How Do I Start Yoga? Or How Do I Re-Start After A While Of Not Doing It?

Two weeks ago someone asked James, in his Thursday Twitter Q&A, this question: How do I get started with yoga? James delegated the answer to me, which made me very happy.

Starting can be so simple, that I created a video so after you finish with this post you can roll your mat and get started at once. (Here is a link for the You Tube video if you can't see it below)

And also, to MAKE IT SWEETER...

I started a ONE-YEAR LONG and open level YOGA COURSE.  It is by subscription only as I want dedicated, brave practitioners!

Any success in life comes down to one thing: being healthy.  If we are unhealthy there is no way that we will have strength or clarity or even purpose in any endeavor.  Yoga starts with the body, with the poses (asanas) so that we begin to find balance and health at the gross level, at the muscle, joint, tissue, blood, flesh, level.

Yoga is an amenable to many people, and that offers unexpected benefits (here are 32 for starters), and teaches us some mind-blowing facts about how to keep healthy (here are 9 mind-blowing facts about yoga)

To set the odds in favor: here are 3 things to keep in mind as you start

1- Don't sweat it!    

It's just yoga. You can do it at home, you now even have a video with the basics (below). You don't need anything expensive (although a basic mat helps), just get ready and go for it.

You will see in the video that I practice in my bedroom, any place that has a little room is good enough.

2- Start with the Sun Salutations, and practice them every day (5 or 6 times a week)

The Sun Salutations are very beneficial, and if practiced as in the video (3 times for the Salutation A, and 3 times for the Salutation B), they will get you moving, breathing, stretching, warming up, focusing, and generally changing your mood for the better.

They are a great way to start the day, as it is always best to practice yoga with an empty stomach.

But they can also be practiced at night, followed by a long session of resting (or corpse pose) to relax, and get ready for sleep.

Here are two quotes from master yogis on the benefits of the Sun Salutations:

"By practicing the Sun Salutations people can become joyous, experience happiness and contentment" Pattabhi Jois (Founder of the Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga system)

"The Sun Salutations are an effective way to loosening up, stretching, massaging and toning all the joints, muscles and internal organs"  Swami Satyananda Sawarswati (from the book Asana Pranayama Mudra Bandha)


3- Lose the Practice -IF You Have To- But Not The Ritual

It is important to create a ritual, or a routine around yoga, because it is a practice rather than a one-time thing.  To reap the benefits (see links on the fourth paragraph), it has to be practiced over a long period of time and consistently.

But I get it, some days we just do not feel like practicing. We are human, we live in a busy world, what then?

I suggest something controversial, do this:

- Put on your yoga outfit (nothing fancy is required), roll the mat out,  stand at the edge of it, and then... do nothing!
- Roll the mat back and keep going with your day.

In this way you trick your brain into thinking that you are the type of person that does yoga every day.

And, if you do this, one day you may feel like taking just one breath, maybe even lifting your arms. Another day you may feel like doing a little more, and little by little, you have a practice.


1- Why is the breathing so important?

You will see that the whole video puts great emphasis on where the inhales go, and where the exhales go. This is because the coordination of the movement with the flow of breath is key to sending oxygen into the body in the right way.

Yoga is primarily, a breathing practice, because it is the breath that regulates the activity of our mind and body.

2- What is the DARTH VADER breathing sound?

The breath in the video is done WITH SOUND.  I call it the Darth Vader sound, and you will hear me (when I am not giving instructions) breathing loudly in this way.

This type of breath is produced by closing the glottis slightly so that, as you inhale slowly, you make a sound, and the same thing happens as you exhale.

By doing this you slow your breathing, go within, center your mind, oxygenate the body, tone your organs, and start the day on a vibrant note.

3- What should be my main priority?

Make Breathing the priority. If you are running out of breath stop, if it is too much stop, always make sure you can breath comfortably.  Also, be careful and use intelligence when it comes to the limitations of your body.  Take your time so that you do not injure yourself.

4- I'm not flexible, should I still do it?

Yes, do it. Take your time. Go slow.

Watch the video first a couple of times so you know what to expect. Then get started.  Do a little every day.  Flexibility is in the mind, once the mind looses the fear the body will follow.

5- Are there any dangers?

In general for healthy people there shouldn't be a problem, but if you suffer of any conditions you need to always consult a professional.  It is important to make our safety a priority, but also it is important to recognize when we might be using "safety" as an excuse not to practice.

6- I can probably learn this very quickly, what then?

True, if you have done yoga before and this seems easy, then you can either join a class near you or sign up for my newsletter where I will keep on adding new poses so that the practice becomes longer and more challenging every day.

You can also visit a local studio for some variety and to learn new asanas.

7- What if I have more questions?  

Contact me on Twitter or Facebook or see my You Tube Channel

P.S.:  SIGN UP FOR THE FREE ONE YEAR COURSE (It's for all levels, no requirements, and will be going over LOTS of tools from yoga that are not usually offered in regular yoga classes)

James keeps a Twitter Q&A every Thursday at 3:30 PM EST.  I love it when people ask him questions about yoga.   You are welcome to join him at  

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  1. I've 50 years of practice - dance, yoga, swimming more..and I enthusiastically agree w #3! 'Suit up /show up'.... absolutely teaches the brain. I discovered by accident, wjen I noticed that -just going to pool and chatting w friends -left me feeling ...good/complete/constructive. Similarly - one winter I vowed to swim laps in ocean every day --some days I just dipped in quickly/or just sat on beach in wind.

    You are right!! - In the end I felt I HAD actually swum every day.
    One piece is the acceptance of imperfection that comes with age. Close ...becomes... good enough.

  2. YES YES YES! It works for yoga and for swimming and for anything. Thanks for sharing your story

  3. I so agree with you Kristie, yes, there is no need to get it all done at one, no rush, just whatever works for us, and one day at the time.

    I am glad you will use the trick that never fails for creating the RITUAL :-)

    And what you said is key: " I will get back to my regular Ashtanga practice with a little more ease."


  4. Thank you Claudia for this nice post. It is really hard to restart practicing yoga after a long time gap. I personally try to maintain regularity and recommend all of my students to do so so that they can get benefited always. I think if the practitioner follow particular time-especially the early morning for practicing yoga, then it will be easier to maintain regularity.



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