Updated: Oct 14
So you have just decided to start Yoga. The first 30 days of Yoga are critical. You want to develop a taste for Yoga that should last a lifetime. Everyone has their own reasons for starting and everyone starts at different levels. The first month should be spent getting your foundation rock solid, so you are free to progress mentally and physically. Hopefully you have an idea of the totality of yoga. You should know about the different aspects of yoga and how it can aid in different things. We have linked a bunch of articles throughout this post to help you round out your understanding.
What Do I Need
Lets talk about the things you will need. At its core, all you need is the mat. It would help to get a mat that has some grip and moisture wicking layers, for stability and safety with the harder poses. They also keep their grip when you sweat.
Depending on your level of fitness or physical impairment, you may want to consider some helpful props such as various sized blocks for support, 2 of each size. You may also want to get some straps and resistance bands for added assistance.
Last but not least, the clothes you wear. A lot of yoga is about awareness and the skin is your largest sensory organ. Try and go for comfort above all else. Obviously the stretch of the fabric matters. Cotton is the best all around for most, though you can wear whatever you like.
What To Expect
You have seen other yoga practitioners with great bodies and awesome flexibility. They all started with not being able to do a back bend. Do not set impractical goals. To be truthful, at this point you do not know enough about your body to set goals. Your only goal should be to learn and follow a process with discipline.
You are going to spend the first 2 weeks just learning about yourself. Then, if by month end you have a clear idea of where you are and what you need to do, that will be more than enough. By month end you should expect to physically feel better, you should be sleeping better and you should have identified how your body holds stress and how to release it.
This last one is important! These are just general goals. If your goal is weight loss or physical fitness, then you would have seen some changes by month end with a tailored routine. Also, if your goal is meditation and spiritual awareness, then a month is not enough at all. Then you are going at this the wrong way.
What To Avoid
Certain aspects of Yoga deal with the subconscious energies, such as Kundalini yoga and chakra balancing. We recommend staying away from those in the beginning. Also, please do not go further than your body will let you in any pose. Do not jump or otherwise throw yourself into any movement. If your muscles aren't strong enough to pick your weight up in some position, then they are not strong enough to hold your weight up either. Always consult with a qualified teacher, especially regarding the harder asanas.
Yoga is best experienced in a holistic manner. You want to be aware of all the different ways that Yoga can help you. A lot of them are easy enough to do and just involve small lifestyle changes. There are too many negative inputs in today's world, in the food you eat, the air you breathe and the feelings you feel. It might seem contrary but if you spend most of the first month focusing on Pranayama, the Sattvic diet, and Yoga Nidra, you would be doing your body a great service! Focusing on these three things will help you get rid of a lot of your toxins and toxic thoughts, and you will feel great in a months time! If you haven't already read them, we highly suggest giving these articles a read to broaden your understanding of the process you are putting your body through.
How Long Should Practice Be
There are a few ways to go about your Yoga practice. You could go by sequencing muscle action from one to the other. Also, you can work on specific areas or do a whole body session. You can target stressed areas or develop weak ones. These would be result or process based rather than time. The real reason for setting a time limit is to foster discipline.
That being said, each Yoga session should include a warm up before and a meditation session after. Also any muscle you are planning on stressing, you should include enough time for a counter pose to relax that muscle. So yes, set a time limit. Go by your schedule. We recommend start with an hour practice. 15 mins of warm up, 30 mins of asanas, 15 mins of meditation. If you feel an hour is too long or short for you, then feel free to change accordingly. Just remember to structure your practice properly. All the parts are equally important.
How Should I Feel During my first 30 Days of yoga
Changes in yoga are usually subtle in the beginning. The process of holding asanas and doing breathing flows, works out all the small muscles as well as the large muscle groups, so changes happen on the overall level. You will notice gains in strength in the positions you practice, and your stability will get better. You would be able to reach farther into stretches and bends because your bodies overall elastic range would have increased vs the plastic range.
The meditation and Yoga Nidra will aid in subtle changes to the brain chemistry which should result in you feeling more positive emotions and generally better moods. The diet would have resulted in a detoxified body with all the accompanying benefits. These are the long term effects over a month. Immediately after a practice, you should expect to feel a tired soreness from some muscles at worst. You should also feel a calm and relaxing feeling especially after the meditation sessions. If there is any spiking pains or aches within a given muscle movement, please consult a professional.
What To Do
The program we recommend for starting month for the first 30 days of yoga is as follows : Click the links for complete details on each.
The Yogic Diet - A proper diet will get your body back to the way nature intended. Every malady or issue will become easier to solve and you may find that some completely disappear. A Sattvic diet follows Ayurvedic principles and considers prevention better than cure.
Pranayama - Breathing is responsible for removing 70% of our toxins. Breathing patterns instantly affect the Autonomic Nervous system. Proper breathing is hugely important and amazingly beneficial. A whole host of physical and mental changes are possible just by fixing our breathing patterns.
Meditation - Yoga is incomplete without awareness. Meditation teaches us how to direct that awareness and learn from our own selves. A persons mental outlook decides their life, and meditation is the best way to examine and reshape that outlook.
Yoga Nidra - Yoga Nidra allows for a more complete and rejuvenating sleep. Your body feels recovered and better able to take on the next day. It also includes a complete body scan routine so that you can find your stressed areas. Yoga Nidra has been used to treat a bunch of symptoms from PTSD to depression and anxiety. It is a wonderful aspect of Yoga.
Suryanamaskar - You may have heard of the Sun salutations. It is one of the most renowned Yoga routines and one of the most important. It's the best possible warm up you could do for your session, and with enough repetition, it's a full body workout in itself.
Stress hunting - Our physical lives cause us to store stress and tension in our bodies as well as minds. It usually manifests itself in tightness or soreness in muscles. Develop a routine that finds and targets these spots to enjoy a very rewarding first month of Yoga! You can use these articles to find poses that work best for your specific sore areas. You can also look through our Asanas page or Gallery to find poses that work.
30 days of a proper Yoga lifestyle will show you the rewards for yourself. You will most likely see it in your body and you will most definitely feel it . You will be a more self assured and confident person for having met the goals you set out to.
Once you experience all the benefits that can be had from yoga, the next 30 days will be a pleasure to look forward to.