Editors note: This is part III of a 4-part weekly series on yoga providing you with information on the benefits of yoga and provide you with practices that you can start in your home.
Starting a Yoga Practice
If you have never tried yoga before, it can feel intimidating to see people in handstands in pictures on social media and find the courage to then go to a class. Remember, everyone had to start somewhere, and there is a lot more to a yoga practice than a handstand.
As recommended in our first article, it is recommended that you start off by finding a local studio to begin your practice. Teachers have been certified in yoga, have gone through training programs, and are there to support you to master alignment and learn the flow of the class. Again, try a few different styles of yoga with a few different teachers, and learn what feels best to you. There are many great books and online resources nowadays, however there is no substitute to learning directly from a teacher.
Some tips for your first yoga class:
- You will want to wear loose, comfortable clothing.
- While most studios have mats that you can either rent or use, you may want to check ahead of time, and bring a mat with you if possible.
- You may be using other props that the studio has during class to maximize your practice- this could be a block, yoga strap, bolster, and yoga blanket.
- When you lay out your mat, you will want to give yourself some space in between the people next to you.
- Oftentimes when you arrive to class you may notice that other students will be sitting on their mats or stretching before class starts.
- In a typical class, you will start off with a form of a ritual, and this ritual may look different depending on the teacher. Examples of this can be: chanting, breathing exercise, meditation, or setting an intention.
- The class will then move into warm up poses, more vigorous poses, some deeper stretches, and final relaxation. In any class you can always go into child’s pose if you need to rest.
- After your first class, you may be a little sore.
It is typical to feel in the first class like you are a little behind, as you are learning the poses and postures, how they feel in your body, and that is to be expected. It can feel awkward and uncomfortable, and the one of the benefits of yoga is learning how to stay when there is discomfort and breathe into it. So if you begin to feel anxious or nervous at all, try to invite a deep breath in and out a few times and remind yourself that everyone in that room was or is a beginner at some point. Yoga has a beautiful community where people from all walks of life, ages, races, genders, and backgrounds come to invite in greater peace, relaxation, and health. You will find a space who generally are positive, open-minded, and non-judgmental and who will cheerlead you on as you grow and challenge yourself!