As a form of exercise and fitness (and yes, as means to help you lose weight), yoga is by something to be considered. If you have been contemplating learning yoga or have recently begun yoga practice, I hope to present you with some useful and helpful tips for yoga beginners.
Although I'm more in to power lifting (probably because I was raised on a farm. Honest!), I do practice basic yoga because it keeps the muscles supple and I gain more overall flexibility and agility. That being said, what follows can help you gain or add to your knowledge of yoga.
There are three basic yoga poses you should learn and master:
1.Sun Salutations pose: This is the core of yoga itself. This exercise combines breathing, sun bathing and prayer. It's a combination of poses, 12 to be exact, and are performed in a synchronized motion with emphasis on rhythmic breathing. Mildly exercising the arms and legs, the poses are often recommended for obesity, depression and fitness. For beginners, this will be a guaranteed must know. Think of it as the warm up part of your routine.
2.The Shoulder Stand pose: Don't be frightened by the name. This pose is easy even for a beginner. It's a very important pose and arguably, the most important. The Sanskrit name (Savangasana) means the "all members" or "all limbs" pose; meaning, it has an impact on all parts of the body. Some poses, such as the Shoulder Stand, do have unique counter poses. As a beginner, make sure you are taught these poses to counteract and balance the effects of the Shoulder Stand. The counteract poses are the bridge and fish poses. Here's a hint of the ratio you should strive for in their combined execution: 6:1:2. This simply means that the bridge and fish poses should be held for a sixth and third of the time respectively that you spend in the shoulder stand pose.
3.The Corpse Pose: As the pose implies by its name, it is done lying down. This is a relaxation pose which is normally accomplished somewhere within, and, after your regime. It is a method of relaxing the muscles used for your yoga exercises. The most difficult element of this pose, is concentration. Through concentration, you are training your mind to relax your body.
Those are the three main poses you really should learn to perfect. However, there are other poses that should be included as you progress. Each of these additional pose groups have several variations on the three root poses. Here's a little secret. Do at least 24 repetitions of Sun Salutations and the ease in executing additional poses will come almost naturally. Trust me.
One other factor that I must stress is that if you follow a healthy eating plan, you will not only gain strength, but will speed the process of weight loss (if that is indeed, one of your goals).
Though yoga for beginners may best be learned from an instructor, your own systematic approach and practice will determine your mastery. There are tons of books, television broadcasts, local classes and DVD's available. Moreover, bear in mind that as a beginner doing yoga, unless you intend to do lots of Sun Salutations, you might want to incorporate some body weight resistance poses such as Hindu push ups and the Bridge.