Guest Post from Alexis Bonari

For Beginners: Embarking On Your Yoga Journey

Most beginners will tell you that yoga can be intimidating.  Yoga encourages a lifestyle change, a commitment to self-awareness.  Classes range widely in price and difficulty.  Instructor philosophies vary, and there are several different styles to consider. Here are four simple steps to make your initial foray into yoga a little bit simpler:

1.    Read the basics.

While the Internet and Yoga for Dummies-style books won't necessarily make you an amazing yogi, they do offer many resources for beginners.  General philosophies and terminology are covered on a variety of websites.  Familiarizing yourself with some of the culture behind the practice of yoga will allow you to make better decisions concerning your yoga path.

2.    Study the styles.

From Hatha to Asthanga, there are a variety of yoga styles and traditions to choose from.  Speak with a variety of yoga instructors and yoga practitioners.  Learn about the philosophy behind each style.  Different styles will appeal to a different audience.  A person who enjoys physical exertion for its own sake, for instance, might enjoy an Ashtanga class more than the slower-moving Hatha class.

3.    Choose your venue.

Decide whether you will be doing most of your practice at home, in a gym, or at a traditional yoga studio.  Doing yoga requires a great deal of focus.  Choosing the venue that contributes instead of detracts from your focus will allow you to progress faster and will make the experience much more enjoyable.

4. Take a class

There's really no substitute for taking a class with a yoga instructor.  Most instructors will take the time to help you perfect your poses.  Also, yoga instructors generally pride themselves on helping you reach your full potential.  Yoga tapes and books aren't interactive. Without instruction, it's easy to develop bad habits.  Ingrained bad habits contribute to injuries and an inability to proceed to more difficult poses.

Bio: Alexis Bonari is a freelance writer and blog junkie. She is currently a resident blogger at College In her spare time, she enjoys square-foot gardening, swimming, and avoiding her laptop.

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