“Strength does not come from physical capacity. It comes from an indomitable will.” - Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi

Yoga is becoming increasingly popular in the UK. There are somewhere between 300,000 and 460,000 people in the UK regularly doing yoga. Doing yoga, asanas, and breathing exercises are all about focusing on the present and achieving mindfulness.

This is why more and more Brits are giving it a go; to improve their flexibility, manage stress, and get healthier. You can master your breathing, relax, and let go.

So how can you become a yoga professional when you’ve just started trying to master your inner peace?

In this article, we're going to look at different aspects of doing yoga including mastering your breathing, achieving alignment, essential yoga poses, and daily yoga meditation exercises to do every day.

How Can You Master Your Breathing in Yoga

There are techniques that are quite simple to master and breathing is one of them. This is one of the main aspects of yoga, too. While you may wonder why breathing is so important in yoga, you should remember that breathing indicates that we are actually alive. Breathing is essential for your body.

What is pranayama?
Breathing is an essential part of yoga. If you're not controlling your breathing, you'll never manage the more difficult poses. (Source: TheDigitalArtist)

When you listen to your body, you’ll hear the warning signs that you’re stressed or realise that you’re relaxed. Deep breathing can help us experience exactly what’s going on with our bodies. In yoga, breathing is more important than in any other type of exercise since breathing is part of the yoga poses themselves.

You can’t just hold your breath throughout a yoga session, you have to integrate your breathing into each pose. Each yoga pose has points where you should be inhaling, exhaling, and holding your breath. A yoga teacher or tutor could help you with this and they’ll guide and support you through the breathing exercises.

How Do You Achieve Perfect Alignment in Yoga?

You can achieve a state of serenity through perfect alignment. In yoga, alignment refers to how your body, mind, and spirit are aligned with one another and how the poses make this alignment possible. Thus, even if you’re not doing a yoga course, attending lessons, or going to a yoga retreat, you can still benefit from yoga through your own alignment. This is believed to be down to your chakras.

How do you improve your yoga alignment?
You need to work on your alignment to get the most out of your yoga sessions. (Source: lograstudio)

If you want to achieve perfect alignment, you can do certain asanas or poses. You can calm down and get better at yoga by practising. As you probably remember from school, practice makes perfect! As you do these poses, you’ll need to pay careful attention to your body and mind. A perfectly executed sun salutation and you’re there!

Whether it’s your first lesson or not, you should always listen carefully to what your tutor or instructor has to say as they’ll tell you how to position yourself and when and how to breathe. This can help you to become more flexible as well as battle stress. No matter which type of yoga you’re doing, you’ll need to make sure you warm up before trying these poses and working on your alignment.

Note: You can take classes on yoga near me on Superprof.

Essential Yoga Poses

Whether you’re in a yoga class, following a yoga online lesson, or doing yoga in your living room, there are a few yoga poses that every single yogi should be able to do at any given time.

What are the most common yoga poses?
There are a number of really common yoga poses. (Source: brenkee)

In fact, regardless of your physical fitness and age, there is plenty of different yoga poses that almost anyone can do. Here are a few of them:

  • Yoga Mudras, these are gestures done with your hands.
  • Sun salutation, probably the most famous yoga pose.
  • The Cobra, a useful pose that can improve your flexibility and balance.
  • The Clamp, a simple and effective pose where you touch your feet with your hands.
  • The Candle
  • Twists, which are a bit more complicated but work on your flexibility and your digestive organs.
  • The triangle, a good pose to do standing that works on your flexibility and breathing.

In short, there’s a whole heap of useful yoga poses that you can work on depending on which parts of the body are in need of attention. In addition to improving your flexibility, muscle tone, and spine, yoga poses can help you recentre, when done right. Make sure you pay particular attention to your technique so that you don’t hurt yourself.

10 Daily Yoga Meditation Exercises

With all the stress of everyday life, you’re probably wondering how 10 simple meditation exercises can really work. That said, when you concentrate correctly, you’ll be surprised at how effective they can be. These are simple and effective meditation exercises that anyone can do!

How do you meditate?
Meditation is common in yoga, too. (Source: sasint)

You can do these without too much difficulty. These aren’t really yoga exercises but rather meditation techniques that you can do on a daily basis, allowing yourself to reflect and concentrate on trivial things. Here’s a short list of meditative acts you can do every day:

  • Take five minutes for yourself before you go to bed or when you’ve just woken up: you just need to focus on your thoughts at a given time in order to improve your concentration and to relax.
  • Listen: This is very important when we’re stressed. Listen to your body, feel what it needs, think about your tension and worries and become aware of them.
  • Listen to what’s happening around you: Focus on the world outside, focus on a given point and listen and feel what’s going on.
  • Mindful eating: When you eat, pay particular attention to what you’re eating and the experience of eating as we’re made up of the food we eat. Focus on the taste, smells, colours, etc.
  • Focus your attention: This is a fundamental part of meditation. Be in the present, feel the air pass into your lungs as you breathe, and make the most of now. You can do this at any time wherever you find yourself.
  • Use your senses: In mindfulness meditation, you need to pay attention to each of your senses and what they’re feeling. Is it pleasant? What are you feeling? There are so many questions you should ask yourself about your own wellbeing.
  • Let your mind wander: This needs to be done in a controlled way. By doing the two previous steps, you’ll become aware of yourself and the world around you.
  • Sleep: Sleeping is unconscious meditation. It’s a way to process your thoughts and feelings.
  • Write: Writing is meditative as you focus on something very specific. Whatever you’re writing about, it’s meditative.
  • Focus on what you’re doing: Every second of every day is an opportunity to meditate a little. You can focus on something as simple as typing away on your keyboard. Simple but effective!

As you’ll have probably understood, everyone can do yoga. With breathing exercises, alignment, meditation, and basic poses, yoga is a diverse and accessible activity. So get your mat!

The benefits of yoga go beyond just improving your flexibility through stretching and doing an asana, they also include improving your posture, helping you have an awareness of yourself and the world around you, working breathing techniques, stress reduction, strengthening muscles, building core strength, and even the emotional benefits of meeting new people in yoga classes near me.

Whether you do hatha yoga, vinyasa yoga, Ashtanga yoga, Iyengar yoga, power yoga, or even prenatal yoga, there are plenty of different types of yoga and they all include the same benefits for your mind, body, and spirit through yoga postures, stretches, pranayama, and meditation.

If you're interested in personalised yoga lessons, you should consider getting in touch with a private yoga teacher or instructor. On Superprof, you can search for both online yoga tutors and yoga tutors who work in your local area. A lot of the tutors on the platform offer the first hour of tuition for free, allowing you to meet them, discuss your needs as a yogi, your lifestyle, and put together a plan on how to improve your life with yoga.

While one-on-one sessions will be the most effective as your instructor can focus on you, they tend to be more expensive than online sessions, which can take place over programmes such as Skype, since the tutors have fewer expenses.

Additionally, you could always get a few friends together and do a class in a small group. A lot of tutors will offer a reduction per student which means everyone pays less but the tutor earns more.

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Joseph is a French and Spanish to English translator, language enthusiast, and blogger.