It’s the beginning of a brand-new year (thank goodness!), and many people are thinking about making positive changes. If you’ve made resolutions about your eating, sleeping, and exercise habits, good for you! It’s never a bad time to reflect on how you can take better care of yourself. And this year, while you’re making a commitment to improve your physical and mental health, save some of your time and energy for your spiritual wellness, too. I’ll explain more about what spiritual wellness is and how adopting simple new habits, like practicing yoga for beginners, can help you to improve yours.
- What is Spiritual Wellness?
- Yoga for Beginners on YouTube and Beyond
- How to Meditate, Practice Self-Reflection, and Think Positively
- Embrace the Beginner: Yoga and Spiritual Wellness
What is Spiritual Wellness?
You may not be as familiar with the concept of spiritual health as you are with more common wellness topics, like nutrition and fitness. If you haven’t been to a house of worship in years, don’t panic: I’m not here to scold you for it. Spiritual wellness is unique to each individual, and while it can involve organized religion, it absolutely does not have to. Spiritual wellness simply means feeling connected both to your inner self and to something bigger than yourself. For example, when you volunteer in your community and feel a powerful connection with complete strangers, that’s part of your spirituality. Any time you search for a deep meaning in the events of your life, you’re getting in touch with your spiritual side.
For some people, spiritual health involves going to religious services on a regular basis. That’s one great way to feel connected to a higher purpose, but there are many others. Learning to quiet your mind, center yourself, and stay in the moment can help you to improve your spiritual wellness and feel happier and more balanced. One proven way to achieve that peaceful state is the practice of yoga. Don’t worry, you don’t have to be a super-flexible master yogi to take advantage of the benefits. Let’s check out some yoga poses for beginners that can help you to achieve a more mindful state.
Yoga for Beginners on YouTube and Beyond
The benefits of yoga are numerous—and amazing! You’ll increase your strength and flexibility and stave off stress, anxiety, and depression. And getting started can be as simple as trying a few gentle poses in the comfort of your own home. All you need to start are comfy clothes that will stretch with you, a quiet space free from interruptions, and a good yoga mat. (I like and recommend the B Yoga B Mat Strong, especially if you’re on the taller side.)
A beginner yoga routine should focus on deep, regulated breathing, gentle stretching, and mindfulness. If this is your first time practicing, steer clear of more intense forms like Bikram (hot) yoga until you’ve gotten the hang of things. Here are some great resources for beginning your yoga practice:
Easy Poses for Mental Health
Check out Dr. Celeste Holder’s series of beginner poses for mental health, with a series of gentle yoga poses like the easy pose and butterfly pose. These are appropriate for beginners to yoga practice. Because you’re not twisting yourself into a position requiring great flexibility, you can focus on breathing deeply and quieting your mind. You can try all the poses listed or choose a few that really get you in the zone.
Vinyasa Flow Routine
Do you want something with a little more movement? Corey Lewis has a great beginner vinyasa flow sequence you can do at home. In vinyasa yoga, you use your breath to move seamlessly (flow) from one pose to the next. It’s an athletic practice that’s still gentle and beginner-friendly.
Pranayama is the practice of breath control in yoga. You can isolate the breathing exercises from the poses when you’re first starting out. Later, when you’ve developed the mindset and muscle memory for good breathing, you can incorporate pranayama yoga techniques into your full routine of poses.
Yoga for Strength, Stretching, and Relaxation
SarahBethYoga has a great YouTube channel for yoga practitioners from beginners to advanced. She has dozens of customized routines, from simple stretches to challenging power yoga and prenatal routines. Her warm and genuine personality makes the routines accessible and appealing, even if you’re a bit intimidated at first.
How to Meditate, Practice Self-Reflection, and Think Positively
One of the wonderful things about yoga is that you can enjoy its benefits even when you aren’t in the middle of your regular practice. You don’t have to be on your mat, for example, to engage in simple breathing techniques to lower your stress level and blood pressure. Here are a few other ways to practice your peaceful mindset:
Practice mindfulness-based stress reduction. Like in your yoga practice, your goal here is to achieve a similar state of calmness and peace. It’s something you can do while listening to music, eating a meal, or simply sitting on your couch or bed. You can think of meditation as yoga that’s just for your brain.
Start a journal or diary. You might consider starting a yoga journal and recording your experience with your daily practice. Or you might benefit from gratitude journaling, which can help you to focus on the blessings in your life and see the cup as half-full. If you benefit from both kinds of writing, you might even combine them in a way that speaks to you.
Tap into what gives you a positive mindset: volunteering your time, being with friends, spending time on a favorite hobby. Make time in your schedule for that activity on a regular basis, even if it’s just for a few minutes at a time. Thinking positively can help you to reduce stress and improve your mental health.
Beginners for Yoga and Spiritual Wellness
It’s not always easy to feel like you’re in a good place spiritually, especially in such stressful times. When you feel like you’re not living your best life, it’s time to reconnect to your inner self and your connection to something bigger than yourself. Take the time to clear your mind, whether it’s through yoga exercises, meditation, journaling, or something that works for you. You can begin today. You don’t have to be perfect at whatever you choose—just jump in and make progress toward your inner peace.
Feeling that sense of purpose, gratitude, and belonging can help you to be the best version of yourself. It can lead you to a greater state of happiness and fulfillment and improve your relationships with others.
Is there something that helps you to connect to your spiritual side? Let me know in the comments!