How to Start with Yoga
People ask me this all the time: “How do I start with yoga?” or “I’m not flexible, so can I do yoga?” or “Can’t I just do yoga with YouTube or a DVD?”. This article helps you get started with yoga, the right way.
Yoga is everywhere: it’s at your local studio, your gym, maybe even the company you work for. You’ll find it everywhere online, too. But how do you take that first lesson? Where do you go? How do you choose a class? I’m here to help you out.
1. Take a class
For your first class, pick a studio in your area or – if you’re already a member – try your local gym. Check their schedule and look for classes like “Beginner Yoga” or “Slow Flow”. These are gentle classes, suited for beginners. Some studios work with a system that indicates different levels. In that case you should always go for the level 1 classes. These are there especially for new beginners. The teacher will take time to explain different postures, will keep a close eye on you and will adjust the class if needed.
After picking your class, check with the studio if you need to sign up or if you can drop in. After that, add it to your calendar and go. Don’t postpone. Go.
After the class, it’s time to make up your mind. See if you liked the atmosphere, the teachers, the general vibe. To me, a yoga studio should feel like a second home. It’s a place that’s sacred to me, so I’m always looking for that right spark of joy when I explore new studios. Thanks to all my travels, I’ve explored lots of different studios and have practiced with so many different teachers. Sometimes the studios were very simple, but the teachers made the classes amazing. Other times, the studio had everything I needed, but I simply didn’t connect with the teacher. Feel into it and you’ll know what I mean.
3. Don’t worry about other students, your bum or your toenails
That first yoga class is often a little daunting. It’s a typical out of your comfort zone situation, as it’s completely new and probably very different from everything you’ve done. Don’t worry, all yoginis have been there. The first time on the mat, the first time barefoot in a yoga room, the first downward dog. I’ve been there, too. Fortunately, you don’t have to worry about the other people in the room. They are there for their own practice, that’s all. Trust the teacher and you’ll be fine.
Please don’t worry about getting yoga pants before going to your first class. Any type of comfy, stretchy pants works fine. You can get yourself a fancy pair of yoga pants when you really fall in love with the practice. Until then, don’t waste any money on expensive clothing.
You don’t have to fall in love with yoga in that first class. I didn’t, but to give yoga a chance, I decided to go at least three times. I didn’t like my first beer, first coffee and first mushroom, but I love them all now, so I figured yoga deserved more chances, too.
4. Take a different class at a different studio
Like I said, yoga wasn’t a love at first sight kind of thing for me. That’s why I encourage you explore more classes. Do you have multiple yoga studios in your area? Go try a different one this week! If not, try a different class at your local studio. Keep an eye on the different levels of the classes. You can ask the teachers or look at the schedule to decide on your next class.
Do you want to get stronger? Try an Ashtanga Yoga class today or go to a Vinyasa class for beginners. These practices are a bit more sweaty and are great for those of you looking for strong movement.
Do you want something slower? Try a Slow Flow class, Yin Yoga, or a restorative class. These yoga variations are slow and pay a lot attention to mindfulness and relaxing in different postures.
5. Take another class
After that second class, it’s time to evaluate again. How was the teacher, how did you like the yoga style, how did yoga make feel? If you want, you can try a different style of yoga this week or you can try the one you liked best again. You’ll notice the postures will already feel more comfortable, now you’re not a newbie anymore.
After that third class, I invite you – if you enjoy yoga – to sign up for a ten-week course or get a monthly pass. This way you can try out all sorts of classes and experience what yoga can do for you.
If you have the budget for it, you can consider taking a private yoga lesson. In a private class, your instructor will first go through your wants and needs before starting the class with you. The advantage is that this class is uniquely designed for you and your body.
7. Keep it offline
Unless you’re based somewhere in the middle of nowhere, I encourage you to not start with online classes. The teacher is a very important part of the beginner’s journey, as he or she can help you get into the postures, offer alternatives and work on your alignment. Nobody is there to watch you if you’re practicing with YouTube, an online yoga channel or a DVD. Online yoga and a private practice is perfect for those of you with more experience, but I’d never recommend online yoga for new beginners.
Questions? I’m here to help! Leave a comment or shoot me an email!