Yoga 101

If you know me, you know I am currently training to become a yoga teacher!  If you don’t know me… Hi!  I am Heather, thank you for reading!

Now that I am super active in the yoga community the #1 question I get is “I want to do yoga, where do I start?”  Most people I speak to are nervous about going to a class, don’t know anything about yoga, don’t know what gear they need, or even what kind of clothes to wear.

I am too nervous to go to class, what are my options?!

If you want to learn some of the asanas or flows before you go to a class, there are options!  I really love Yoga with Adriene on YouTube.  She is very approachable, and her 30 day challenges are awesome.  You can find her page here.  If you don’t connect with her, that’s ok!  YouTube or Do You Yoga have a ton of teachers and classes.  Just find someone you connect with.  I like that she is quirky and fun, but maybe you want someone that is more peaceful or zen.  You can shop around for teachers, just find someone you like!  There are many different teachers and many different styles of teaching and voices.  It’s almost like dating!  You have to like the person to be able to really get into the practice and have your moving meditation.

I am going to my first class, what should I expect?

I want to say I LOVE seeing new students in class.  There is nothing to be afraid of!  I recommend letting your instructor know that this is your first class.  They will be excited to see you there –I promise!

Don’t be nervous to ask the instructor questions before or after class.  If you didn’t understand a pose, or you are unsure if you are doing it correctly, ask!  That is part of why an instructor is there.  I have been practicing for years and I still often ask the instructor questions after class.

You may not understand everything that happens in the class.  There may be some rituals that may feel unfamiliar to you, and words you have never heard before.  Yoga is a practice, not a perfection.  If you are confused about a pose, take a look around the class.  Maybe you will be able to get some clarification from looking at other students. If you can’t figure it out, don’t worry about it.  Skip it!  Ask the instructor after class!  If there is a ritual that you don’t follow, don’t understand, or don’t feel like doing… skip it!  Ask for clarification, or just try next time if you want.  If you regularly go to class, you will start to understand the structure of the class, and the rituals that are being done.

Yoga is about you, and focusing on your body and breath.  Don’t worry about the namaste or OM if you don’t like it or understand it.  Don’t fret about that confusing or difficult posture.  If you want to sit on the ground, and count your breath the whole time.  That is yoga!  You will build strength in time, you will develop the vocabulary in time.  It’s not a rush to the finish line, it’s a journey that should be enjoyed.

What Studio or form of Yoga should I try?

If you are unsure of what studio to go to, or what kind of classes to take, shop around!  You will find a studio and form of yoga you connect with.

Most studios offer a new student trial.  You can go to the studio and check it out before you even sign up for a class.  Go inside, and ask questions, see if the ambiance is what you are looking for.  If not, don’t feel obligated to go.  Again with the dating, you are dating the instructor AND the studio here.  Make sure you like them .

If you don’t know what type of yoga you may like take a look here and see what resonates with you.  When you find a style you like, Yelp it and find a studio near you that offers that style of class.

There are heated classes, hot classes, and regular temperature classes so check that out when you select a studio.  There are many different opinions on hot yoga practices and I am not trying to sway you in any way.  If you are curious do some research and see what you think.  I just want to give you a heads up so you don’t walk into a 100 degree room your first time and think “uhhhh what?”

What clothes should I wear?

Honestly, it really doesn’t matter, you should just wear something you feel comfortable in!  I would suggest a top you can at least tie in a knot at the bottom (you are upside down a lot,) and high waisted pants (you are bending over.)  You don’t need fancy brands or anything.  I get 99% of my workout gear at Old Navy.

Don’t feel discouraged or distracted by what other yogis wear.  Just wear something that makes you feel good and doesn’t require a lot of fussing or adjusting.

What gear do I need?

Basics: yoga mat, hand towel, water bottle, and possibly mat towel if you’re choosing a hot or heated class.  If you don’t have a mat, sometimes studios offer rentals (but call and ask first!)

You can get a cheap yoga mat from TJ MAXX, Home Goods, Target, or a similar store.  If you are looking for a decent but affordable brand I would suggest Gaiam.

If you are looking to build flexibility you may want to purchase a yoga strap.  I have this one.  If you do buy a strap I would suggest doing some research on how to use it.  Here is a great article to get started.

A block may also be useful to you.  Most studios have blocks to borrow while taking class there.  Feel free to get two and ask the instructor how to use them.  They should cue in the class where a block may be helpful to support your body and help gain access to a pose.

 

 

I hope this article was helpful to you!  If you are interested in doing yoga I would suggest you get out there and do it.  If you have any additional questions.  Please feel free to comment and I will answer them for you!

 

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