Starting yoga can be a daunting prospect. So many different styles, so many teachers - which one should I try, how often should I practise?
Here are a few steps to help you get started.
Before the class
Clothes: Choose comfortable, stretchy pants or shorts and a close-fitting top that won't fly up over your head every time you perform an inversion.
Eat: Don't eat a heavy meal right before you do yoga. When you start moving, everything gets churned up and you may start to feel sick if your stomach is too full. You can have a light snack an hour or two before class and try to hydrate yourself by drinking plenty of water before class.
Bring: a yoga mat if you have one and a towel if you tend to sweat a lot.
Arrival: Try to arrive 10-15 minutes before the class starts to check-in and settle down. Being in the middle or the back is a great way to observe how others are moving as a guide along with the teacher who will support you during class.
During the class
Smile and Breathe: Keeping a gentle smile relaxes the body and mind and helps you enjoy the yoga asanas much more. Don’t forget to breathe. Breathing with a calm mind, you can push your body's limits little further each time and stretch more than usual.
Alignment: Keep a close eye on the teacher's alignment. Alignment refers to the precise way the body lines up in each posture. Safe alignment is very important to maximize each pose's benefits and minimuze the change of injury.
Look and Listen: When you are first learning the poses, it is okay to glance around the room to see what everyone else is doing, but look to the teacher for your primary instruction. Also, listen for verbal cues as he/she describes how to do each pose. There are some adjustments you may not be able to visually differentiate, but by listening and making micro-adjustments to your body, the alignment and benefit of the pose can improve significantly.
Stay Positive: Don’t feel bad if the teacher corrects your postures. Hands - on instruction can be incredibly helpful for learning good form. Yoga is a personal practice, and everyone's abilities and goals are different. Stay light - hearted and keep your sense of humor. Laugh if you fall out of a pose, smile when things get difficult. Enjoy yourself.
Trust Your Judgement: Rememebr that your practice is personal. No one else is inside your body, so defer to your own judgement about what you can and cannot do. There is no hurry to get into any particular pose. Listen to your body and respect what it tells you about how to practice.
Ask questions: Before and after class to better understand the practice. Yoga can teach us much, but we all have different questions, so ask yours. Try to create a realtionship with your teachers so they can help you.
Practise regularly to get the best results. Once a week will feel good, but three times a week will create real change fast. And don’t go overboard - two classes a day, every day is too much, especially for beginners.
Try a few (or all) the different styles of yoga we offer. Find the practice which you feel best suits your personality and personal objectives.
Yoga’s rich vocabulary, much of which is Sanskrit names for poses, is derived from its origin in India. Learning so many new words can be confusing at first, but ultimately they’re part of yoga’s powerful mystique. As a beginner, learning the lingo is part of the fun—and part of your development process.
Below are a just a handful of yoga terms you might encounter early on:
Asanas: physical poses or postures; these are the foundation of a yoga session.
Pranayama: breathing technique; one of the key components of yoga.
Om: an elemental chant that helps to center and focus your mind.
Child’s pose: a basic asana you’ll learn in a beginner class; it can serve as kind of a “safe place” whenever you feel the need to pause, rest and breathe during a workout.
Savasana: The “corpse pose,” where one lies still in a state of relaxation, is often the final pose in a class.
Namaste: an honorable salutation, typically said at the end of class.