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How do I start a yoga practice?

Updated: Mar 7, 2021

One question I am asked all the time is "Where do I start?" With so many options at your fingertips it can feel so overwhelming to actually get on your mat and begin your yoga journey. So where DO you start?

For starters there's in studio, on-demand, live classes, workshops, and retreats. Then there's what seems like endless options for types of classes to take; Bikram, Ashtanga, Hot Yoga, Yin, Restorative, Chair, etc., etc. You might find yourself falling down the rabbit hole and feel even more confused than when you started and left with even more questions. If you're like me you might get overwhelmed to the point of just not doing anything at all. Before you throw in the towel, read on!!

After being asked where to begin so often, I started to really think about it. I had to go back 11 years and think about how I felt when the idea to try yoga came up. What was I thinking about, how did I decide? I came up with a 2 questions to ask yourself. Yup, 2 questions! 1.) Am I an extrovert or an introvert? And 2.) What are my expectations?

Yoga for Extroverts

If you find yourself to be on the more outgoing side and not worried about trying new things in a room full of strangers; in studio or Live classes could be your place to start.

Yoga for Introverts

Diving in to Live Classes and In Person just not your thing? You may find that on-demand, YouTube, or "tapes" may be a better beginner option for you. This is also great for wanting to see what a class is all about before making the leap to a studio.

Expectations of your yoga practice

Managing expectations is HUGE! Honing in on what you expect out of your experience can help you decide on the type of yoga to try first. Do you expect to find rest and relaxation? Better ways to manage stress? Maybe you're after becoming more flexible. Or perhaps you hoping to look like a "yoga god | goddess", finding strength and a toned physique? Maybe you are interested in the spiritual side of yoga? Ask yourself what you expect. I have listed a few options below.

Rest and relaxation focused students may want to try a Yin practice or try their hand at Restorative yoga. While Yin and Restorative are different they both offer a time to slow down and unwind. Also great for those who struggle with anxiety and for athletes on recovery days.

Those looking for physical challenge may want to look into Hot Yoga, Bikram, or Vinyasa practice. If you fancy yourself a runner or lover of HIIT workouts this maybe the perfect entry in the world of yoga.

Are you Detail Oriented or refer to yourself as Type A? You might want to explore your options in Iyengar or Ashtanga yoga. In an Iyengar class you can expect to learn lots about anatomy and form. And in an Ashtanga setting you'll find a strict orderly approach with a set sequence.

Lean into a spiritual side with a Kundalini practice. Here you'll find a mentally and physically challenging class which tends to include chanting, singing and meditation.

So now you've probably noted a couple types that interest you. Now What?

Start Your Yoga Practice

Now that you're armed with a few types of yoga that speak to you it's time to get out there and explore your options.

The first thing I did was research the different types of yoga that interested me. I’m a researcher by nature so I wanted to learn as much as I could about each type of class.

Next, you’ll want to find your studio. In person folks can google local studios to see what local class offerings will fit their schedule and budget needs. Home practice yogis can do the same to find online studios, YouTube videos and more to get started.

I highly recommend trying out different studios, online and in-person to fit your perfect fit. Ask about new student specials. You may find out that your first class is free or there is special pricing for your first week or month.

One last recommendation. If you’re able to attend a workshop for beginners, DO IT! I’m so happy that I attended a workshop before trying out a class. Why? Because I got to learn some of the most common yoga poses, how to do them properly in my own body, and a little history and philosophy along the way. It helped build confidence to step into my first class.

Now GO! Unroll your mat! And tell me what type of yogi you are...

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