Yoga Instruction for Beginners: Getting Started!

Because We All Want To Be Flexible...

by Lisa Ledoux
mindfulness, couple doing yoga and breathing exercises at sunset, meditation on the beach

Starting a new routine when you’re over 40 can be daunting-BUT I think you’re going to love Yoga- even if you’ve half-heartedly dabbled in it before.

And Yoga has long been known for its benefits, like:

  • improved flexibility,
  • muscle strength and balance,
  • mental and emotional wellbeing
  • and better breathing techniques

But before we dive into the basics, here’s a quick look at what we’ll cover:

  • Getting Started: The Basics
  • Practicing Yoga Over 40 and How it Can Transform Your Life
  • How to Choose the Right Yoga Style for You
  • Setting Up a Home Practice Space
  • Online Yoga Classes, Tutorials, and Guided Meditations
  • Tips for Staying Motivated During Your Yoga Journey
  • Respecting the Practice
  • That’s It!
water flowing fountain decorating in flower garden

Getting Started: The Basics

You might want to jot down these tips and keep them where you can see them as a reminder to start slowly…like a turtle…

  1. Find a qualified instructor: One who can guide you safely, effectively, and who’s experienced and knowledgeable about the different postures and proper alignment.
  2. Start with the right equipment. You’ll need a comfortable, non-restrictive outfit and a Yoga mat to provide cushioning and support.
  3. Set realistic expectations for yourself. Go slow, you won’t do every pose perfectly right away. It takes time to build strength, flexibility, and balance.
  4. Remember- Yoga is a spiritual and mental practice that can help you daily with peace and clarity. Be open to exploring the deeper aspects of the practice.
  5. Always consult your doctor before beginning any new exercise routine.

If your intention is to practice yoga at home and you’re not interested in classes, no worries, there are a tonne of online resources below to help get you started!

And by following these tips, you can begin your Yoga journey with confidence and ease.

Practicing Yoga Over 40- and How it Can Transform Your Life!!!

Yoga can be enjoyed at any age, so if you’ve never had the time before and want to focus more on your health now, that’s AWESOME.

I’m sure you’ve noticed that as we age, our bodies become more susceptible to aches, pains, and decreased mobility.

And that regular yoga practice can help these symptoms by promoting muscle strength, flexibility, and balance- it’s just a matter of getting serious and getting started!

Woman laying on bolster in restorative yoga child pose

Yoga can be a powerful tool for managing the physical, mental, and emotional stress that often comes with aging.

The slow, deliberate movements and deep breathing techniques used in yoga help to soothe the nervous system and calm the mind.

This can help reduce feelings of anxiety and depression while promoting a greater sense of inner peace and calmness.

Yoga can also help with spiritual growth and self-awareness.

It provides an opportunity to connect more deeply with your inner self, enabling you to tap into your inner wisdom and guidance. This can lead to greater clarity, purpose, and direction in life.

Basically, it’s:

  • an excellent way to stay active, healthy, and vibrant
  • low-impact and gentle on the joints
  • safe when practiced correctly
  • accessible even with limited mobility or health concerns

How to Choose the Right Yoga Style for You

Consider your goals, experience level, and physical abilities.

For:

  1. Physical workouts: styles like Power Yoga or Vinyasa may be a good fit, with a focus on continuous movement and building strength.
  2. Relaxation/Stress reduction: styles such as Yin or Restorative Yoga may be a better choice, with a focus on holding postures for longer periods of time and deep relaxation techniques.
  3. Spiritual side: styles such as Kundalini or Jivamukti Yoga incorporate chanting meditation, and spiritual teachings.

Try out different Yoga styles and classes to see which resonates with you the most- remember, Yoga is a personal practice and should be tailored to what you like.

Setting Up a Home Practice Space 

Here are some tips for setting up a home Yoga practice space:

Yoga mat in yoga room with plant ,scented candle and mirror.
  • Designate a specific area: Choose a quiet, clutter-free area in your home where you can roll out your mat and practice comfortably.
  • Get the right equipment: Invest in a good quality yoga mat and accessories (blocks, straps, bolster).
  • Make it comfortable: Use a well-ventilated space at a nice temperature. Dim lighting or candles can create a calming atmosphere.
  • Minimize distractions: Turn off your phone, computer, and any other devices that will be distracting during your practice.
  • Personalize the space: Add inspirational elements like plants, motivational quotes, or artwork.
  • Create a playlist: Choose music or sounds that help you focus and feel relaxed.
  • Set aside a regular time: Establish a routine for your home Yoga practice to create a sense of discipline and consistency in your practice.
  • Find online resources: Make use of online Yoga classes, tutorials, and guided meditations to enhance your home practice.

Online Yoga Classes, Tutorials, and Guided Meditations

With the rise of online yoga classes, tutorials, and guided meditations, it’s easier than ever to practice Yoga from the comfort of your own home.

Here are three options for online Yoga classes that are available for everyone:

  1. Black Swan Yoga offers online classes that range from beginner to advanced levels. Their classes focus on Vinyasa Flow, Hatha Flow, Power Flow, Yin Yoga, and Restorative Yoga, are donation-based, and you can find them at https://www.blackswanyoga.com/.
  2. CorePower Yoga has a wide variety of online yoga classes available for all levels – from beginner to advanced. They offer Vinyasa Flow, Hot Power Fusion, CorePower Yoga 1 & 2, Sculpt Classes, and more. Find their online classes at https://www.corepoweryogaondemand.com/.
  3. Last, but not least is Oseterics Yoga, probably the gold standard of classes, because it’s specifically for YOU- mid-life, wiser you!

Oseterics Yoga offers:

  • many and varied video options
  • the option to “favorite” your video so you don’t have to search each time
  • the ability to adjust background music or set up regular workouts via scheduling tools available in your history log
  • instructors with years of experience in teaching and leading yoga practice for mature adults
  • 80+ hours of classes from beginner to advanced
  • mind-body exercises that combine breathwork with movement
  • an app that works across all Apple devices and is synced to provide the same experience regardless of your screen size
  • specially-tailored workouts from upper body exercises to balance, sleep & anxiety, arthritis, or osteoporosis relief.
  • a daily minutes tracker and ‘set goals’ to support a healthier lifestyle
  • personalized reminders that encourage you to keep up the good work, and rewards earned for progress made.
  • to track focus areas like flexibility or strength building, as well as gender type and difficulty level, so every session is just what you need.

The best feature overall I believe is not having to track down what you’ve already done. Check out Oseterics Yoga today!

Tips for Staying Motivated During Your Yoga Journey

beautiful pink lotus flowers in the pond

Here are some tips to help you stay motivated with your Yoga practice:

  • Set goals: Set small, achievable goals for your practice, such as practicing for 10 minutes every day or mastering a specific pose.
  • Track your progress: Use a journal or app to track your progress and celebrate your achievements.
  • Try new things: Experiment with different styles of Yoga, poses, or online classes to prevent boredom and keep things interesting.
  • Find a community: Join a Yoga studio or online community to connect with like-minded individuals who can offer support and encouragement.
  • Create a routine: Establish a regular routine for your practice, whether daily or a few times a week, to help establish a habit and make your practice a non-negotiable part of your day.
  • Stay mindful: Stay present and aware during your practice, focusing on your breath and the sensations in your body. This can help you stay connected to your practice and prevent your mind from wandering.
  • Reward yourself: Celebrate your progress and hard work with small rewards, such as treating yourself to a new Yoga accessory or taking a relaxing bubble bath after a tough practice.

By using these tips, you can stay motivated in your Yoga practice, build a consistent practice, and enjoy the many benefits of this ancient practice.

Respecting the Practice

Yoga originated in ancient India to improve physical, mental, and spiritual health. The earliest written descriptions of yoga practices date back to 1500-1200 BCE in the Rigveda.

Over time, different schools and styles emerged, with one of the most influential texts being the Yoga Sutras.

This collection of aphorisms by Patanjali around the 2nd century BCE laid out principles of Raja Yoga.

As yogic practices spread throughout India, they influenced other traditions like Buddhism and Jainism. In the 1800s and early 1900s, Yoga was introduced to the West and gained popularity.

Buddha hands holding flower, close up

Today, Yoga is popular worldwide but it’s important to be respectful of its cultural roots and not reduce it to a trendy exercise fad.

By learning about its origins, philosophy, and cultural context, we can deepen our understanding and respect for this ancient practice.

That’s It!

If you stuck around this long- bravo, but it did seem as though a respectful nod should be given to Yoga’s long and exquisite history!

I hope you enjoyed the post, and I wish you the best in your Yoga journey! Bye!

Respecting the Practice Further Reading References:

“The Roots of Yoga” by James Mallinson and Mark Singleton

“The Yoga Tradition: Its History, Literature, Philosophy, and Practice” by Georg Feuerstein.

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