So if you are just starting out -- here are some important tips:
Tip # 1
Take a class in person. Need recommendations? There are many choices. It is best to find a good yoga studio and take a beginners class. Visithttp://www.bksiyengar.com/and look under teachers to find an iyengar style yoga studio. These studios have great beginners programs and you can simply drop in. The classes are semester based. Typically they will start in Jan, June and then in Sept. Check out the credentials of the teachers. They are rigorous. Most certified teachers spend 3 years in certification. Other similar styles are Anusura yoga. There is also Vinyasa, Ashtanga or Vin yoga. They are more movement and breathing focused. Some folks like this style better. I personally suggest Hatha yoga firs to learn basics and then evolve and add.
Tip # 2
Buy a yoga mat, two blocks (foam), get a couple of blankets and belts. This is for home practice. A folding chair and the wall are other important props.
Tip # 3
Try a few classes and change instructors to see who you like the best.
Tip # 4
Practice what you have learnt. I did that by doing 20 mins of yoga after a cardio work out at the gym or when I did weights. Its good as your body has warmed up, muscles could use some stretching. It is best to do yoga after your work out and not before. Your muscles tend to be tight after cardio or weights, even though your body has warmed up. I will tell you what poses to practice after the work out.
Tip # 5
Listen to your body when you take a class. Don't be compelled to follow the crowd and feel competitive. Do it at your pace. If you feel tired stop what are doing and go into a resting pose. Its best to try the “child pose”.
Tip # 6
Become self aware. Yoga helps you to become self aware, but you have to make the effort. If you feel de-motivated, just go around the block for a walk. Walking my friend is the best exercise and movement. Even if you walked for 10 mins a day once or twice a day, its a great exercise. If weather does not permit, heck get out and go to the mall and walk, but please WALK! :)
Tip # 7
Give it time and repeat and practice as often as you can. Its only with small repetitions and small steps and time will you see progress. Build on the progress... and dont expect immediate results. They will come in time. Go at your own pace.
Tip # 8
Bear the pain and soreness. Those are good signs. Its in the pain that you achieve salvation. Don't ever give up hope. Its in the hope that you survive and bear the pain.
Tip # 9
Lets wait for the next blog for more tips. In the meantime here is an inspirational video on yoga and a snippet on how to do the triangle pose.