Things you only know if you’re brand new to yoga
Yoga is one of those activities we’ve all been recommended by someone at some point. Whether for fitness, mental wellbeing, or surviving the rigours of lockdown, the benefits of yoga are many and varied – or so they say.
So what does it feel like if you’re a total newbie?
1. Yes, it’s much more relaxing than most exercise
OK, so this is pretty much yoga’s ‘thing’, but it’s still striking the extent that yoga manages to exercise and relax you all at once. Whether it’s the breathing, the stretching, or the enforced ‘me time’, yoga creates a sense of wellbeing most cardio can only dream of. For those that despise running – commonly termed ‘sensible people’ – or need to exercise shortly before bed, a quick YouTube yoga session is probably just the ticket.
2. It’s not a substitute for going outdoors
Yoga gets you moving, no question, but it cannot cure claustrophobia. It was almost too perfect for lockdown life, when your government-mandated daily exercise can get you not only up off the sofa but out of the house. Yoga was an excellent partner in crime for daily walks. Not a replacement for them.
3. The learning curve can be steep
The ‘yoga is easy’ talking point has been debunked again and again, but even so, for beginners quite straightforward looking poses can be punishingly difficult. Downward dog may seem deceptively simple, but you’ll be crying out for some friendly doggos after failing the crow three times in a row.
Improvement comes quickly, but leave the bravado in the gym, as it will not do well on the yoga mat.
4. Flexibility is far more pervasive than you’d think
Strengthening your core makes you feel more centred (as least it seems to), and feeling constantly limber makes even climbing the stairs feel somehow steadier after a week or so of stretching. It could be placebo (perhaps if you expect to feel more flexible, you naturally do), but in one sense the reason is immaterial. Take the wellbeing and run.
5. It’s great first thing in the morning
You get out of yoga what you put in, and the most difficult time to do it is also by far the best. No, we don’t feel like teetering on one leg at 7.30AM while trying not to overbalance into the wardrobe, but we’ll tolerate it to make homeworking a little easier.
6. The DOMS is very real
Yoga uses unfamiliar muscles in unfamiliar ways, and session number one has a similar effect to the first day of a full body weights programme. Delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) will have you moving gingerly for a few days, and the further into the deep end you jump, the worse your DOMS will be.