Spending quality time on the yoga mat

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Five suggestions on how you can experience this rewarding activity comfortably

Yoga is one of those disciplines which is quite kind to beginners and experts alike with modifications to poses available through each level of difficulty. Even if you aren’t seeking major flexibility, there are still many benefits to spending quality time on the yoga mat.

If you’re only starting yoga later in life, it’s still possible to reap the benefits, so long as you take it gently and make sure you allow your body to recover to avoid injury. For anyone who has questions about what level of physical activity is right and safe for them, visiting your doctor to discuss the alternatives is always recommended.Here are five ways to get started:

Find the right class for you

A good class for any beginner is hatha yoga, which centers around slow, deliberate movements and focused breathing. If you’re up for something a bit more challenging, vinyasa flow and ashtanga classes will boost your heart rate.

If you’re not too keen on attending a class, you can always try yoga at home. Yoga With Adriene is one of the most popular YouTube channels at the moment, and she offers quick, easy-to-follow videos.

Start your day with mediation

The documented benefits of mindful breathing and meditation go back decades and more and more people are turning to it as a daily practice to manage the symptoms of mental health disorders and high stress. If you battle to focus for more than a few minutes, that’s fine just keep trying. Developing healthy habits doesn’t happen overnight and you need to be consistent!

If you need a guided meditation to help you, there are plenty to choose from on YouTube, whether you need a quick 10 minute session in the morning or you’d like something soothing to help you sleep. One great thing about the internet is that you can find anything you need.

Warm up properly

Arguably the most important part of any workout, warming up correctly is crucial if you’re older since your joints may be stiffer and require extra time to get limber. If you’re new to your exercise routine, warmups can be modified by using a chair. (Click here to see two warmup routines by our Baytak Nadeek trainers.)

Take a breather

There is no yoga teacher who would ever encourage you to struggle through a series of poses. It’s not a competition and you certainly don’t win any prizes for punishing yourself through the class. If you need a break, yoga teachers recommend that you move into a “Child’s Pose” for a few minutes while you catch your breath and give your body a chance to recover.

Keep at it

Fitness takes time as your body adjusts to new movements and you build strength, so it’s important to make sure you try to practice some poses every day, even if you don’t do a full class. Every little bit helps, and every little bit adds up to greater health. There will be days when you really don’t feel like it and that’s fine too. Thankfully, there’s a workout for that!

Nobody ever regrets trying yoga, though there are several testimonials online attesting to its life changing benefits, which include improving the relationship with your body, de-stressing, and finally, upping your endurance and strength. You just need to start!

Related: A beginner’s guide to fundamental yoga poses and mindful movement

Healthy Living is a frequently updated content section brought to you by the Saudi Sports for All Federation. In the spirit of supporting our #HealthyActiveCommunity, we’re sharing tips around wellness, physical activity and more!

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