Out of all the qualities required to do yoga, I think the ones that beginners could first aim to focus on are both Balance and Alignment.
Other qualities, such as strength or flexibility, do not come quickly but after a period of constant and regular practice.
Some of the yoga postures do look easy, however, doing them properly is actually quite hard. Do not underestimate yourself for not being able to bend your back or hold your body weight on your arms, this comes only after time and repetitions.
Instead, get the basics right – focus on being aligned and balanced.
Yoga is basically a mix of imaginary lines and curves. This simplicity is part of its beauty. It is easy to know how a posture should look, but hard to achieve it sometimes, hence the challenge.
Warrior one and two are a good examples when it comes to alignment. Again, it is all about lines: your arms and the thigh of the flexed leg should be parallel to the floor. In contrast, your back and your calves should be perpendicular to the floor, with your knee bent and your leg following a clean 90 degrees curve (Great work for your hamstring here!!)
Aiming to keep your hips squared and your chest open is another little trick to keep in mind for warrior one and three. Just by remembering to lower your shoulders and extend your neck, your posture will change dramatically. Likewise, it is very easy to twist your hips slightly when moving the legs up or down. Focus on keeping your hips and pelvis straight and facing to the front.
Yoga is full of balancing asanas and those not only exercise our body, but also our mind. Yoga teachers say that yoga is a form of moving mediation, and I can only agree to this.
Without getting into proper inversions, balancing on one leg is something very common in yoga asanas for beginners. This means that students need to learn to focus and empty their minds of distractions if they don’t want to end up in the floor.
The best tip here is to look at a fixed point and focus only on your body movements. Go slowly and don’t aim for posture perfection if it doesn’t feel stable – that lifted leg will rise higher eventually with practice, but mastering your balance comes first.
The combination of balance plus alignment will leave little space in your brain to think about anything else, which is why the benefits of doing yoga are the same as those of meditating – emptying your mind from thoughts and worries and focusing on the present moment, your beautiful asanas.