There are many benefits to practicing yoga. The practice of yoga benefits both the body and the mind. Some of these benefits occur after just one class.
Hatha yoga is a form of yoga that emphasizes physical poses that can improve your memory and help improve your focus and also relieves stress. Hatha comes from the Sanskrit ha (sun) and tha (moon). Hatha’s principle is uniting opposites: the sun and the moon for example.
Hatha yoga is a good practice for beginners. All types of yoga are derived from Hatha. It consists of basic poses and terminology along with breathing techniques that you will learn and use in your daily practice.
All you need is comfortable clothing that will allow you to move freely, a yoga mat, some water and you are ready to begin. You may want to use other props such as blocks or straps which you may find helpful in certain poses.
There are many types of yoga mats available from thin, 1/16 of an inch to thicker mats about ¼ of an inch thick. They are also made of different materials, the most common being PVC which is a vinyl. The most common mat used is about an 1/8 inch thick. You may want to purchase an eco friendly mat which does not contain any phthalates, heavy metals or latex.
The first thing you need to be aware of is your breath. Unless your instructor advises you otherwise, inhale as you stretch and exhale as you fold or contract. Breathe while holding your poses. Do not hold your breath.
The ten most basic poses you will likely learn as a beginner are:
Downward Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana)
Mountain Pose (Tadasana)
Standing Forward Bend (Uttanasana)
Triangle Pose (Trikonasana)
Staff Pose (Dandasana)
Cat and Cow (Chakravakasana)
Warrior I (Virbhadrasana)
Warrior II (Virabhadrasana II)
Cobbler’s Pose (Baddha Konasana)
Child’s Pose (Balasana)
You can find a description with photos of these poses online via various yoga websites and videos. Remember that our bodies are different. Some of us are more flexible than others. Some are stronger and some have greater balance. Whatever your ability, improvement will come with practice. Do not be discouraged if at first you can not do a forward bend and touch the floor with straight legs. The important thing is to do what you are capable of. Do a little better each time. That way you will not be discouraged and will appreciate and benefit better from your practice.