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I've been doing yoga daily for a year — here's everything I wish I'd known when I started

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Yoga has so many passionate devotees, and so many different types (Hatha? Bikram? Vinyasa?), that it can seem intimidating to true beginners. But if you've ever walked by a yoga class and decided that dark magic ruled all that happened there, do not fear: Yoga is actually harmless.

Not only that, it can be really good for you. And it's actually quite easy to get started.

I'm not talking about the crazy advanced poses where by some stroke of luck — or a spell — the teacher hovers on one limb while the rest of her body curves lithely into some seemingly impossible shape. No, the yoga I'm advocating is the kind practically anyone can do, provided they know a few basics.

Ready to clear your mind and get your heart pumping? Read on.



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I currently practice yoga about six days a week and I do a mix of everything from "open" to "power" classes. When I started, I only practiced about once a week — if that — and I steered clear of anything with the words "advanced" or "power" anywhere near the title.



I love yoga because it quiets my mind, makes me feel strong, and challenges me to do things I'd never thought physically possible. The science backs me up here: Dozens of studies have linked a regular yoga practice to stronger, more flexible muscles, a healthier heart and, in people with depression and anxiety, a decrease in negative symptoms.

Sources: Harvard Medical School; Journal of the American Psychiatric Nurses Association 2016; Rhode Island Medical Journal 2013; Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice 2016



To start, I'd recommend looking for classes with the words "vinyasa" or "flow" in the name — if you want a workout, that is. If you're more interested in learning the standard poses, Hatha or Bikram (a type of yoga which involves heating the studio to the point where you sweat so much, towels are required to participate) will suffice.



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