If there is one thing that every yoga practitioner shares, it is that at some point, they were yoga newbies themselves. We have asked many people in the community for their advice for first-timers. We used their responses to compile the list of 12 beginner yoga tips:
Beginner yoga tip #1: Do your homework before getting to the yoga studio
Before heading to the yoga studio to attend your first yoga class, take the time to visit the studio’s website, learn more about them, the format of the class, the type of yoga practiced and the proper etiquette for this studio to ensure a great experience for yourself, your fellow practitioners and the instructors.
Beginner yoga tip #2: Get to the yoga studio early
Plan to arrive to the yoga studio at least 15 minutes prior to the start of class. It is important to have time to get acquainted with the studio and to get comfortable with the environment you will be practicing in. It will also provide you with enough time to check in and fill out any necessary forms before the class starts. Lastly, it will provide you with the opportunity to chat with the yoga teacher before class in case you have any questions about the practice or to let them know about your injuries and health conditions.
Beginner yoga tip #3: Bring everything you need for your yoga practice
Bring your own yoga mat, a water bottle and a towel for your practice and the shower afterwards. Make sure to wear comfortable clothing. If you need to modify certain postures, most of the studios use props, some don’t – make sure you check. Finally, most of the studios offer showers, but not all, so if you have a meeting after class and you need to take a shower, make sure your studio has one. In general, all studios offer yoga mats and towels to rent from $2 to $3 per item.
Beginner yoga tip #4: Be mindful of fragrances and personal hygiene
Yoga is all about your individual practice, even though for the majority of the population in the U.S., yoga is practiced in a group setting in a studio. This means sharing a small, closed space with many other yogis. The space might even be heated, in the case of a hot yoga class. It is important to minimize the use of perfume or cologne before class to avoid affecting others around you who might be sensitive or allergic.
Beginner yoga tip #5: Treat the yoga studio like a temple
This means keeping the space clean and neat. It also means keeping the noise level to a minimum. It is a good habit to avoid discussions inside the classroom, before and after the practice, but it is also a good idea to keep your voice level low in the lobby as another class might be in progress and your fellow yogis might be meditating.
Beginner yoga tip #6: Stay hydrated before and after the practice
Make sure you drink enough water throughout the day. Don’t rush to catch up and drink a gallon right before your class; this will make you feel bloated and it will be harder for you to do the postures in depth. Providing your body with the right amount of water is incredibly important, even if you do not practice every day – at least two liters of water per day is recommended.
Beginner yoga tip #7: It is ok to take a break during the practice
Beginners can easily get overwhelmed with the various poses during the yoga class. It’s easy to get dizzy, especially in a hot room, so it is important to take a break if you are experiencing any nausea. Listening to your body is crucial to avoid unnecessary injuries. For example, if you have high blood pressure, yoga is great for you, but every time you lift your hands up your blood pressure increases, so you have to be careful. Depending on the class series and what you are experiencing, you can always return to “child’s pose.” But other times it might be best to keep your head above your heart to prevent the increase of blood flow to your brain, to avoid additional pressure, dizziness or headache.
Beginner yoga tip #8: Take the time to enjoy the Savasana phase of the class
For someone who is not familiar with yoga, the last few minutes of a class can seem unimportant and therefore optional. This is not the case. This posture is not ”trivial” – it is actually the most important part of your practice. Savasana provides you with the opportunity to meditate and reflect on everything that you have done in the past 60 or 90 minutes, while also allowing you time to become more aware of your breath. When you are ready to leave, do it quietly and make sure the door does not slam behind you. It is common for experienced yogis to stay in Savasana longer so they can meditate.
Beginner yoga tip #9: Don’t hurt yourself
Yoga poses can provide our bodies with many benefits but done the wrong way, they can easily result in injury. That is why it’s so important to study the postures and to communicate with your instructor. It’s also critical to not push your body beyond its limits, so stop right away if you experience any sort of pain. You can avoid injuries by understating your body’s capabilities; you may need to work on strength instead of flexibility at first.
Beginner yoga tip #10: Be thoughtful of others in the shower
Yoga studios are typically small establishments, so being mindful of the time you spend in the shower is important. This is especially true during the lunch hours, as many professionals go to practice on their lunch break and need to get back to the office quickly. Typical shower time should last about two to three minutes.
Beginner yoga tip #11: Be a great listener during the yoga class
The first few sessions for newbies can be overwhelming. You might be in a “downward facing dog” or “chaturanga dandasana” position and hear something like: “firm your shoulder blades against your back and press your tailbone towards your pubis.” Those messages can seem very foreign while you are trying to “flow” through the series. Researching the postures online or on YouTube can be very helpful and don’t be afraid to look around the room. In general, always communicate what you are struggling with to your instructor. You don’t want to learn something the wrong way.
Beginner yoga tip #12: Diversify your yoga experiences
Yoga is first and foremost your practice. So make sure you experience a few different types of practices, teachers and studios in order to find the one or two that fit you best. Sometimes complimenting practices can be the perfect match for what you need. For example, if you want to work on your flexibility, a hot room can be a good place to do that and if you feel stressed, a mantra class maybe the perfect complimentary practice. Sampling is important, just like anything else.
Do you have any other yoga tips for beginners ? We invite you to use the comments section below to share them with the community.
[Photo by Freddie Alequin – CC BY]
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