Beginner’s Guide to Yoga

Written by Jackie Sloves for Anamaya
Costa Rica Yoga Retreat - reflection in pool

Beginner’s Guide to Yoga

The Yoga Retreat packages we offer at the Anamaya Resort Hotel are suitable for anyone – whether this will be your first time doing yoga, or you are a seasoned yoga veteran. Yoga is beneficial for people of all ages and all walks of life. It is one of the oldest practiced forms of exercise, first used over 5000 years ago. The philosophy behind yoga centers around bringing harmony to your life by connecting your body and breath with your mind. In having fluid movements that work in concert with controlled breathing, one is able to find serenity within oneself and escape from the chaos of the world. In doing so, one cleanses oneself from the rigid physical and mental patterns we all can get stuck in.

There are many different types of yoga, some of which are very relaxed and focus on meditation and breathing, while others are more intensive cardio workouts and are practiced to build muscle tone. Every type of yoga incorporates various poses – or asanas – that are combined into a cohesive exercise through fluid, graceful movements. These poses can be grouped into various sequences to best suit the body. The following article will briefly outline what happens during a yoga class here at Anamaya.

Warriors, and Cobras, and Dogs, Oh My!

Morning yoga sessions at Anamaya Resort begin by warming the body with sun salutations, or surya namaskara, which are a series of 12 poses. The purpose of sun salutations is to salute the sun gods, which represent enlightenment. Sun salutations in and of themselves may compose a yoga practice because there are many variations of the sun salutation sequence. Each sun salutation sequence stretches and lengthens the entire body. Once the sun salutations are completed,  a yoga class transitions to deeper stretching through infinite variations of sequences; some sequences focus on the warrior poses, which are a series of lunges and focus on strengthening the legs. Others may focus on plank positions to target arm and upper body strength. Many of these poses involve twisting from the torso in order to improve flexibility and posture, and gain full range of motion. All yoga practice finishes with a pose called Savasana, or corpse-pose. In this pose, one lies on their backs with hands down by their side; the purpose of this pose is to enter a complete state of relaxation. This final pose is definitely a common favorite!

Top 3 Common Yoga Myths

  1. Yoga is only for women. No way! Yoga is for all people – men, women, and children alike. Everyone can benefit in some way from yoga, be it better posture, more strength, balance, or improved flexibility.
  2. You have to be flexible to do yoga. No way! Yoga is meant to increase flexibility, but many people who begin doing yoga cannot even touch their fingers to their toes without bending their knees! Poses are meant to be performed to an individual’s ability, and can be done with however much force and intensity the individual wishes.
  3. Yoga is purely physical. No way! There are five basic principles of yoga which promote the philosophy of a healthy lifestyle. They are: exercise, diet, breathing, relaxation, and meditation. Each principle compliments the others, and each are equally important to practicing yoga.

Come to a yoga retreat at Anamaya and try it out for yourself!

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