Professional yogis can make anyone jealous. Just spend the day looking at pictures of people doing yoga poses and you’ll be wishing you could bend your body that way. Eventually, after looking at enough pictures you’ll want to try it out for yourself. Congrats on taking your first steps towards becoming a yogi. Here are 16 yoga tips for beginners:
Take a beginner’s class – While not all fitness classes require a beginner’s class, yoga is one of the few exceptions. At the bare minimum you’ll want to follow along to a YouTube video at home before venturing off to your first in-person class. You’ll want to understand the basic poses and culture of yoga class before you head off to one. By following along to an at-home video, you’ll save yourself the embarrassment from wearing the wrong type of clothes like I did. Keep in mind that a beginner’s class for yoga is usually shorter as well. Yoga classes often run for about 90 minutes which can seem never-ending to someone learning a new workout. Once you’ve followed along to a few online videos or taking a shorter class, you’ll learn to feel more comfortable with the full-length 90 minute yoga session.
Dress appropriately –Dressing for yoga isn’t like dressing for a regular fitness class. You’ll want to make sure that you wear yoga pants or non-loose shorts. Sometimes when a person hasn’t been to a yoga class before, they wear loose pants which show their panties. Make sure that you can bend in your yoga pants without showing any bum. As for tank tops, you’ll want something you can move around in but that also allows you to bend and turn in poses that won’t reveal too much skin. Keep in mind that running shoes aren’t generally allowed in a yoga studio. You can choose to go barefoot or you can wear yoga socks.
Arrive early – When it comes to going to yoga class be sure to arrive early. Yoga classes fill up pretty quickly and you’ll want to secure a spot front and center. Going to class early also allows you to introduce yourself to the teacher and let him or her know you’re a beginner. This helps the teacher pay attention to you to ensure that you don’t injure yourself during his or her class. Your teacher may also be able to provide some insight for you on how your first class will be
Don’t compare yourself to others – We’re all guilty of this when we try something new for the first time. When you start seeing people doing postures, you’ll wonder why your body can’t move a certain way. If you start feeling pain, stop. Do poses to the best of your ability. Rememer: you don’t know who the experts in the room are. When you’re a beginner, someone can seem to be the most experienced or best person in the room but as a beginner you can’t tell as well as someone who’s experienced can. With time, you’ll recognize who’s putting on a show and who’s an advanced yogi. Pay attention to your teacher. Ask for help or modifications when needed. Do the best that your body can do today, not tomorrow.
Remember to breathe – Breathing is a huge part of meditation and yoga. You’ll start each class breathing mindfully. However, once you start moving into postures you might find yourself holding your breath unless the teacher tells you to breathe. Throughout each posture, you’ll want to breath mindfully, even if you aren’t specifically told to during class.
Stay focused – Sometimes when we have a lot of our plates or a busy day ahead, we continuously look at the clock. During yoga, you might find yourself distracted by what you need to do that day. You might be thinking about what you’ll make for dinner or a presentation you have at the office in a couple of hours. Your only responsibility during yoga is to focus on your breathing while doing postures. Allow yourself some mental clarity. Once the class is over, you’ll be better able to make decisions.
Practice makes perfect – The more you do something, the better you get at it. Daily practice goes a long way pretty quickly. You might be embarrassed at how inflexible you are during your first yoga class. Don’t stress about it. No one in the class was paying attention to you they were all focused on doing their best. Keep coming back to class. Keep learning. Keep pushing yourself. And you will... keep getting better.
Try different classes – No two yoga classes are alike. There are different types of yoga and different types of instructors. If you don’t love your first class, you can try another class with a different instructor or even a different studio. Think of it like dating, not everyone’s first partner is their soul mate. There may be a yoga style that suits you better. There may also be a teacher who challenges you in a way that you appreciate. Shop around. Luckily, most studios have trial periods that allow you to test out their studio before paying – take advantage of that!
Don’t leave early – As soon as savasana starts, people start trickling out. First off, it’s rude and disrespectful to your teacher to just walk out of his or her class before it finishes. Second, you’re kind of missing the most important part of yoga class. To a beginner, it may seem like you’re just lying down relaxing. Yet, an expert knows that it’s one of the hardest parts of the class. It’s not the pose that’s the challenge, it’s staying relaxed without a wandering mind that’s the hard part.
Bring a positive attitude –When starting a yoga class, you’ll want to make sure you bring your positive attitude. You’re going to need it while trying to do certain poses. You’ll need it when you find yourself struggling to bend your body a certain way. You’ll need it in your interactions with others. Yoga is a place to let go of the negativity draining you. It’s a chance to clean your mind with new thoughts.
Make modifications—As a beginner, you likely won’t be able to do postures in the same way as everyone else. It’s okay though because you can make modifications as you go along. If your teacher tries to force you into a certain position, you can politely say no, as you’re more likely to get injured. If you have to bend your knees to be able to touch the floor, then bend your knees.
Take breaks –When you’re struggling to keep up or becoming exhausted with a pose, don’t be afraid to take breaks. The go-to break position is child’s pose. Whenever you need to just do your own thing separate from the class do it. Don’t worry about others as they’re busy focusing on their postures. They’re not judging you.
Drink water—Some suggest not drinking water during a yoga class but sometimes you have to. For example, try telling someone not to drink water while they’re in hot yoga. It’s hot. It’s hard work. You need water. Having a bottle at hand in case you find yourself getting dehydrated is totally cool.
Ask your friends if anyone does yoga –If you’re new to yoga, feel free to post on your social media asking if any of your friends currently practices yoga. This will give you better insight from people you trust. You might even become better friends with that person and the two of you can go to classes together. Another benefit is that you can get insight into which studios are good and which teachers are the best.
Bring your own yoga mat – While yoga studios often have mats, it’s preferred if you bring your own. Yoga mats don’t get cleaned very well, sometimes not at all, depending on who uses it. Thus, someone who is sick might have used a yoga mat which eventually spreads germs. Bringing your own yoga mat to the studio is a great way to stay sanitary.
Keep your poses within boundary of mat – When practicing yoga, keep all of your limbs within the boundaries of the mat. Nobody wants to be accidentally kicked in the face while you’re practicing. You also don’t want people doing it back to you. Respect your space. The classes are tight enough as it is.
Do you remember your first time in a yoga class? Share your yoga tips for beginners.