Starting a yoga practice can feel daunting. There are so many studios, styles and varieties of classes that it can be hard to know where to begin. No matter how you get into yoga or where you start, it is a life changing practice that you are sure to benefit from. The beginning stages of practicing yoga are an exciting and eye opening time where you discover the true potential of your mind and body and develop a whole new level of awareness. Here are some tips to help make starting your practice a bit smoother and give you some clarity on where to begin.
Identify your intention
An important part of beginning your yoga practice and cultivating one that is best suited to you is to identify your intentions in practicing yoga. Is it to relax, ease stress and anxiety, for exercise or for a sense of community? Really becoming clear on what you are looking to gain from your practice will allow you to choose classes and styles best suited to you. There are many different styles of yoga and not all of them will be your favorite, so it is important to get clear on what you are looking to gain out of going to class.
For strength: If you are looking to get a good workout in your yoga class and are desiring something a bit more upbeat, seek out power yoga classes or a vinyasa class with a teacher that challenges you and has a style that you resonate with.
For Relaxation: If you are mostly looking to relax, try yin or restorative yoga. These are versions of yoga that place the body in a posture for up to 5 minutes and have little movement in between. The classes consist of static holds and deep breathing, making for a very meditative and calming experience.
For a mix of both: If you are looking for a well-rounded yoga class for calming the mind while finding strength, balance and flexibility in the body, hatha or vinyasa yoga are great options for you. Both involve mindful and meditative movement that also promotes a sense of peace and positivity.
Start with the basics
Don’t be afraid of beginner classes when you are first starting out. Getting clear on proper alignment and becoming familiar with the different postures in the beginning will create a solid foundation for you to build on later as well as preventing injury and strain. It may feel boring at first, but understanding the basics and how to practice asana properly and safely will allow you to excel in your practice and move forward quicker and more mindfully in the long run.
Practice yoga off your mat
An important part of developing a yoga practice is to live out the true principles of yoga on and off the mat. Even if you aren’t practicing asana often, you can live your life in a yogic way and experience the same benefits by inviting in mindful awareness throughout the day to your breath, your shower, the meal you are cooking or the sensations and experiences of any given moment.
Live your life with a loving open heart, practice both non harming and non attachment where you can and promote peace and positivity to those around you. Yoga is about more than a series of postures, it is a way of life and state of being and once you begin, you will never look back.