Yoga, meditation and breathing for stiff beginner?


#1

Hello

My name is Matthias and this is my first post on this forum.

Maybe it’s best if I start this thread with sharing what I want to achieve with my yoga and meditation.
First of all I want to get rid off, or at least calm, my anxiety. That’s my main goal.
The second goal is to get a healthy and flexible body (I’m extremly stiff). No need to be super strong and ripped.
I understand both of these goals are not easy achieved, especially as I’m kind of the opposite today.

Moving on, I’m a beginner yogis, have been doing yoga on my gym for about a year, on and off.
I really have been struggeling as I’m VERY stiff and have a hard time doing all the postures correctly. I’ve been thinking that I just have to be consistent and things will turn out alright.
As my lack of flexibility makes me kind of modify all the poses so that I can do them, maybe I don’t stretch the right muscles.
So I was thinking, does yoga really have to be the traditional yoga postures? Can’t I just do regular strechtes and apply all the other aspects (breathing etc) of yoga to that?

Another thing I really wonder is about the breathing. How should I breath? I read different opinions everywhere. Should I breath in one way when I do yoga, one way when I meditate, one way in everyday life?

I know this is some extensive questions, so I’m glad with any help I can get.

Best Regards
Matthias


#2

Welcome.

Two yoga students, three opinions. Rule one is “who do you listen to”.

Benefits comes from sound, disciplined, continued practice.
Relative to stiffness in the physical body it follows the thoughts, actions, and nutrition it is given. If you sit in a chair for 8 hours a day and expect to keep that damage at bay with some occasional stretching you are self-deceived. The behaviors need to be altered and the asana needs to be adhered to.

Asana, at least within the alignment-based practice I study, teach, and practice within has been highly refined. Poses individual has physiology and psychology. They also have a cumulative effect when they are properly sequenced - a negative one when they are not.

To many cooks spoil the stew. Find a sound teacher and follow along, balancing both discernment and trust. To take in ingredients from too many sources can only muddy the waters. How one breathes in daily life, how one breaths during practice, and what one might do WITH the breath during pranayama … these are different things.

Learn how to open the home of the breath, learn how to maintain a smooth breath when practicing, and learn one or two gentle pranayama, then practice them for the first ten years or so before moving on.


#3

Okey, thank you for the answer.