Thinking of taking up yoga, but not quite sure where to start? The dawn of a new year is a great excuse to start, get back in to it, or take things up a notch.
The benefits of yoga have been increasingly reported, including, but not limited to :
Increased flexibility, improved cardiovascular & circulatory health, improved mental health, reduced stress, increased muscle strength and tone, improved spinal flexibility that could help with some back pain, potentially help alleviate arthritis symptoms, improve sleep, and increase general feelings of wellness.
Make sure to start with your best foot forward and get prepared first. Here are 5 top picks for yoga beginners.
I bought the Proworks Yoga Mat recently. This is the large size, which means you have enough room to stretch properly while not being too big that you can’t find anywhere to put it. It’s made from latex-free, phthalate-free NBR foam and it can be used indoors and outdoors. It measures approx 183cm length, 60cm width & 1cm height. The thickness is just right for yoga because mats that are too thick can affect balance, while those that are thinner don’t give you enough padding and protection from the floor. It comes with a strap holder so it folds up out of the way and can be carried easily. I find it rolls out flat well without curling up, and holds its position on carpet without moving. You can try out your yoga moves or try out some gymnastics, general stretching, abdominal workouts and pilates.
There are a few DVDs available for newbies, so I’d suggest checking out the well-reviewed BodyWisdom Yoga For Beginners DVD.
There’s also a DVD guide to chair yoga, which may be a great alternative for those with mobility problems.
If you don’t have a DVD player, or find it easier to set up your laptop or tablet in front of you, then check out YouTube for video clips and Google search for websites that provide illustrated yoga positions and stretches.
3. Stretching / Resistance Bands
These are great for various yoga moves, as well as for general stretching of muscles.
One to try is the elevons set of 5 bands, with storage bag. The brightly coloured bands are even labelled to remind you which provides the most and least resistance.
4. Exercise Ball
These gym balls are great for general exercises, stretches and yoga positions. You need to look for one that’s durable, anti-burst and that comes with a pump if you don’t have your own to use. The Proworks Ball gets great reviews so that’s what I’ll recommend here.