Busy schedules, an active lifestyle, visiting family and friends during the weekends – you really didn’t have the time or opportunity to go to your first yoga class…yet! First of all, there is no need to shame yourself for not starting a yoga practice sooner. Now is the perfect time to begin.
In your first yoga class you can expect your yoga teacher to ask some additional question, like whether you had an injury, if you have any physical complains. It is important to share in order for you to experience the benefits of your first yoga class.
You can start practicing Yoga anytime. Allow this to be YOUR time. The common questions, of course, might be these: What are the benefits of yoga? How to begin yoga?
Let’s approach these, one by one, so that you can make appropriate choices for yourself as you pursue this new incredible journey.
Benefits of yoga
There are many health benefits of yoga. Ask yourself a question: what do you need in your life right now? Perhaps you need more flexibility and mobility in your body. Over the years, maybe you’ve become less active and more sedentary. Engaging in a moving yoga practice will bring back the mobilization in your body that you once had. Have you had a recent injury and need a safe and healthy way to ease your body back into healing? Yes, certain styles of Yoga are specifically designed to help heal the body after an injury, a surgery, or even relieve chronic pain.
Maybe you want to lose a little weight? Active yoga practices can help tone your body, help you build up a sweat, and raise the calorie burn so that you can shed a few pounds. Can Yoga help you reduce stress and anxiety? Absolutely! One of the many reasons why people begin a yoga practice is to develop skills to reduce stress, ease tense muscles, and cure insomnia. As you can see, Yoga is a practice that is complementary to overall self-care.
How to begin yoga?
Yoga has become very mainstream and can be found just about anywhere: your local gym, community center, and in stand-alone yoga studios. Yoga is all around us, but since it is highly accessible, finding the right place for you can be a challenge. Once you know what you’re looking for to enhance your physical and mental health, begin exploring yoga spaces in your area. Visit the gyms, community centers, and studios to see what they offer.
Introductory yoga class
If you have never practiced Yoga before, it may be a good idea to ask if introductory Yoga classes are offered. If so, this would be an excellent place to start your first yoga class. In these classes, you should learn some of the fundamentals of a yoga practice: breathing, moving the body, and proper alignment for physical safety. A yoga instructor in an intro-level class should demonstrate and practice with you yoga breathing techniques, guide you through yoga postures and sequences, and show you ways to modify these movements to best fit your body, physical conditions, and experience level.
It takes a highly skilled yoga instructor to teach you these things. Ask about the qualifications of the yoga instructors at the studio or yoga space. Yoga Instructors should have completed training in a 200-Hour Yoga Teacher Training Certification Program. That is the minimum hours needed to begin teaching in public facilities. The more experience an instructor has in teaching, the better their teaching quality and knowledge about the overall practice. They will be able to guide you through a yoga sequence proficiently and articulately with necessary modifications, safe hands-on adjustments, and use of props.
Your best bet to find technically trained and experienced yoga instructors is in the well-established yoga studio.
Ask about the selection of teachers, their backgrounds and certifications, and how long they have been teaching. This should be no different from finding a proper physician or psychologist. Remember, this is your personal health we’re talking about. You want to find the best studio and instructors that suit your needs and intentions. If you want to learn how to meditate, but you walk into a hot yoga studio, then maybe this is not the right fit for you. If you’re looking to heal after a past injury, but you go into a class that is fast-moving and highly physical, this, too, may not be the proper place. It is in your best interest to shop around until you find a yoga space that matches your needs.
Different styles of yoga
After attending some introductory first yoga classes and feeling like you’ve learned some of the basics of the yoga practice, you’re now ready to take the next step. Refer to the yoga schedule and the list of class offerings. See what other styles of Yoga are offered and what would be the next logical step forward on your yoga journey. If you started with an intro class, you’re now ready for something that has some more movement and more postures. Refer again, though, to your personal needs. If you desire more physical exercise to gain strength, flexibility, and agility, your next class can be one that moves slightly quicker than an intro class. This next-level class should still focus on the breath, limitations in the body, alignment, safety, and well-instructed flow so that you can continue to gain experience. After practicing here for several weeks or months, move on to the next level. This also goes for yoga classes where the intention is around relaxation, restoration, and meditation. Inquire about courses that offer an introduction to mindfulness meditation. Seek out classes that are specifically designed to restore and heal the entire body. These yoga classes will have minimal movement; the focus is on relaxing the mind and body.
How often should you go to a yoga class?
Because you may have a very busy schedule, do your best to carve out some time that is for personal self-care. It may be just an hour or two a week, in which case you can attend at least one yoga class per week. This may not seem like a lot, nor does it seem effective, but truly, it is. Any time that you can spend taking care of yourself, even if it’s only one hour per week, it is very well worth it. You may find, though, that you enjoy yoga practice and its benefits. You may end up adding another class or two during the week to your schedule.
More yoga is not necessarily better, but having the consistency and commitment to the yoga practice will undoubtedly bring more benefits to you over time.
What will happen after you start Yoga practice?
If you engage in a regular yoga practice, you will most likely achieve the goals you originally intended at the beginning of the year. Over the next few months, you will also notice other subtle changes.
Peace of mind, reduced stress, clear thinking, less reactive, more muscles, stronger joints, skills, and techniques to fall asleep faster, reduce the risk of other life-threatening conditions like heart disease, stroke, or depression.
The list goes on when it comes to the results and benefits of practicing Yoga. The main thing is….to start!
…and don’t forget the yoga mat!
If, after practicing regularly, you see that you start falling in love with Yoga, then investing in a yoga mat is a good choice. We highly recommend staying away from PVC yoga mats as research has shown that they are not just unhealthy for the environment, but also for the people who practice on them.
Consider investing in ecofriendly, natural rubber yoga mat for which the planet Earth – if it could – would tell you Thank YOU!