Yoga: Avoid Beginner’s Mistakes

Posted: May 3, 2012 at 7:13 am

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Yoga: Avoid Beginners Mistakes

While Attaining a Well of Happiness

Yoga has become a popular option for alternative health management. Research has shown the practice can significantly reduce mental and physical stress, improve mood, and slow the aging process.

But some yogis believe many of the estimated 20 million U.S. students are missing the best part of the discipline the inner happiness attainable through a healthy mind-body connection. They also worry about injuries that result when beginners tackle poses and exercises without proper guidance.

There are several disciplines of yoga, and with its rich history, the beginner can easily get lost or worse injured, says Mary Jo Ricketson, an experienced yoga practitioner and healthcare specialist, and author of Moving Meditation ( A registered nurse, she also holds a masters degree in education from Northwestern University.

What I detail in my book is a comprehensive approach for both mind and body. This reciprocal relationship maximizes health benefits, and has exponentially positive consequences beyond the individual.

People have been practicing yoga for thousands of years, she says. In the West, the practice has integrated with our culture leading to variations including extreme yoga. Ricketson warns this sort of exercise can alienate beginners, who may not be ready to jump in the deep end first. Without the proper training and guidance, she adds, beginners risk injuring their neck, lower back, knees and shoulders.

The most important step is getting started, Ricketson says. Here are seven things beginners and anyone practicing yoga should know to maximize their benefits:

1.Cardiovascular (aerobic) training: As with meditation, focused breathing is a cornerstone of mind-body training. Aerobic means with oxygen and aerobic movement increases the flow of oxygen-rich blood throughout the body, including the brain. Cardiovascular training is the single most important aspect of the physical training because it keeps the heart open and strong.

2.Core and strength training: This includes the students abdomen and buttocks, and the lower back region, which extends to the base of the skull. Here is where strength, stability and balance originate.

Originally posted here:
Yoga: Avoid Beginner’s Mistakes

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