So you’re thinking of beginning a yoga practice, but aren’t sure where to start? Here are some essentials you need to know.

Yoga: the word means union, that is, the union of body, mind and spirit.

There are several different types of yoga. Here are three of them:

  • Hatha Yoga – 5,000 years old, thousands of postures
  • Kundalini – 1,600 years old, postures arranged into sets to harness the energy in your body and mind
  • Bikram Yoga – hot yoga, a modern invention, 26 poses only, done in a hot, humid studio 80 degrees or more. Bikram is very strenuous, so be careful of dehydration and heart issues.


There are many benefits for body, mind and spirit of a yoga practice:

For the Body

  • Improves breathing, so it is great for those with breathing problems
  • Increases flexibility
  •  Improves range of motion
  • Offers better balance, especially in seniors
  • Lowers blood pressure
  • Naturally lowers cholesterol
  • Increases circulation
  • Boosts the immune system
  • Builds long, lean muscle
  • Boosts metabolism
  • Burns calories
  • Can aid weight loss

For the Mind

  • Greater concentration
  • Better focus
  • Scientifically proven to lower the symptoms of ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder) and ADHD Attention Deficit-Hyperactivity Disorder
  • Improves the quality of sleep
  • Boosts energy levels and alertness

For the Spirit

  • Decreases stress
  • Improves mood
  • Decreases anxiety
  • Helps you connect with others when you attend classes


Yoga mats – ecologically friendly and natural ones available.

Yoga bag for carrying your mat and clothing. Make sure the bag will be large enough to hold your bag.

Yoga towels are good for hot yoga or a substitute for a yoga mat.

Yoga props such as straps, blocks, and  bolsters can all help you with your postures.

Yoga Clothing

  • form fitting
  • natural and breathable fabric
  • not too tight
  • not too baggy
  • not too skimpy – for the cool downs at the end of each yoga session, put on long pants and a long sleeved shirt, or use a blanket or shawl

Yoga Poses = Asanas

Yoga poses can be done by anyone of any age provided you are safe and sensible, and listen to your body.

The types of poses are:

  • standing
  • sitting
  • lying down
  • inversions-that is, being upside down, such as shoulder stands

Ways to Learn:

  • classes
  • retreats
  • DVDs
  • books
  • apps

DVDs can help get you started. Rent or stream some and see which you like best. Then go to a class to learn more and meet others. You can also do yoga at home with family and friends.

Yoga is a lifetime practice, so do what you can and see what a difference it can make to body, mind and spirit.