Have you decided to start yoga? This is a fantastic decision that your future self will thank you for! Being a beginner on anything can be scary and unpleasant. Nobody likes the feeling of being the only one in the room that does not know what is going on.
At this time and age, information is largely available for anyone that looks for it. To help you be a better version of yourself, we have prepared this guide to lead you right into the world of yoga.
Top 11 Tips for Beginner Yogis – Everything to Know Before Joining a Yoga Class
Studio x Home
Many people choose to do yoga in the comfort of their homes. There are many great videos to follow and you can roll out your mat in your living room and watch, as the instructor flows through movements and poses. This is a good way of doing some exercise without having to leave your home and interact with people.
If you are a beginner though, it may be a good idea to head to a studio. As with many types of exercise, yoga requires some skills and knowledge about postures and ways to achieve them. To prevent injuries, having a teacher present to correct your body poses and stretches is a good idea.
What to wear
Choosing the right gear is fundamental to getting the most out of a yoga class. You need something really comfortable and preferably form-fitting. In yoga, you will lead your body into a lot of bending, stretching and inverting positions. Your clothes should not restrict any of these movements. They should move together with you, not fall or roll up and especially be breathable.
Shorts or pants made of a mix of cotton and spandex are a perfect choice – they stretch enough to allow room for movement and they don’t make you feel hot and sweaty. A good sports bra and adequate tank top should also be on your list. Gloves and socks are not required, but sometimes can make your practice more comfortable.
What to bring
Many studios provide yoga mats people can borrow for the lesson. Observe proper etiquette in terms of where to get and return the mats, and how to align them on the floor. If you are getting serious about yoga, it may be a good idea to purchase your mat. It is much more hygienic and it also allows you to do some exercises at home.
Bring a water bottle – it is crucial to stay hydrated and healthy during your practice. It is also a good idea to bring a towel, especially if you sweat a lot. If your class requires the use of props, like straps or blocks, don’t worry – the studio will provide these.
Yoga is an activity that is good for the body and the mind. Many people find that it helps with anxiety, depression and negative thoughts. Therefore, to achieve better results, it is best to arrive at class early and get into a meditative state of mind.
Taking the time to acclimate yourself, open your mat, do a few stretches and breathing exercises will surely do wonders for your practice. It will also allow you to get a good place and be next to the teacher with good access to the mirror.
There may be some chanting
If you don’t know much about yoga, you may feel alarmed when you hear a whole group of twenty people breaking into a chanting “Om” at every breath. In the yoga world, these chants are called mantras, and they play a big part in it.. If your yoga class is more spiritually guided, you may even use other Sanskrit mantras that allude to different things, like peace, happiness, and well-being.
If it’s not, you’ll probably stick to “Om” – an ancient word with spiritual meaning, that helps with concentration and leads your lungs into breathing the right way.
Don’t feel pressured to keep up
If there is one thing you should always keep in mind while doing yoga, is that everyone is welcome. No matter your body type or fitness level, yoga is for you. That means you should respect your limits and allow yourself to be a beginner. There is no competition in yoga, and every pose comes with an easier alternative. Just because someone on your side is putting their legs all the way up their heads, it does not mean you have to.
Follow the lead of your teacher, they will probably show everyone the alternative positions. If your body starts to hurt, take a step back and observe how far you can go. Chances are this will change every time, and you will feel the changes acutely. Choose a pose you are comfortable with, and gravitate towards it every time there is something you cannot do – the child’s pose is a great choice for that.
What to eat
It is a good idea to have a nutritious and light meal on the days you are doing yoga. Try not to eat just before the class, but two or three hours before. Aim for snacks that are easy to digest and will help you focus on the lesson, like banana, avocado toast or peanut butter. Energizing nourishment is also a great choice, like a fruit smoothie or nuts.
Stay away from meals that take hours and a lot of energy to digest, like greasy and processed food, instead go for whole-grain carbohydrates and protein. Spicy and acidic food can upset your stomach, avoid those on yoga day.
After class, especially if you had a powerful flow, have a satisfying and balanced meal to repair muscle tissue, with a three to one ratio of good carbs to protein. Granola, Greek yogurt, quinoa, tofu, vegetables, and nuts are just some of the examples of that.
Get to know the instructor
We know teachers have so many students, that is hard to focus on just one. With yoga, we guarantee that your instructor will be interested in knowing about you though if they are a good one. Don’t be ashamed to come up to your teacher and let them know you are a beginner, that will probably help you and them immensely.
They can keep an eye on you and lead you into the more difficult postures. If you have any health issues or an injury you are recovering from – that is particularly important. You can seriously damage yourself, if you put a strain on the wrong muscle. Yoga teachers are trained to understand the body, so they need all the information possible to help you with your journey.
Put your phone on silence mode
There are several etiquette guidelines to follow when you do a yoga class. One of the most important? Turn off your phone. It is extremely rude to have a cell phone loudly go off in the middle of a class or to have notifications beeping constantly.
Let your loved ones know you are entering a yoga class and put your phone on plane mode for an hour. It will not only be polite, but also do good to your state of mind and help you wind down and relax.
Respect everyone’s mat space
One of the biggest pet peeves for those who do yoga is getting people in their personal space. When you first arrive at class, observe how people are positioning their mats and follow their lead. Don’t stand too close to other students and open your arms and legs to check if you have enough space to move without bothering anyone.
Remember to breathe
Half of yoga is in the breathing. While not all types of yoga use several breathing techniques, all of them focus on breathing. Inhaling and exhaling at the exact right time, will help you in certain positions and even make you stretch more. When we are tense, we usually hold our breath without noticing it. Take a moment to pay attention to that and deeply breathe out and in to relax your body and mind.
It is never too late to start something new, and yoga is such an inclusive activity, we are sure you’ll find yourself right at home in no time. Being mindful of your actions and feelings is just one of the benefits of yoga. Ninety percent of people who start to do yoga, do so because they are looking for flexibility, stress relief, health, and fitness. What they discover though, goes way beyond that.
Mindful eating, self-reflexion, anxiety relief, and kindness are some of the (amazing) side effects you can expect from yoga. Now that you know exactly how to get started, don’t waste any time and start your journey towards self-improvement today.