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How to practice yoga: 4 key tips

January 19, 2012
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Don’t be scared off yoga by the fear of injury, says Justine Wiltshire, director of Down Under Yoga, in Newton. Just remember the following rules when you’re getting started:

Find your level: “The only thing you need to do as a beginner,’’ Wiltshire advises, “is act like a beginner. You are not meant to know everything - in fact, you’ll always be a student. The joy is in the journey.’’

Discover your style: The Iyengar method teaches one pose at a time with detailed instructions on alignment. Flow or Vinyasa means a continuous sequence of movements where one pose “flows’’ into another. Heated Flow/Power Yoga is Vinyasa practiced in a warm, humid room. “It’s great for those who have really learned the alignment of the poses and understand how to protect themselves,’’ she said.

Find a teacher: “You are looking for someone whose language, way of describing the body, sense of humor, manner, and style resonates with you and who you sense is genuinely knowledgeable and caring,’’ Wiltshire said. “You should walk out of class feeling lighter, calmer, more open, more awake, and definitely content.’’

Listen to your body: “It sounds cheesy but it is the essence of the practice,’’ Wiltshire said. “It is not about fancy clothes or mastering your body or chasing beautiful shapes. It’s about learning to listen and the quality of your attention inside that beautiful shape. What appears to be a physical practice is ultimately a practice about training your mind.’’

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