Establishing a habit of yoga practice is not difficult, but you might be wondering: what is the best way to start? If your life is hectic, if you travel a lot, or if you have an unpredictable schedule – you might think that now is just not the time. However, online yoga training for beginners might solve your problem. Even if you are advanced, a new online community or instructor might enliven and reinvigorate your practice.
Basics of Yoga
Originally, yoga is a significant part of the Hindu religion; it is a special interaction of physical, mental, and spiritual elements. However, in today’s time, in the modern Western world, yoga is used as a form of exercise for holistic healing. Rather than just pushing endurance, yoga is touted for its capacity to nurture the whole person. Psychologically, something about it promotes reinvigoration, relaxation, and discipline. Physically, it somehow manages to promote tremendous endurance, strength, and flexibility – all the while having the potential to heal injury from previous improper exertion.
The yoga practiced in the West is usually a modified form of Hatha Yoga – yoga that emphasizes the physical. In effect, the West has borrowed the physical aspect of yoga, but inevitably the spiritual and mental elements have come along to some extent. Hatha yoga involves a series of asanas, or poses, and Yoga always involves some emphasis on breathing. Aside from these basic elements, yoga practice can vary with the type of yoga. Also, one can vary one’s practice to suit the physical abilities one wishes to promote – strength, flexibility, endurance, power, and/or relaxation. (Don’t underestimate relaxation yoga practice. It helps in all of the other areas, and many times, it still involves challenging poses.) Many Western yoga programs are specifically curated to exercise one of these areas.
More advanced yogis (people who practice yoga) might move on to special types of yoga, such as Ashtanga Vinyasa, Iyengar, Bhakti, Gyan, and more. In fact, however, many modern yoga programs borrow approaches from multiple forms of yoga.
The equipment you need depends on the type of yoga you are doing. However, in general, modern yogis benefit most of all from a PVC or polyurethane yoga mat. (However, there are mats made of more natural materials available.) A special yoga mat might seem to be a luxury, but in fact, it does help you establish a comfortable grip with your hands and feet, which makes a world of difference in how you get into poses, and even which poses you can do. Many yogis also like to have a yoga block; while the block is necessary for some asanas (poses), the block also helps the less-advanced, exhausted, injured, or inflexible get the benefit of yoga poses that might otherwise be undoable. Modern yoga blocks have a cork-like consistency: they are hard but lightweight. Some yoga practices involve other supportive props, such as bolsters, blankets, pillows, or walls. Fortunately, most people can easily find such props in their homes. Both mats and blocks are inexpensive (under $50 altogether), so most people should find yoga to a very affordable activity. Online yoga training is an inexpensive and time-efficient way to try different teachers, approaches, and yoga types.
Holistic Lifestyle Improvement
There are so many magazines, websites, advertisements, and other persuasive media that promise easy weight-loss, a sure path to prosperity, mind-blowing romance, and more. If you are thirty or over, you have probably grown a bit tired and cynical about these sorts of claims. However, holistic life improvement is possible – especially if you find a program, pace, and community that works with your personality and your goals.
Mindvalley is the perfect online hub for those who seek personal, holistic life improvement. The site automatically makes you a member of a community of vibrant, ambitious people who seek self-improvement as a way of life. Unlike other online learning sites, Mindvalley is more about being invigorated and encouraged by engaging community members and inspiring teachers than following a learning regimen. The site offers inspiration, insight, and education in five main categories: career and influence; lifestyle and productivity; mind and spirit; health and fitness; and love and relationships.
Mindvalley courses are referred to as quests – a title that gives you an idea of the site’s spirit and unique approach. On the employment page of the site, there is the statement, “We don’t do normal.” This really describes the spirit of Mindvalley. If you are generally disappointed or bored by other forms of online education, Mindvalley might be just what you have been looking for. The approach is different: there is more emphasis on values, meta-skills, and micro-learning. (Meta-skills are broad-level strengths that can enhance one’s capability in an endless number of more specific skills. Micro-learning involves condensed lessons that are taught in such a way as to quickly give the learner the most relevant skills so that he/she can instantly apply these skills, rather than the traditional conceptual approach with lessons, units, and testing.)
The site does offer quests (courses) on its app, which is suitable for smartphone or tablet, and online on a computer. Course transcripts can be downloaded for offline use, if needed. The app and site are uplifting and easy to use – you only need 20 minutes per day to make progress. Mindvalley also offers events in various locales and a “rotating university campus” that establishes itself in a new city each summer. You can see talks from these events on YouTube and there is more free content on the Mindvalley website, podcasts, Instagram, and Facebook. A paid subscription gives you Mindvalley Tribe Membership, which gives you full access to mini-courses and quests; you also get free passes to some live events, too.
Mindvalley has content that is suitable for all ages and levels; the site and its community are passionately global. The site is a great place to meet and work with other people all over the world who have similar goals and interests. Mindvalley is growing its presence in schools, and it has been purchased by organizations and corporations who wish to foster improvement of the whole self in employees. You can even give a Mindvalley subscription as a gift.
Yoga is a great physical activity to promote general improvement in all areas of life. It is truly a holistic exercise. Accordingly, Mindvalley is a great place to look for online yoga training for people of all experience levels. Look especially at Mindvalley’s affiliate Zenward. Zenward was founded by Cecilia Sardeo and Vishen Lakhiani of Mindvalley. Acting on her desire for a community of encouraging yogis, Sardeo started the Zenward concept in her Mindvalley office, and the site stays true to its origins: like the rest of Mindvalley, it is community-based. Users also can communicate with one another easily, and they can even upload their own yoga-related videos.
If you are looking for online yoga training for beginners, you will appreciate the site’s 7-day foundation curriculum. After you have taken the basics, you can use the site to build your own curriculum. Zenward hosts excellent teachers, who are also bloggers, writers, podcasters, and influencers in the field of yoga. It is not just a matter of experience level; you can find a yoga instructor who fits your personality, or just gives you a different perspective on yoga. Also, each of the affiliated yoga instructors emphasizes different types of yoga. Therefore, this would be an excellent program for someone who is interested in rising to the ranks of yoga instructor – you can really be on the pulse of what other people find especially challenging about each type of yoga and what about each type of yoga truly helps them, too. You can use Zenward as an opportunity to learn new yoga approaches and to find your own ideal yoga blend.
Part of what draws people to yoga is the spiritual, full-life transformation aspect of it. Zenward’s connection to Mindvalley fulfills this objective. It follows Mindvalley’s emphasis on community and inspiration. You still have to work hard, but Mindvalley and Zenward cut out the sense of tedium and purposelessness that can happen with other learning programs and platforms.
Why Working on the Whole Self Is Important
The traditional Western approach is to divide life into segments: there is the spiritual, the career, the family, and maybe – time and energy permitting – the individual. The Western approach is hard-hitting and ambitious; there is a lot of good in all of this. However, many in the West find that something is missing. At some point, we realize that we have to take care of ourselves in order to be there for others and to keep functioning effectively. The Western approach to me-time is to sit on the couch, veg out, and possibly eat some junk food. Again, this complete state of letting go and relaxing is not all bad. However, there is an emptiness about it: Would it not be better to do something restorative, rather than something damaging but self-indulgent? Yoga and other holistic approaches can guide you into fulfilling and inspiring me-time activities that will help you work and feel better in all you do.