Has yoga crossed your mind? You’re informed it’s a worthwhile practice, but now what? How do you find a studio or know what style is right for you? Everyone starts in the same boat. It can be intimidating the first couple of times, but over time you will be comfortable. Here are six tips to help you start your yoga practice.
Set space to practice yoga: Where ever you decide to practice—whether it’s in a YMCA, a gym or yoga studio, start with an entry level class. There are many different forms of yoga and some can be quite vigorous in intensity and fast moving. You may already be an athlete, you may already be in shape, but when it comes to yoga, form is everything. Alignment is everything in yoga. It’s important to learn correct posture for each pose and understand that feeling.
The sticky mat: Before you buy a mat, try a few classes to make sure you like yoga. Most studios and gyms have mats for you to use. There are many different varieties and price points, ask an instructor for their opinion on mats to guide you in the right direction. Speak to an instructor or go online and read reviews about yoga mats to determine what’s right for you.
Understand the names: Classes may be labeled Power, Bikram, Vinyasa, Classical, Iyengar, Kripalu or Forrest (to name a few). These are all branches off the same Tree, whose roots are Hatha. These styles can be vastly different. Try to explore a variety of classes and see what they have to offer. Find a Hatha or Classical class, and then go from there. This way you’ll always remember your roots.
Yoga is a mind and body practice: In yoga, you let must everything go and quiet the mind. You will learn to link breath to movement, which will help clear your head and focus on your practice. This is one of the most beneficial techniques to learn in yoga. Your breathing will help your mind focus on each pose and help you hold that pose. Just remember, no matter what level you’re at, or how long you can hold a handstand, breathing will farther you along in your practice
Child’s pose: Child’s pose is a resting pose. I always begin my practice with it and I go to it throughout my practice. Most instructors will advise you to “go to Child’s pose” at any time when you need a rest. This pose allows your body to find awareness of the hard work you have accomplished in your practice and honor yourself.
Trial and error: If you take a class in a studio with a teacher whose style isn’t your cup of tea, then try another teacher or class or studio altogether. You will not be able to focus on yourself if you are frustrated with the instructor or style. Find a class that you feel comfortable in to enjoy your practice.
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