Fitness With Finesse: A Beginner's Guide To Yoga

Yoga — everyone seems to be doing it these days. But what’s the deal with it? What makes it so great? What even is it? For those of you asking these questions, this blog post is for you. This is everything you need to know about yoga before you take that first class.

The history. Let’s start with a definition of yoga.

Yoga: (noun) Any of the methods or disciplines prescribed by a school of Hindu philosophy, especially a series of postures and breathing exercises practiced to achieve control of the body and mind, tranquillity, etc.

The origins of yoga can be traced back 5,000 years, but some researchers believe it could be up to 10,000 years old. Beginning in Northern India, yoga was first practiced by Brahmins, or the Vedic priests. The modern idea of yoga would have begun in the late 1800s when yoga masters brought the practice over to Western civilization. Hatha yoga, which is typically what people think of when they imagine yoga, is among the most popular and most practiced forms of yoga.

The practice. Yoga is most commonly practiced by performing a series of poses, holding each one for a certain amount of time, all while breathing deeply and evenly. Among the most basic poses that you will most likely encounter in any yoga class are mountain pose, downward dog, warrior, cobra and child’s pose.

Mountain pose

Perhaps the most basic pose, usually practiced at the beginning and end of a series of poses.

Downward dog

This pose is commonly practiced in between poses as a point of brief rest, while stretching out your calves.

Warrior

This is a pose of power, encouraging both balance and strength. It is commonly held for long periods of time or used as a transition into another pose.

Child’s pose

This is where you can relax. Child’s pose is all about deep breathing and spreading your back, which feels great after a series of tough poses.

The lifestyle. Many who practice yoga on a regular basis also practice leading a healthy lifestyle through things like healthy eating and meditation. In order to get the full yogi experience, practice eating a balanced diet and meditation for spiritual wellness. Not only will you feel better, but it will also encourage you to continue yoga, which is a great form of exercise.

With this knowledge, not only can you feel comfortable and confident going into that first yoga class, but you can also have a greater appreciation for the practice. So grab some friends and try a yoga class, collegiettes! You won’t regret it.

Photo Credits: Wp.nootheme.com, Gethealthyu.com, Active.com, Yogajournal.com, Mindfulyogahealth.com