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Questions from A Yoga Newbie

A question for meditators and yoga practitioners:

As a meditator, I’ve wanted to get into yoga for a long time
now. I finally went to my first real yoga class at OM Yoga, a center located
near Union Square in New York City. I’m happy to report that I loved it! Since
the class I’ve been paying more attention to my posture in general, and I’ve aware
that I am a horrible sloucher. When I call my attention to this as I’m walking
down the street and remind myself to stand up straight, I immediately feel more
confident and open. (Photo courtesy of  New York Magazine) 


 I’d rather not keep projecting this….badposture.jpg 

Does anyone have any advice for a newcomer to yoga? How do I
avoid injuries/muscle pain? Or should I expect a certain amount of muscle pain
at the beginning?

Do you continue to take yoga classes, or do you have your
own personal yoga practice at home? Or both?

Comments read comments(8)
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Sandy G

posted September 1, 2009 at 9:26 am

Hi…How would you tell someone new to meditation how to avoid suffering? Keep going to appropriate level classes and soon it will all become clear. But just keep going;) Soon, you will know enough to have a home practice if oyu want, but simply by going to class and listening tot he teachers at OM, you are on the right path, especially t OM;)
Sandy Gross, OM teacher in Ohio

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posted September 1, 2009 at 11:03 am

Congrats! I love yoga. I got to meditation via yoga, from the mat to the cushion. Cool to hear about from cushion to mat.
What would I tell a newbie? Go to lots of classes; listen carefully to alignment instructions; be mindful of the mental chatter about “I am bad I can’t do this: I am so freaking great I can do this; she can do that but I can’t, I’d better push myself!” and all that stuff.
It just goes on; I just watch it, but I try not to believe it or let it motivate me to do injurious things. As for muscle pain: Yes, using previously undiscovered or unused muscles makes them bark a bit; I think of them as waking up. Waking up cranky.
I stress alignment cuz my one long-running injury is from habit — the habit of repeated doing a posture, for about 9 years, with poor alignment. But it’s better than the habit of repeatedly doing the posture of slouching thru life.
All good wishes. See you on the mat!

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posted September 1, 2009 at 11:08 am

I’m probably involved in one too many activities during the week so I have a home/class yoga practice. My advice to a new comer would be to pace yourself and keep going to a class at your level (as Sandy said in her comment). Just try your best to do the poses with the understanding that you’re new so you won’t be able to put your foot behind your head or anything and nobody expects you to. Try to push yourself without hurting yourself. It can be a tough balance but you’ll find your limits.
I’ve done martial arts for years (so I’m pretty flexible) and tried to start a yoga practice on my own at home using a website. It proved to be difficult to stick with and I’ve found that finding a class that you enjoy is much better than trying to start off on your own. As you learn more, you can practice at home but I agree that going to class will continue to be important. I’m pretty new to yoga myself but so far this has been working for me.
Best of luck,

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Hovey Brock

posted September 1, 2009 at 12:20 pm

Hi – I took teacher training at OM, but I am a die-hard Iyengar fan. Go to as many different centers as you can to find the one that suits you. Personally, I would red-flag any practice that tries to “push” you, eg Astanga or Bikram. Good luck and just stick with it. You will be amazed at the changes yoga brings on a psycho-somatic level, especially when you get experiences enough to do inversions such as head and hand stand.

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posted September 1, 2009 at 1:09 pm

I got into yoga about 10 years ago, but it was very gradual. I liked Integral Yoga’s basic classes because there was a nice integration of breathwork and poses, and they really broke the poses down and corrected me gently when I was off-balance. One very nice thing about yoga, I think, is that it felt good right away, as a beginner, but every time I go back to a class I learn something new.
One thing that helped me get the practice really going was having a yoga buddy; my friend and neighbor C and I used to go to weekly classes together. Another helpful thing is shopping around for a teacher whose style you really like, then going to their classes regularly. If you always have a bag of yoga clothes ready at work, you can go on the spur of the moment, too.

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Jerry Kolber

posted September 1, 2009 at 4:06 pm

You can’t go wrong with yoga. I don’t share Hovey’s disdain for Ashtanga and have found at times in my life that it was exactly what I need, other times it’s a more gentle class. OM rocks because you have a smorgasbord of styles, a cornucopia of options, to choose from and see what feels right. You’ll dig it and grow 3 inches and glow and become famous. go.!

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Lynn Somerstein

posted September 1, 2009 at 7:31 pm

Yay! Stand up straight, fill your lungs with glorious air, and breathe!
Once you’ve learned the basics, you can build a home practice around the sun salutation, add a twist and an inversion like the shoulder stand, and don’t leave out savassana, plus a little breathwork, ending with meditation. That is a full practice which you can stretch or contract, depending on your schedule.
Learning yoga is not painful. You should feel stretched, spacious, peaceful.
Stick with it.

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Lose Fat Stomach

posted March 8, 2010 at 4:14 am

You should have a routine of stretching and exercises before doing a yoga proper.
For more tips visit

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