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10 Yoga Tips For Beginners

10 YOGA TIPS FOR BEGINNERS

 

Kiana Ng Yoga

If you are new to yoga, read below for 10 helpful tips to gain insight into the practice before making the journey to your first class!

  1. Honour your practice. The most important aspect about practicing yoga, whether you are new to it or not, is to honour your body and where you’re at in your practice. A lot of the time, your gaze will wander to the people around you. You’ll see them doing something different than you are and feel like you have to do the same. There shouldn’t be any sense of comparison to those around you because everyone’s body is different, making everyone’s practice different. Aim to focus on what feels good in your body without worrying about what others are doing or how they’re doing it. Pushing your body to the point of pain will only result in injury – remember, it’s just your ego responding to it’s need for perfection!
  2. Stay on your mat. Your attention will wander to the mats around you. It happens! Especially when you’re not used to the terminology or pose names. Your first practice will be largely in your head with your mind saying something along the lines of: “Wait what am I supposed to do with my body? OMG how is she/he doing that? How am I supposed to do that?! Yeah, like breathing is really going to happen in this pose… This is really hard. I can’t do this. Why did I decide to do this in the first place? Hey wait – this actually feels kind of good…” All of these thoughts are completely normal and it’s ok to think them! When you find your mind rambling on and on, draw your energy back in and your awareness back to your body and breath (no matter how hard that may seem in the moment). By continuing to practicing these things, eventually it will get easier to still your mind, which helps you find ease and strength in the pose you’re in.
  3. The thing about flexibility. There’s this widespread notion that you have to be flexible in order to do yoga and that yoga is all about stretching (which it totally can be, depending on the class and teacher’s intention!). However, a lot of people, more often than not, who start yoga can’t touch their toes or do the splits (I was one of them). You will learn to be flexible and strong through doing yoga. That’s why it’s called a practice! So don’t worry if you’re not flexible, you will learn to be with continual practice.
  4. No need for nerves! You’re not the only one who feels a little nervous about attending your first yoga class. It can be intimidating, especially at a studio. This intimidation might come from you worrying about embarrassing yourself because you’re not used to the lingo or you’re scared that the level of the class might be too much for you. The best thing you can do if you’re worrying about any of these things is to talk to the teacher before the class starts and let them know that you’re a beginner. Most teachers will gladly offer modifications and variations of any pose to make it suitable for all levels. They won’t shame you! Never be afraid to talk to the teacher or ask for help with a pose. Questions and communication are good, especially when you’re first starting out. Remember – the teacher is on your side!
  5. Don’t be afraid to take a break. Breaks are welcome in any class you go to and you shouldn’t be ashamed of taking one if you need it. Teachers understand that students need breaks depending on how their bodies react to the sequence and the environment they’re in. If you’re in a hot class and you feel like you’re overheating, it’s probably a good idea to take a break and get some water or rest in child’s pose!
  6. Choose a class that’s right for you. Choosing a class that best suits your level and what you’re looking for is important to helping you feel comfortable. Most studios include the class level in the description for the class so make sure you read up on a class before showing up! If you’re still uncertain, you can always ask the teacher or studio for more info on the class.
  7. Come prepared. Necessity: water. You can get dehydrated really fast in a hot class so make water you’re best friend! Other things you might want to consider bringing with you to a class are: your mat, a towel to put over your mat and a face towel. Most studios will provide you with these 3 things for a minimal fee if you don’t have your own. Some even provide them for free! When it comes to clothing, it can be anything that’s comfortable but not too sweaty. I aim for thin, minimal material because I don’t like having things stick to me, especially when I’m in a hot class. In a regular temp. class, you can usually venture out more, but I’ll leave it up to you with what makes you feel the most comfortable!
  8. Remember to breathe. One of the key aspects of yoga is connecting your movements to your breath and using your breath to bring you strength and ease within a pose, helping you to stay present. By focusing on your breathing, you can allow yourself to move deeper into a pose as you increase the flow of prana (life force) through your body. A common form of pranayama (breathing techniques or breath control) is ujjayi pranayama. It involves constricting the back of your throat slightly so that your breath becomes audible to you as you inhale and exhale through your nose. It’s similar to how you would breath as if you were to fog up a window. It might even sound like the ocean. Your breath and your movements might feel detached and disjointed at first, but the more familiar you get with the practice and your body, the more everything will flow and fit together.
  9. OM (or AUM). Some teachers start and finish class with the chanting of “OM.” You might find yourself chanting it as well in your first class, but what does it actually mean? OM represents the sound of the universe if you were to take out everything that’s in it. It encompasses everything that is seen and that is not seen. In sanskrit, it’s written as AUM but both are pronounced the same. The “A” represents the waking state, the “U” represents the dream state, the “M” represents the state of deep sleep and the pause that occurs in between chants is the state of bliss. The reason why “OM” is sometimes chanted at the beginning and ending of a class is to ground the energy in the room, centering you before beginning your practice, and to offer final respects upon completion of the class.
  10. Namaste. All classes end with the teacher and students bowing to one another as they say namaste. Namaste translates to mean “I bow to you” or “The divine light in me bows to the divine light in you.” It’s a sign of respect, gratitude and love.

I wish you amazing luck on taking your first steps into the world of yoga. May you find many enlightening lessons! Namaste.

With love,

 

Kiana

SUP Yoga Essentials

SUP YOGA ESSENTIALS

 

Kiana Ng Yoga

For the yogis who love to bring their practice to the water during the warm months, here are a few must-haves for SUPing in the summer (and winter)!

  1. SUP Board – This is probably the hardest decision you’ll have to make. There are lots of boards out there that vary from style to weight to level. If you like paddling as well as doing yoga on your board, investing in a multi-purpose board is a must. If you plan to just do yoga on your board, then finding a board that is steadier and meant for yoga is the way to go. Blu Wave has multiple styles of boards, including racing and surfing boards. I recommend the iSUP 10.10 – it’s great for SUP paddling and yoga, plus it’s transportable as it’s an inflatable!
  2. Leash – Nothing sucks more than falling of your board and finding it floating away from you once you resurface. Leashes keep you connected to your board.
  3. PFD with whistle – This is a requirement. The law requires you to have this with you when you go SUPing!
  4. Paddle – You’ll also need one of these… Getting yourself an adjustable carbon paddle is recommended.
  5. Wet Suit – This is a good idea to have, especially if you plan on going SUPing when the air isn’t the warmest (or the water for that matter).
  6. Rash Guard – These are great for when there’s a lot of wind in the air, making it on the chilly side.
  7. Waterproof Leggings, Shorts or Top – If you like having layers over your swim suit, I recommend getting some of these… Mahiku Activewear has great leggings and tops for this!

With love,

 

Kiana

Honouring Change Through Acceptance

HONOURING CHANGE THROUGH ACCEPTANCE

 

Kiana Ng Yoga

People change.

 

Situations change.

That’s a fact, not something you can control. But what you can control is how you respond to change in yourself, in others, and to situations around you.

A lot of the time change is reacted to with resistance. But why? What’s wrong with change? There tends to be a tendency towards resisting change because people like comfort and change brings about discomfort. Change can bring insecurity and a lack of assurance because it forces people into the unknown and out of their comfort zone.

But without change, there’s no growth or movement forwards. The immediate change that you come across might seem immediately negative, but every change leads into something better. So whatever your change situation is, give it space to manifest itself fully into your life so you can experience its gifts. Allow yourself to flow with the constant changes that exist in and around you. By accepting the forces of change, there’s ease and peace around the situation that you may have previously placed resistance on.

So this month, I ask you to build awareness in yourself and your responses to change. Let go of blame, shame, and resistance this month. Replace these with ACCEPTANCE!

With love,

 

Kiana

TUTORIAL: Firelog Pose

TUTORIAL
Firelog Pose

 

Kiana Ng Yoga

Agnisthambasana

Firelog pose is a great hip opener that I love to use to facilitate release in the hips!

Alignment Principles

  • Start in a seated position with your knees bent and feet on the ground
  • Take your right shin parallel to the top of your mat with your right knee in line with your right hip
  • Stack left ankle on top of the right knee so that both shins are right on top of each other
  • Flex both feet strongly, there should be no sickling in the ankle
  • Option to stay upward with a long spine or fold forwards

 

Prep. Poses:

  • Sleeping Pigeon
  • Butterfly (Baddha Konasana)
  • Lizard Pose (Utthan Pristhasana)
  • Easy Pose (Sukhasana)
  • Eye of the Needle (Sucirandhrasana)

 

Modifications/Variations:

  • Leave bottom leg straight with the top ankle resting just above the knee of the straight leg
  • If the top knee is lifted, place a block in between the top knee and bottom ankle for support

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