Introduction to Yoga

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Introduction to Yoga

As we welcome the new year and make resolutions, many of us will pursue new forms of exercise and ways to get in touch with our mind and body. A popular way is through yoga. Yoga, a physical and spiritual practice that originated in India, can be practiced at home or with others in group class settings. However, you don't need to buy a membership or any fancy equipment to explore yoga and learn more about the practice. 

Whether you're brand new to the idea of yoga, looking to maximize your practice and learn some new poses, or simply want to learn to do yoga at home, these books are a great jumping off point. You'll learn how yoga came to be so prolific, what the benefits of yoga are, how to do certain poses and really get in to your own practice. 

Yoga by Sarah Herrington
If you are 100% new to yoga, this is where you want to start. This so-called "idiot's guide" will help ease you into the most popular poses and help build your confidence about the fundamentals of yoga before you move onto more complicated flows and poses. Herrington walks you step-by-step into getting into poses like staff, downward dog, upward dog, child's pose and more. The book comes chock full of color photography to help you visualize each pose and mimic it in your own practice. There's also a section on the different types of yoga, which is great for people who want to learn before they try different real-life classes. 

Yoga Basics: Gentle Yoga by Kathy Smith
Once you've learned a bit about what to expect from yoga, you can try this DVD at home to simulate a yoga class without too much stress or strain. Designed to be completed in 55-minutes, this practice will take you through seated meditation, some floor poses, and leave you feeling calm and tranquil by the end. If you're wary of committing to a yoga class for some reason, this DVD is perfect. You can do it on your own schedule, take breaks whenever you need to and pause to really reflect on what a pose is wanting you to do. 

Yin Yoga: Stretch the Mindful Way by Kassandra Reinhardt
Once you've learned the basics of yoga, you may want to try yin yoga--especially if you're looking for stress and muscle relief as opposed to weight loss or toning. Yin yoga is a series of poses that is designed to really get into your connective tissue and help you feel more relaxed and in tune with your body. Yin yoga is great for people looking for a less active practice or who want to supplement their active practice. This descriptive book will walk you through the theories behind yin, including the anatomy of each pose, and provides pictures and diagrams to help you get the most out of your yin practice at home or in the classroom. 

The Modern Yoga Bible: The Definitive Guide to Yoga Today by Christina Brown
If you're interested in learning more about the spirituality behind yoga and the way people come to yoga as well as deepening your own practice, this is a must-read book. The author, Christina Brown, talks about her own journey to yoga as well as the way yoga has proliferated and how we should ethically engage with it. Then, she talks in depth about each pose, both active and passive, as well as breathing techniques and meditation. Once you've got the yoga basics down, this is a great book to take you to the next level at your own pace. 

Becoming a Yoga Instructor by Elizabeth Greenwood
If you're interested in learning about the history of yoga classes in the U.S. and the way people become yoga teachers, including very famous ones, you'll want to read this quick but informational book. Regardless of your own intention to become a yoga teacher or just a better student, you'll learn so much about the different styles of yoga and the way that yoga classes have changed and evolved since they began in the U.S. You'll also learn about some of the most famous yoga teachers today and why they have the following they do, which may inspire you to seek out great teachers yourself.