Every few months I feel drawn to yoga. I’ve yet to be successful at practicing but perhaps like weight loss, one day it will stick! Yoga is one of those activities that I think can be intimidating to try for the first time – so many things to know! However, there are many talanted and gifted instructors out there who are more than happy to share the yoga love. As I was cleaning out my inbox I came across this guest post on yoga for beginners and I thought it was perfet to share with you!
If you’re considering yoga but aren’t sure where to start, try these tips for planning your first class (and saving a little money in the process).
1. Research Studios & Classes
Learn about the opportunities for yoga in your area. In addition to studios, check out gyms, wellness centers and community recreational facilities for classes. Even if your town doesn’t have a designated yoga studio, your local fitness club or rec center likely offers a class or two.
2. Get Free or Discounted Newbie Passes
Most yoga studios offer a free introductory yoga class, week of classes or deeply-discounted rates so you can test their facility and instructors. Take advantage of this by visiting as many studios in your area as possible for free or cheap. It’s a great way to learn about the different styles and teachers without busting your budget!
3. Read Up on the Styles
People do yoga for a variety of reasons, so determine your goals and find a style that helps you achieve them. If you sit behind a desk for a living and want to sweat, consider a Power or Vinyasa class. Gentle or Yin yoga classes are great if your day job leaves you stressed and out of breath. For more information on yoga styles, check out this article from Gaiam.
4. Talk to Instructors
Let teachers know you’re a newbie and ask if they offer variations for beginners. Most do, but some classes are targeted specifically at intermediate or advanced practitioners, and instructors can point you to a more appropriate class or style of yoga for your needs. Know that teachers are the key to a yoga class — once you find one you like, you’ll feel more motivated to practice consistently.
5. Try At-Home Practices
I got my start with yoga using a “Yoga for Dummies” DVD. It may sound silly but I found it hugely helpful when I stepped onto my mat for the first time in a studio setting. The instructor calls out postures like “Mountain Pose,” “Warrior Two,” “Downward-Facing Dog” and the like, and knowing what these look like ahead of time made me feel better prepared.
6. Go Basic for Gear
As a frugal shopper, I use the Coupon Sherpa coupon app to save on yoga gear from Sports Authority, or hit up TJMaxx and Marshall’s for discounts on brands like Nike, Under Armour and New Balance.
7. Accessorize for Comfort
Most studios have props for student use, including blocks, straps and blankets. Take advantage of these items to help strengthen your practice or make challenging postures easier. For example, using a block during Half-Moon pose can help you balance better and focus on extending your lifted leg. Similarly, a strap can help you deepen the stretch in a Seated Forward Bend when you wrap it around your feet.
8. Don’t Skip the Variation
Teachers speak often about listening to your body and leaving the ego off the mat. This can be tough for competitive types, but beginners should definitely heed this advice. Variations are instrumental in creating a strong foundation for your practice, so drop that knee or use your strap as needed. Achieving the peak posture will feel all the sweeter and far more stable if you’re confident in the foundational steps.
A big thanks to Kendal Perez for sharing these yoga for beginners tips!