Thursday, 4 July 2013

A Beginners Guide to Yoga

Have you been thinking about going to a yoga class, but are you too nervous to try it on your own?

I’ve totally been there. I find it can be quite intimidating with all these lean people around you, twisting and bending, all the while looking elegant and beautiful.

But about three months ago, I committed myself to attending yoga classes for a while to help heal a minor back injury that I got from an intense crossfit class, and so far, the benefits of yoga have been way above my expectations.

I am happy to report that my back injury completely healed after attending about three classes a week, for two weeks. And my heart and mind had never felt so still and balanced.

For the better or the worse, I haven’t really ran a lot since that injury, but my time in a yoga studio has increased. I am in a complete Yogi phase of my life right now, and have even gone as far as to register for Yoga Teacher Training, beginning in September - I can hardly wait!

So from one beginner to another, let me share with you some tips to help cope with the intimidation of going to a yoga studio:

Leave your ego at the door
One hundred per cent. Depending on what kind of yoga you’re about to try, anything could happen. You will probably not be able to bend as deep as some others in the class, you may not fully understand what goes where, and (especially if it is a hot yoga class, although I don’t recommend that for early beginners) you may get awfully sweaty. None of this matters.

No one is going to be looking at you. For the most part, I’ve found the yoga community to be very open and non-judgmentall - in fact, that’s what yoga is about. The word yoga literally means to unite, so if someone is making you feel anything else but welcomed, just remember what the word yoga means - and you may already know more about the true practice of yoga than they do!

Introduce yourself to the teacher
I know, this probably sounds silly. Especially if you are shy like me, you are thinking "Ha, ya right, as if I’m going to do that." But force yourself to. The teacher will appreciate your honesty and will probably give you a little extra (but subtle) attention to make sure you are getting the most out of your practice.

Simply smile, introduce yourself, and let them know that you wanted to make sure they were aware that you are new to yoga and that you would appreciate any guidance before or during the class. Also mention any injuries you have that may affect you or that you have to be extra gentle with.

Wear your gym clothes
You don’t need to wear fancy yoga clothes or be decked out in an expensive Lululemon outfit. Wear clothes that you can move in and if you can, try to avoid wearing cotton because depending on the class, you might work up a sweat.

Take it for what it is
Maybe you don’t buy into mediation, or the deep breathing, or chanting - yet. Just be yourself and respectful to others in the class.

Try it at least three times before giving up, and attend different types of classes
I find my yoga experience can really depend on the style of yoga and the instructor. Do a little bit of research to determine what yoga class may best suit your personality. To learn more about different types of yoga, read here

It's your time, it's your practice. Do what feels good and enjoy yourself! You are doing something great for yourself and your body; you should be proud.

Everyone’s practice is unique to themselves. Listen to your body and only do what it is capable of doing, to the best of its ability.

Photo retrieved from

Do you have any tips to share with new yogis or any questions to ask about going to your first yoga class? I would love to hear from you!

Thanks for reading - and as they say - Namaste.