How to Start a Yoga Practice
I wanted to use my first blog post to start at the very beginning. Now I know that most of you on this site probably have done yoga before. This is a great post to read through to remember where you started (and how far you’ve come!) AND it’s going to be a great one to direct your friends who say “I should really try yoga” to take a look.
I know how hard it is to walk into your first yoga class, not knowing what to expect. As a teacher, I appreciate so much when someone walks up to me before their first class and lets me know any concerns that they may have. I can typically sense their hesitation, asking themselves if they really knew what they were getting themselves into in the first place.
If you are looking to begin a yoga practice, there are a few different ways you can start.
There are videos all over the internet. Don’t let the crazy videos with people in headstands, staying in the position for 10 minutes, seeming as though they are totally content and in bliss scare you—this represents a small portion of people who do yoga. I think it’s great if you’ve been practicing for a long time and this is where your practice has led, but it is so intimidating to so many people that I would rather those images be kept out of beginners minds for now. If you are searching the internet, look for something that uses the words “beginner yoga” or even “gentle yoga” (if you are looking for something more vigorous, maybe don’t type in gentle yoga). You can check out our Online Yoga Studio that features videos ranging from under 10 minutes to an hour and everything in between, with a great selection of gentle videos to help you get started. We also offer live question and answer sessions so that you can feel secure in the comfort of your own home knowing that you have a teacher to talk to with concerns and questions.
If you belong to a gym, that is a great place to try yoga too. There are MANY styles of yoga out there, so check out the descriptions of the classes first and if you have friends who have tried them, feel free to ask them their thoughts too. I recommend getting to class a bit early (at least 10 minutes) your first time so you have a minute to introduce yourself to the teacher and ask about any concerns or questions that you may have. A great question to ask would be if this particular class is appropriate for beginners. The teacher can also let you know any equipment you may need and where it’s located, like a yoga mat, block (these are great for when you are reaching towards the ground so you have somewhere to put your hands), etc. Many gyms provide these for you.
You can also check out a yoga studio. My recommendations would be similar to a gym (get there early, check out the class description, introduce yourself to the teacher before you start to get any questions answered). Oftentimes many people coming to studios are past the beginner or first time stage, so I would really check in the class description to see if it says it is appropriate for a beginner or call the studio to find out.
I get lots of people telling me things during their first class that shouldn’t be of much concern, so let me ease your mind before you talk yourself out of this.
Almost everyone tells me that they aren’t flexible…which is truly a great reason to come to yoga! You don’t need to be flexible while you are starting. Notice where you are today, and as you are coming for weeks and months, notice how far you have come. Many people mention injuries or health concerns (which are good to mention to your teacher to learn about modifications to certain poses), but remember if you have health concerns to talk to your doctor first. Most instructors can modify many of the poses to fit your body today. But we are not trained medical professionals, so if you have an ongoing problem or are looking for a diagnoses, be sure to talk to your doctor. There is a page on this website called “Can I Do Yoga” under the tab “Beginners Start Here” with some more information and reasons I hear from those who are nervous their first time.
Also, check out the “Beginner Poses” under the same “Beginners Start Here” tab to get a little preview of what you may see in your first class :) The instructor will call out a pose and you will already know what it is.
I hope this gives you an idea of where to start! In the coming weeks, I’ll have more information and videos to guide you into this new world of yoga. Enjoy the journey! And come back soon!