1.    A good place to start is to consider your intentions with yoga. Ask yourself what you want from Yoga? Is it for a physical practice, a mental practice, a spiritual practice, a devotional practice or a more intellectual pursuit? Either way all paths of yoga lead to union of the mind and body.
2.    Have an Open Heart and Open Mind when coming to yoga. It helps to be open to the new. Yoga to the uninitiated can come across as being ‘new age’, weird postures, movements and sounds, to allow the full effect of Yoga to impact you; you need to come with an open mind. Oh, and by the way, the commonality of New Age and Yoga is that they are both about connecting the Mind/Body together.
3.    Invite a friend to share the experience, not only for support, but also for camaraderie, after all that’s what friendship is about – shared experiences!
4.    If you are pregnant, suffer from any chronic medical conditions, or have had recent surgery, check with your doctor before beginning any yoga or any exercise routines.
5.    Invest in some form fitting clothing or comfortable clothing that allows freedom of movement, you will be doing a lot of stretching, bending and balancing and you want to be comfortable. Also wearing breathable material to allow your skin to breath, as you may sweat as well.
6.    Although Yoga has exploded in the west, and Yoga Retailers are popping up everywhere, you really only need to invest in one or two piece’s of equipment and that is a non-slip mat, approximately 6mm in thickness for cushioning the body and a really good reusable Water bottle. They will become your best buddies.
7.    There is a lot of advice out there regarding Yoga and Menstruation and what the rules are when it comes to ‘Can I practice during while I am menstruation’? Lots of books and teachers state doing a gentler practice or better still avoiding practice altogether during your first three days of your cycle. Most practitioners do advocate avoiding inverted postures during this time though. Talk with your teacher or do some research and most importantly check in with yourself, to see how you feel about it!
8.    Aim to practice at the same time and place so you may accurately gauge your progress. Consider your flexibility starting points, if you practice one day in the morning and the next in the evening, trying to gauge your progress may be like comparing apples and oranges, since your flexibility starting points will have varied.
9.    If you wish to practice first thing in the morning, go easy at first muscles tend to be stiffer and tighter in the morning than they are later on in the day. Gently work your way into the more vigorous poses.
10.    Remember yoga is not a competitive sport, yoga doesn’t care about comparisons, it doesn’t care if you fall down it only cares about you getting back up!
11.    When you come to your mat be there in the here and now, it’s your time for you to put your attention onto yourself and your body.
Om Tat Sat!
‘Om Tat Sat’ is a Sanskrit mantra that is translated to mean the ‘Supreme Absolute Truth’ – literally ‘all that is’.

Written By Rhonda Weatherby                                                                                   www.thelivingpractice.com.au

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