Yoga is quickly gaining popularity and there is so much information out there that it can easily make one feel intimidated. Some questions might arise, such as: What do I need? What type of yoga is right for me? How do I prepare for attending a class? There could also be concerns, like : I’m too nervous to go to a yoga class. Or, I’m not flexible enough to do yoga. This article is here to break down some of those questions and hopefully provide a guiding light for anyone new the practice.
First, let’s talk about what is needed to get started. The amazing thing about yoga is you really only need your body, although it is helpful to have a few other tools. The first thing to get would be a yoga mat, especially if you plan on practicing on a regular basis. Mats come in a variety of colors, styles, and prices. There are more expensive brands like Manduka, Jade, or LuLulemon with prices between $17-70. However, more generic mats can be found at places like WalMart or TJ Maxx for well under $15, and those mats can work just as well as their expensive counterparts. No mat at first? Don’t worry, most studios have mats for students to borrow. Other helpful tools are yoga blocks and straps. These aren’t always needed, and will also be available at a studio for students. One other thing I suggest getting is proper yoga clothes. These don’t have to be the latest and most fashionable yoga leggings from high end stores, but items that have a more snug fit are better so they don’t get in the way while moving around.
There are many types of yoga, just like there are many types of people. Every body is different and there is something out there for everyone. A couple of the most popular types of yoga are Hatha and Vinyasa. In a Hatha class, movement is usually slower and poses are held longer, which creates a pretty relaxing experience. On the other hand, a Vinyasa class is usually quicker and has more of a “flow” between the poses. There are plenty of more styles out there, the best thing to do is just try different ones until you find something that really connects with you.
Ok, so I keep mentioning studios and attending classes. To many (including myself when I first started) this was the scariest part. If you really don’t want to go to a class, there are many great online resources, some of which are free. However, just like any other exercise, there is a chance for injury to occur. Which is why I highly suggest going to a studio with a teacher who is certified and can teach you yoga in the best way for your body. The best thing about yoga is that it doesn’t discriminate. If you are working with an old injury, there are modifications that can be made in any pose to help. If you think you aren’t flexible enough, well, that’s why you do yoga! It can be really easy to get nervous in a class, I know I have many times before (and still do!), but yoga can be a very internal experience. Other students around you are going to be so focused on what they’re doing, they won’t even notice you. And if you end up in a place that doesn’t make you feel welcome and safe at all times, try something different. Like I mentioned earlier, there is something out there for everyone.
If you decide to practice yoga, whether at home or at a studio, make sure to drink lots of water, try not to eat a heavy meal right right before you practice, and leave your shoes and socks off the mat. At a class, introduce yourself to the teacher and let them know you’re new. That will only help them to give you better instruction!
A yoga practice can bring a lot of positive and enriching things to your life. Not only is it good exercise, but it’s good for your soul. Yoga can heal physical as well as emotional injuries and provide balance to help the mind deal with life when it gets a little hectic. As every day is different, so is every time you practice. If you want an intense core workout that day, that’s yoga. If all you want to do is sit quietly in a restorative pose, that’s yoga too. So give it a try, there’s yoga for everyone out there!