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Yoga for beginners

Everyone seems to be a yogi these days, from your BFF to your co-worker to your mum. But if you have yet to attempt Warrior II or Mountain Pose, taking your first yoga class can be a little intimidating. What if your hands sweat and you fall off the mat? What if you hate it? What if you can’t do a single pose?

Luckily, yoga is a non-judgmental practice, it’s is a totally accessible way to unwind and break a sweat, so there’s nothing to worry about before checking out a class.

To help you feel a little more comfortable before you say your first “Om” or “Namaste,” here are some yoga tips to answer all those questions floating around your head.

What type of yoga is best for beginners?

When in doubt opt for a vinyasa flow class, where you have the opportunity to explore the postures and fundamental principles of yoga. These are the types of classes most of your friends probably do, and it’s a great form of yoga for beginners. Oh, and skip anything heated your first go until you’re a little more comfortable with the movement and poses of yoga.

What types of clothes should you wear to your first class?

Definitely go for something breathable and easy to move in. You will work up a sweat, so consider wearing something with moisture absorbing abilities. FYI: Yoga is a no-shoes kind of workout, so don’t worry about sporting your best sneakers to class.

Is it best to do yoga on an empty stomach?

Like with any workout, it’s totally a personal preference how much you fuel pre-yoga. If you do choose to eat beforehand keep it light, a.k.a. don’t down that massive avo toast right before class. Hydrating beforehand is also key, especially if you ever do attempt a heated flow.

Yoga for beginners
Photo by Monstera

Is yoga actually a good workout?

Absolutely! A regular yoga practice increases flexibility and strength in your muscles. It has you work your full range of motion in every joint of your body and build strong and long muscles. Yoga can help increase circulation, and the meditative benefits of a complete yoga practice result in a calmer state of mind, which reduces stress and promotes happiness.

How long will I have to hold the poses?

This depends on the type of yoga class you take, for example, a slow flow or hatha class may require you to hold a pose for an extended period of time. For the most part, poses are held for three to five breaths during the first round to help them sink into your memory. Then they’re held for a single breath when you repeat the pose, to help amp up the cardio component of yoga.

What if I can’t do some of the poses?

Don’t stress! No one expects you to master every pose your first go, or really ever, it’s a constant learning process. Don’t be afraid to ask your instructor for assistance.

Also, try to avoid comparing yourself to the other yogis in the room, all bodies are unique, and have varied strengths and challenges. Plus, every time you step on the mat, it’s going to feel a little different, for both your body and your mind. If there is one thing you can take away from the classroom, it is learning how to modify and create a practice that is fit for you.