I gave a little bit of my yoga background in this post, but I didn't really give any advice on how to get started. Starting something new is exciting, but it also can be so intimidating that it seems easier to just put it off and not start it at all. Especially if you don't have a clue what your first step should be. I am going to break it down for you and hopefully make it easier for you to get started!
- Pick a style of yoga- there are so many different styles of yoga, you might be thinking, this step sucks, it needs it's own steps! To make it easier check out this list of styles of yoga. Remember you don't need to just stick to one. But its good to read them over and think about which one you think you'll want to start with. I primarily practice vinyasa yoga. There are a couple of reasons why. I love not knowing what the class is going to consist of when I walk in. It's a surprise and that is important to me. I don't like the idea of knowing what is to come, it leaves too much room for my mind to wander (which is what I am trying to avoid and why I started yoga in the first place). I also love how it focuses on the breath and matching the breath to the movements. You'll find which style works best for you.
- Get the necessities - you'll need comfy clothes to move in, this means different things for different people. Some people like loose t-shirts and pants, others like tight tops and leggings, this is all a preference. Just wear something that won't bother you when moving around and possibly sweating. I suggest you get your own yoga mat. Studios typically have ones you can use, but honestly for sanitary purposes its worth it to spend the $20 at target and buy your own. I won't get into brand name mats right now because this is a beginner post, so just buy a basic mat (if you have brand name mat questions, feel free to ask). You can buy blocks, straps bolsters etc, but they're not necessary unless you think you'll be mostly practicing at home.
- Where are you going to practice- ok heres a big one! You can practice at a studio or you can practice at home. Practicing in a studio meana any place outside the home that offers yoga (a gym, yoga studio, etc.). Practicing at home can include DVDs, youtube videos, blog videos etc. I highly recommend that even if you have no desire to practice at home, you start at home. I feel this way for a couple of reasons. One, you don't know if you like it or not. Two, I have noticed from practicing at a studio and from working there, that so many people come in to take their very first class ever and are extremely lost and overwhelmed. If you practice at home at least a few times, get the basic poses down and then take a class, you will feel way more comfortable, I promise. There are many different ways to practice at home and get the basics down. You can get some DVDs of beginner classes, you can search youtube for yoga videos, or my favorite Yogaglo. Yogaglo is a fantastic website for yogis of all levels. I will save you from the explanation, just check it out and see what its all about (free two week trial when you sign up). Again this is just a suggestion that I think would be helpful for you to do before you get into taking classes. If you have no desire in practicing at home, then you could get your tush to a class. Research studios in your area, usually they will have a special where the first class is free for you to try. If it is your very first class (or 2nd or 3rd class), look for a beginner or level one class on the schedule. This is very important. Do not jump into a level 3 class when you're just starting out. Also please keep in mind that if you pick a style of yoga or a particular teacher and you don't like it, don't assume you don't like all yoga. Try a few different teachers or styles before you totally knock it.
- So you enjoyed your class, what now?- Ok so you went to a class or did some classes online and you really enjoyed it. Where do you go from there? Decide how often you want to practice. Do you already go to the gym, have 3 kids, a full time job and a house to clean? That's ok. The great thing about yoga is that every little bit counts, even 10 minutes every morning will make a huge difference. Another thing you want to consider is how much money you want to spend. If $0 is the answer, youtube will be your best friend. If its $100 a month, a studio might be right for you. Only you will know which will work best. Maybe you have trouble practicing at home, like me and will need the schedule of a studio. Or maybe the thought of doing poses in front of strangers makes you want to vomit, if so stay home until you feel more comfortable.
And thats it! Before you go though I just have a couple of things to mention. A lot of people think yoga is all about standing on your head and other crazy poses. For some people, sure maybe that is all they care about. But that is not what its about. Yoga is the journey that gets you to those poses. You learn so much about yourself while on the journey, which is so incredible. Try not to get frustrated if you can't do a pose or if your pose doesn't look like someone else's. Remember comparison is the thief of joy. Focus on yourself and how your body feels. Which leads me to the next thing- make the practice your own and do what feels right. You won't always be following the teacher exactly, you won't always want to do a certain pose and thats ok. Its your practice, the teacher is there to guide you.
If you have any questions at all, feel free to ask in the comments below. I hope this was helpful!