominent benefits below:

– Enhanced flexibility
– Muscle strength and tone
– Better breathing
– Increased energy and vitality
– Maintenance of a balanced metabolism

What is yoga and why is it good for you?

Yoga, Sanskrit for “union,” is a collection of physical, mental, and spiritual practices or disciplines that originated in ancient India, with the goal of controlling and stilling the mind, as well as recognizing the detached “witness-consciousness” as unaffected by the activities of the mind and mundane suffering.

Yoga strengthens, balances, and stretches the body. Slow motions and deep breathing enhance blood flow and warm up muscles while maintaining a position that might help you gain strength.

What is the first thing to do in yoga?

Start small, but don’t lose your focus. Begin with yoga asanas, or postures, such as the mountain pose, downward-facing dog, child’s pose, and savasana. Focus on pushing your hands or feet into the floor, extending your spine, and relaxing your hips in each posture.

What is the real meaning of yoga?

Yoga is derived from the Sanskrit root ‘Yuj,’ which means ‘to join,’ ‘to yoke,’ or ‘to unite.’

Should I eat after yoga?

Never eat immediately after yoga; instead, let your body 30 minutes to re-acclimate.