Updated: 5 days ago
Yoga can be intimidating, but we're here to help. This guide will help you shake off those pre-class concerns and have you feeling willing and able to step foot on your mat.
1. The most important thing you need: A Body
Do you have a body? Then you can do yoga. Any shape, any size. Don't let those perfectly planned poses on social media tell you otherwise. Yoga isn't always about going upside down or bending over backwards. Hell, it's not even about touching your toes. Matter of fact, it really doesn't have to be physical at all. Just pausing, breathing, bring that awareness to your breath, body, surroundings - creating a sense of calm and mindfulness, that could be enough. If that seems hard, then just start with an intention, an intention to start being more aware of your breath. You don't have to make your first yoga experience a hot and sweaty one in a room with 40 other yogis doing poses that seem unattainable. Just pause, breathe, done, you've practiced yoga.
2. It's called a practice for a reason
No matter how long you have been practicing for, you are always a student, always learning. That's the beauty of yoga, it is forever evolving in alignment to your commitment. Never go into learning a new pose thinking, "I'll master this, then on to the next". Nope, there is always growth to be had. Have a beginners mind every time you step on your mat.
3. Do what feels good to YOUR BODY
Just because the teacher is telling you to do something or the whole class is doing it - if it doesn't feel good - stop. Change the pose so that it works for you. Don't know what to do? Just back out of whatever you were doing until you find a place that feels better in your body. If you are recovering from an injury, it's best to always let the teacher know before class, that way they might be able to offer some other options if the situation were to arise.
4. Stop criticizing yourself
Seriously though, just stop. Stop beating yourself up about things that you think you aren't good at. If you've never played golf before, you can't expect to be great at it the first time. For some reason, people feel they need to be good at yoga to practice yoga. We need to change that way of thinking and it's gotta start with you. Yoga is beneficial in so many ways, especially for our mental and emotional well-being - which we could all use right now. So let's not keep ourselves from experiencing something that is really really good for us just because we tell ourselves we're bad at stretching.
5. Find what you like and find your flow
Not all yoga practices are the same. Some are more focused on breath and meditation, others only focus on the physical. It's important to research what is available in your area, and what sparks your interest. You are more likely to keep to something that you genuinely enjoy. Another way to become familiar with different styles is to search online and practice in your own home. You can find a lot of free resources and videos. Especially videos specific to beginners.
Bonus tips: Here are some little things that may have you feeling a little more prepared.
Bring your own yoga mat. We suggest not one of those extra squishy ones, as they are hard to balance on and shift around a lot. Some of our favorites: Jade, Manduka, and LuluLemon.
Bring water. If you're new to the game, you are most likely going to sweat, especially if it's a flow type of class. You want stay hydrated.
If you are concerned about sweating on your mat, bring a towel to wipe your sweat, but also embrace it. Sweating is cleansing, just don't let it get in the way of you staying connected to your mat and your practice.
Bring a friend! New experiences can be less intimidating when you have a buddy. Plus it's great to talk through your experience after the fact. It helps our brain process what you just accomplished.
Have fun with it. People get really serious about their yoga practice, and that's fine if that is what works for them. But if you are new, and struggling to get into poses, and sweating all over the place, just giggle a little. Yoga is weird, who are we kidding. Bring a lil smile to your face, take a deep breath and keep going. You learn by doing, you might as well be able to have fun with it.
There you have it, our take on what you need to start a yoga practice. We are here to help so if you find yourself with more questions, send us an email, or comment below and we'll help the best we can!