How do I begin practicing yoga?
Did your doctor say that yoga was good for your aching back?
Are you looking for an ‘easy’ form of exercise?
Is your friend telling you that yoga is life-changing, and you absolutely MUST try it?
There are many reasons to begin practicing yoga, and we strongly believe that whatever yours is, it’s as good as any. The next step on your journey is stepping onto the yoga mat, and truthfully, this first step will be the hardest.
Take a look at some of our top tips to ease you into your new practice.
1. Read up on different yoga styles
Yoga is an umbrella term for many different styles of yoga. A few of the most popular include:
If you’re already overwhelmed, don’t be. This is your opportunity to find a practice that suits you best. Do a Google search, enter the YouTube wormhole, talk to friends, and see if anything piques your interest.
The huge range of options means that if you don’t like one style, you can easily try another. Most importantly, don’t stop your yoga practice because of one bad experience.
2. Go to a few studios
Most people in the world have at least one, if not several, yoga studios within walking distance from their house. In other words, if you don’t like the look (or smell) of one, there’s probably another just around the corner.
With many studios offering free or discounted classes, or now, during the pandemic, online classes, you have the opportunity to look around and taste test the studios until you find the one that feels like home.
You may also connect better with some teachers than others, so take a few moments and read up on who’s teaching at your local studio.
3. Learn the basic postures
If chaturanga sounds like a disease to you, then looking up the basic postures and sequences performed in your chosen style of yoga may be a good idea.
Other than decreasing the shock of being expected to do dogs, pigeons, and cows on your yoga mat, being familiar with the practice will help you feel more confident in your first class. You will also benefit more from your class as you won’t spend as much of it looking around.
4. Take a beginner’s course
Many studios offer a beginner’s course for newcomers. This is an excellent way for you to study the practice at a slower pace and also get more attention from the teacher.
Developing good habits in yoga is essential to having a successful practice, from which you can reap the most benefits. This is why going to a yoga class in person is always recommended over starting to practice with YouTube videos.
5. Do a yoga teacher training course
Didn’t expect that one on the list, did you? Beginners should take a yoga teacher training course because it is the fastest and safest way for them to develop a yoga practice.
We all know that attempting to do a push up every day will be more beneficial than trying to do it once a week. It works the same with yoga. You will be able to form muscle memory quickly and learn the correct techniques for postures. Before you know it, you will have a yoga practice that is committed to memory in as little as a month.
So, are you ready to take your first yoga class? Here are some tips to make sure that it’s a success:
- Don’t eat a heavy meal beforehand. A full belly can make yoga difficult and downright uncomfortable. Try not to eat for about 2 hours before your class. Unless you’re doing some form of hot yoga, it is usually a good idea to not overhydrate either.
- It’s not a fashion competition. No, you don’t need the latest yoga pants or to fit into short shorts to practice yoga. A t-shirt and pants in which you can move around freely are the only dress code that you should follow.
- Don’t go during peak hours. If you can, find a class that has fewer students. This will allow the teacher to give you more attention and also be less intimidating. Usually, the early mornings and ‘after-work’ evening classes are the busiest.
- Arrive early. Make sure you give yourself enough time to change clothes, talk to the receptionist, and fill out any ‘new student’ forms that the studio may have. You can also use this time to acclimate to your new yogi environment and maybe even make a friend.
- Tell your teacher it’s your first class. Teachers need to know if there are any new students in their class. This helps them to better understand the level of the students they are teaching and to look out for the newbies.
- Leave your expectations at the door. This includes expectations of yourself, the teacher, the practice, and other students. The more open-minded you enter the classroom, the better your experience will be.
- Commit to another class. Before you even set foot on your mat, commit to doing another class. Whether it be at the same studio or another one, sign up for your next class. This way, regardless if you have a good or bad experience, you know that your yoga practice will continue.
- Stay in the middle. On a more practical note, try to find a spot in the middle of the class. This will allow you to peek over at other students when you forget what a cat and what a cow mean in yoga, and also not get lost in the back of the classroom.
Your yoga journey has begun!
Beautiful journeys begin with an idea, are followed by an intention, and are completed with the first step. You are two-thirds of the way through already if you are reading this article. So what are you waiting for? Get on that yoga mat!