Those who are new to Yoga should keep a few things in mind. First you should go in wanting a good outcome, otherwise what is the point of practicing in the first place. Next you should pay attention to the way your body feels, you should be aware of what feels good and what doesn’t. Pace yourself, don’t try to put your legs behind your head on the first day. In other words, move within the limits of your body’s anatomy. Don’t be intimidated by others who may be a lot more flexible than you. Some Yoga practitioners say that Yoga is about length not flexibility. It is not about simply holding a certain pose but feeling the stretch, feeling the tension and compression forces in the body. Follow your breath and progress gradually, ease up when you become short of breath.
Another way Yoga is described is “exploring the body” and seeing Yoga practice as a journey. So, as you do the poses you are to try to go somewhere you’ve never been before. In more understandable terms simply, using muscles you’ve never thought to use before. If a pose seems easy there may be another way to go about it through body alignment or some other variation. Your Yoga instructor should be more than happy to show you. One often overlooked aspect in Yoga is to smile during the session. Effort is needed to get the most out of the session, but you are not supposed to fight or struggle with the poses. It is more of a surrender or release of stress and negativity in the form of tension in body, smiling helps this process. So happily let it all go! The idea of Yoga is to come out of the session different from the way you came in.
Prolonged practice has many health benefits. The idea that joint damage will occur over time is solely based on the way you practice. If you continuously have bad habits during the practice such as, not following your breath, improper alignment and not understanding the limitations of your body, then it will do more harm than good. If you work with your body and the Yoga instructor then you can practice as long as your heart desires. Also, take a rest once in a while even with Yoga. Rest is needed in any exercise regimen. Rest is need to avoid pain and give your body time to recover. It is in order to avoid overexertion and injury. Lastly have fun! You are deciding to make a change within your body for the better, so enjoy it.