One of the great things about yoga is how easy it is to start practicing. You don’t even need a mat! But that said, there lots of inexpensive ways to get a lot more out of your practice.
This guide will go over some basic information about starting a yoga practice, and recommend some different resources to help you get started.
Recommended Resources For Starting a Yoga Practice
If you’re completely new to yoga, congratulations! You’re doing one of the best things you can for your body and mind.
It doesn’t matter how flexible or athletic you are. Yoga is meant for everybody. But as a complete beginner you will especially benefit from taking a class from a teacher instead of following a video.
Finding a Good Yoga Instructor (Beginners)
You should start with a simple yoga class where the instructor takes the time to show you the postures. Some postures are straightforward but others will require some demonstration. And some instructors will assume everybody in the class knows the postures already.
High-end yoga studios are often more advanced. But yoga classes offered at gyms, college campuses, and community centers are almost always geared toward a beginner audience.
Another thing to keep in mind is the temperature. Hot yoga can feel pretty intense and is not for everybody. It makes sense to first see if you like yoga at normal temperatures before you consider visiting a hot class.
A Word About Yoga Studios
There’s a big difference between yoga at your local gym and a dedicated yoga studio. The quality of instructor will usually be better at a studio. And a lot of studios have a good sense of community. But you might need to shop around before you find your fit.
As mentioned earlier, a lot of studios attract a more advanced crowd, and so the classes end up not being fun for beginners. And some hot studios especially have a more serious vibe that will definitely scare off newbies.
Even though most studios aren’t cheap, you can usually try them out for a few weeks at a discount. After a few classes you should have a better idea of how you like it.
Practicing At Home As A Beginner
Even though it’s best to find an instructor, you can still learn basic yoga moves on your own. Just don’t do anything you’re not sure about.
The easiest way to do this is by watching YouTube videos. There are some great instructors on YouTube. And it’s free! Here are some channels to check out:
Adrienne has almost 3 million subscribers and hundreds of videos. She teaches all kinds of yoga routines including a lot of good content for beginners.
This is another popular channel featuring renowned teacher Kino McGregor. Also has some good videos for a beginner’s practice.
We also recommend the popular Yoga Burn program, which is a structured at-home yoga program primarily geared toward women.
Choosing The Right Mat
Another issue as a beginner will be choosing the right mat. You can still do some yoga poses without a mat, but in order to get the most out of it you’ll at least need something basic.
You can get mats on Amazon for less than $10, and that might be a good place to start. Just keep in mind that you might be “getting what you pay for”. If you end up doing yoga more regularly you’ll probably want to upgrade soon. Beginner mats are made from cheaper material and wear and tear easily.
If you’re practicing at a studio you can almost always rent a mat. But the cost will add up soon, and it can be gross to use a mat right after somebody else sweat on it. Easier to get your own.
It’s easy to avoid injuries from yoga. If you’re not sure how to do a pose, or if something feels too intense, back off. The vast majority of yoga injuries could easily be avoided if people swallow their pride and avoid doing too much.
Progress in yoga is gradual. You will eventually be able to do much more than you can right now. But you won’t get there by forcing it. If you’re not sure whether you’re ready for a scary-looking posture, just don’t do it.
And of course it helps to have a good instructor. Never attempt something like a headstand without supervision. Only advanced yogis should do inversions on their own.
Another tip: use a block. Yoga blocks can add support for poses that you can’t quite do fully. And having them as a safety measure can help you avoid losing your balance or overextending.