Yoga Question: Where to begin?

shaktiI am an absolute beginner at yoga, meaning I have never ever done it at all but want to start.

What is the best way to start from scratch?

Are they any beginner photos of exercises to do before I come of a class so I can at least have some knowledge and flexibility?

Response from shakti:

Many people say they can not do yoga because they are not flexible enough. It is like saying, ‘I can not take a shower because I am too dirty’. The reason you are practicing yoga is to become more fit and flexible and to gain the knowledge. So when you come to a beginner class you don’t need to know more then you know but you need to want to learn, you need to empty your cup..
How to start:

1. Find a teacher. If you start on your own with a book or DVD you may build your practice on the wrong foundation as you don’t have the tools yet to know what is right and what is wrong. This can lead to injury or dislike of the practice. In the beginning, the teacher sees for you until you develop internal eyes to see where you are in each moment of the practice.

2. Find a great teacher – do not compromise with just any teacher. A bad teacher may take you as far as the satisfaction of a good workout. A great teacher may open up a whole new dimension for you, to experience yourself and existence. The asanas (yoga postures) contain incredible hidden power that only a great teacher will be able to show you how to unfold.

3. A teacher is like cup of tea. You need to find the right one for yourself. In the old times people would travel a long way to meet the right teacher. Today, people may compromise by choosing a teacher who is near, or whose classes are a good bargain.

4. How will you know who is the right teacher for you? Feel it in your heart and in your gut – do not follow trends. Trust your intuition.

5. Keep away from Hot Yoga, Power Yoga or Ashtanga. Hot yoga is not a yoga and the other 2 are not suitable for beginners.

6. Start at least twice a week, 3 is even better but don’t become obsessed with the practice.

7. Avoid yoga that requires you to purchase too many ‘yoga’ gadgets. This type of yoga is the invention of the modern consuming western culture. All you need is your body, your breath, a small space and maybe a yoga mat. An Ultra Violet bottle of water won’t speed your practice towards realization.

8. Start now. Tomorrow won’t be too late, but ‘now’ will manifest your intent.

Prana Yoga College

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