5 Questions You May Have About Starting Yoga
The fact that you are reading this post shows that you are interested in starting Yoga. That’s Awesome! The problem is, you are most likely confused and don’t even know where to start. You probably have a million questions swirling around in your head.
We thought it would be a good idea to answer some frequently asked questions regarding starting a yoga practice. You shouldn’t have to feel afraid or confused when you want to engage in something that will make you feel good.
Here Are Five Questions You May Have About Starting Yoga
What Do I Need to Start Yoga?
What is the Best Type of Yoga to Start With?
Where To Practice (Home, At a Class)?
Do I Need to be in Shape Before Practicing Yoga
What Are Some Starter Poses?
What Do You Need to Start Yoga?
The great thing about starting yoga is you really don’t need any expensive equipment or clothing to get going. All you really need is a yoga mat and comfortable clothing.
There are So Many Types of Yoga Mats, Which One Should I Buy?
A typical yoga mat can be purchased just about anywhere. Amazon, Wal-Mart, Dicks Sports, & Online Yoga Stores like the Yoga Outlet. A good starter Yoga mat will often range between $10 and $25. When starting out, you don’t really need the best yoga mat. It’s better to practice for a bit and see what features are most important to you.
Some tips to keep in mind when buying a yoga mat.
Thickness – The thicker your yoga mat the more comfortable it will be. You don’t want your knees hurting you during a yoga session.
Material – Most yoga mats are made of PVC or vinyl. If you are allergic to latex we recommend looking for a yoga mat made of natural rubber.
Texture – If you hate it when you slip on your mat, we recommend looking for a yoga mat made of jute or rubber with a raised pattern. This material will prevent slipping and will make you feel more stable.
Look and Style – Make sure you find a yoga mat that looks cool and makes you want to use it.
If you’re wanting something a little bit more eco-friendly, there are yoga mats that are made with more natural materials. A popular yoga mat right now is a cork mat. They are biodegradable, anti-bacterial, non-toxic, and are ideal for your yoga practice.
They are durable, lie flat when you roll them out, have good cushioning, are non-slip, and are quite attractive, too! Purchasing a yoga mat like this, though, is an investment. They can cost up to $100. That being said, if you’re serious about practicing yoga regularly, you may want to look into a high quality, longer-lasting yoga mat.
Keep in mind that purchasing a yoga mat is not necessary, but it will make Yoga much more enjoyable. If you are taking a Yoga class most yoga spaces provide yoga mats for free or for a small fee. They may also have other useful yoga props like blankets and blocks that assist your yoga practice.
What Should I Wear When Practicing Yoga?
Because yoga is generally a moving practice, you want to wear something that is comfortable and easy to move in. A t-shirt and a pair of shorts is the simplest and easiest outfit for yoga.
You want to make sure that your clothing items do not pinch, or bind, or hang too loosely. Also, you may sweat in a yoga class, so you’ll want to wear something that you don’t mind sweating in.
One thing you do not want to have is distracting clothing. Yoga is a practice to help you tune in, relax, center yourself, and eliminate outside distractions. If you are wearing clothes that are getting in the way of your practice, it makes for a less than positive experience.
There are certain items of clothing specifically designed for yoga practice. (Yoga Pants, Yoga Shirts, etc.) These, too, would be an additional investment if you’re just starting yoga.
These may be stylish yoga apparel pieces, but not necessary to achieve the benefits of yoga. Simply wearing something comfortable from your own wardrobe will be perfect.
What Type of Yoga Class Should I Attend?
Now that you are dressed and have your yoga mat, what class should you go to? If you’re brand new to the practice, it is advised that you start with a Beginners Yoga Class.
The best place to find an introductory class is in a yoga studio. Do some preliminary homework and locate the yoga studios in your area that offer beginner classes. Call or stop by so you can get a sense of the space and ask questions.
What Should I Ask?
- Are their yoga instructors certified?
- How much is the class? (You may find free Intro Yoga Classes)
- Does it matter what shape I’m in before practicing? (The answer should be “no.”) Yoga is designed for all body types. (More on that later.)
- Could I Take a Private Lesson First?
If you’re still uncertain about attending a yoga class for the first time, you could also consider taking a few private lessons to get you prepared for a group class. Hiring a certified yoga instructor will allow you to ask specific questions and gain profound information about yoga and how it suits your desired needs.
You can find a local instructor by contacting a yoga studio near you or visit Yoga Alliance. There you can find a highly qualified instructor that offers individual yoga lessons.
Starting Yoga Using YouTube
If you are looking to get started in the comfort of your own home I highly recommend trying YouTube to find a Beginner Yoga Lesson. There are so many wonderful teachers on YouTube.
Here are a few Beginner Class Videos, but I recommend looking at YouTube to find some Yoga Teachers you may like.
Where Should I Practice Yoga?
Because yoga has grown in popularity over the years, it is not too difficult to find a location in which to practice yoga. Many fitness and health clubs offer yoga classes in their facilities. That may be the first place to consider taking a class.
For a full yogic experience, you may consider searching for a stand-alone yoga studio where yoga is the primary focus. In a yoga studio, you will find a variety of classes, an array of class times, and a host of talented instructors that match your individual needs.
Do I Need to be in Shape Before Practicing Yoga?
A common myth about starting a yoga practice is the notion that you need to be flexible first. The truth is, one of the wonderful benefits of yoga is that you will gain flexibility if you practice yoga.
You can do yoga even if you’re inflexible or feel out of shape. Come as you are. That is the beauty of yoga. Arrive just as you are at this moment. If your desire is to find a greater connection with yourself, enjoy some peace of mind, and experience somebody conditioning on the way, then this is the practice for you.
Some have wondered if yoga can help you lose weight. It certainly can. There are particular types of yoga, like Hot Yoga or Power Vinyasa Yoga, that feature heat and consistent physical movement that can stimulate some weight loss. Of course, a healthy diet would complement these efforts if this is your goal.
Yoga will also help you feel stronger. You will not necessarily build muscle, but it will strengthen the muscles throughout your body. Over time, you will notice a transformation. Not only will there be a physical change, but emotional and mental shifts, too.
What Are Some Starter Poses?
Here are a few things you can expect in a yoga class before you get started. One of the main features of yoga is breathing. Breath can be considered the foundation of most yoga practices whether it is meditation or a moving yoga class. Breathing in yoga keeps you centered and grounded. It allows the practitioner to remain in the moment and not be distracted by external events.
This is a very basic yoga posture that often opens the yoga practice. You simply stand tall at the front of your yoga mat. Your feet are about hip-distance apart and your toes point forward. This creates alignment and balance in the lower half of your body.
Be sure your spine is long with your shoulders slightly rolled back. Your arms can hang down by your side with your palms facing forward. Keep your gaze forward. This is Mountain Pose; it is designed to get you grounded and connected. It prepares you for the upcoming yoga movements. Stand in this pose for 20 breaths. In yoga, there is particular attention to detail in your body structure and alignment. Like the breath, it keeps you focused and aware.
Another yoga pose you will practice in a class is called Downward Facing Dog. You may have heard of this pose, but what is it exactly? It is a stationery yoga pose that works just about every part of your body. Here is how you do it.
Start by coming down to your hands and knees on your yoga mat. From here, press your toes into the mat in order to lift your knees and hips into the air. You will form an inverted V-shape with your body.
Your hands will press firmly into the ground. You will feel an energy and strength in your arms, shoulders, chest, and back. You will mostly like to be on your tiptoes in this posture. Keep your knees slightly bent while your hips continue to lift upward. The pose also energizes your legs and strengthens your core while holding Downward Facing Dog. Hold the posture for 5 to 10 breaths before resting.
This pose is practiced during a standard flow called the Sun Salutation. It is a series of movements linked together to warm up the entire body and prepares you for other yoga postures you will practice during your yoga session.
These are just a few tips to get you ready to begin a yoga practice. Wearing your comfortable clothes and your yoga mat in hand, find a yoga studio or gym that offers an Introductory Yoga Class. Come as you are and feel centered and balanced with yoga breathing and soon-to-be learned yoga poses. Enjoy!