A Primer to Beginner Yoga Workouts
Many people shy away from yoga because they tend to think of it as a form of exotic hard-to-perform body-twisting acrobatics from India. This is simply not true. Yoga is an ancient Indian discipline that focuses on achieving good physical and spiritual health through ethical living and a set of exercises and meditation. A beginner yoga workout basically involves just getting through the exercises.
Yoga has several branches, and each branch focuses on achieving a particular goal. Not all of the branches involve physical exercises that have come to be associated with yoga. But the branch of yoga that has become popular in the Western world is the Hatha yoga, which involves physical exercises to achieve harmony of body and mind through posture and controlled breathing. The exercises are, in fact, preparation for meditation, which takes the whole process to a higher level of consciousness.
Rather than being difficult to do acrobatics, the physical exercises are easy-to-do routines that involve different asanas, body postures, and breathing techniques. Unlike in other forms of exercises, the asanas are designed to stimulate and soothe every part of the body. The result is that tense muscles are eased, internal organs are toned up and joints and ligaments become more flexible. There are nearly 200 asanas and they range from basic postures, that do not require much effort and are perfect for the beginner yoga workout, to advanced poses that require skilled balance and great flexibility.
Breathing control, or pranayama, involves inhaling fresh air into the lungs and abdomen and exhaling polluted air in a highly methodical manner. Beginners are often surprised at the number of different methods through which this natural function can be done. The benefit of pranayama is that it rejuvenates the body by facilitating the flow of oxygen in every cell of the body. It also puts the body at ease and helps the mind and body achieve harmony.
Meditation, or dhyana, is the next step and usually comes at the end of beginner yoga workout. This basically involves sitting in a comfortable posture and concentrating on something. The trick is to focus the mind completely so that the mind doesn’t think of anything. This state of the mind is hard to achieve and requires a great deal of practice. There are many stages of meditation and each stage takes the practitioner towards total harmony of the body, mind, and natural surroundings.