by Ashton August: If you’re wondering how to start doing yoga, that means you’ve decided to begin a yoga practice…
High-five through the computer screen! Because while this may sound a bit cliché, this is truly going to be one of the most rewarding and beneficial decisions of your life.
I say this from personal experience – yoga has helped reduce my anxiety, it has taught me how to better control my stress and emotions, it has built incredible strength and flexibility in my mind and body and I have seen a similar impact on my friends and students over the years.
Yoga is one of the best, most well-rounded full-body physical workouts, and the benefits of yoga are far reaching.
But you probably know some of this already since you’ve decided to embark on your own yoga journey. (And if not, no worries because I’ll continue to offer recommended reads throughout this article to further your knowledge.)
Like anything in life, the hardest part is simply getting started. And like anything else, if you want it badly enough, you’ll find a way; if you don’t, you’ll find an excuse.
Not sure exactly how to start yoga? Don’t fret! Everything you need to know about yoga for beginners is included in this article. So, let’s get right to it so you can be on your way to outer strength and inner zen. I’m so excited for you to begin this journey!
Here’s How to Start Doing Yoga – Follow These 7 Yoga Tips for Beginners:
Read on to learn what you need to know about how to start yoga and everything you need to know about yoga for beginners. The following are what I believe are the most important yoga tips for beginners.
1. Assess Your Goals
Start by asking what your main reasons are for starting a yoga practice. Do you want to gain flexibility and mobility, reduce or prevent pain, recover from an injury or ailment, build strength, find more confidence or a healthy outlet for stress relief?
Once your “why” is clear, you can then begin to find studios, class types, and teachers that align with your goals.
What do I mean by this? If you’re seeking out yoga to build full-body strength, your needs in a yoga discipline or class type and teacher will vary greatly from a student who is recovering from an injury.
This brings us to #2!
2. Try Different Studios, Teachers, and Disciplines
Research local offerings in your area. Depending on where you live, you may be completely inundated with options (not a bad problem to have!), or you may have only one or two (or no) studios to choose from . . .
If you live in a remote area with limited options, I recommend you try a yoga for beginners class online. This will get you started and there are countless amazing online resources.
YA Classes by YogiApproved is an affordable online yoga membership with hundreds of classes and programs for all levels (including lots of yoga for beginners!). Download the free app and practice our classes anywhere, anytime!
Just like you should try out different yoga mats before committing to buy one, the same applies for yoga studios and teachers. I think this is one of the most important yoga tips for beginners: Explore and try different class types, teachers, and studios.
Feeling supported is key to your new yoga practice.
It’s so important that you find a studio and teachers that you align with, from your goals and needs to your personal preferences. Certain teachers and/or disciplines may be a better fit for you than others based on your unique needs.
The more you connect and align with your yoga community (in person or online!), the more support you’ll feel in your yoga journey. Like consistency, feeling supported is also key to your new yoga practice.
3. Get to Know Your Teachers
As I mentioned in #2, support is key and that support system largely revolves around your yoga teachers. Introduce yourself to your teacher before class. Let them know that you are new to the practice and ask if they have any yoga tips for beginners or advice about how to start yoga or about yoga for beginners in general.
If you have a specific condition, injury, or need, let your teacher know. Not only do teachers request this to keep you safe, but they can also provide you with modifications, variations, and other guidance to help you get the most out of your practice safely.
Don’t be afraid to ask questions! If you didn’t quite understand the cueing or specifics of a certain pose during class, make a mental note and ask your teacher about it after class.
Don’t be afraid to ask questions!
As a yoga instructor, one of my favorite aspects of teaching is when students approach me about a particular pose or ask about alignment, etc. To me, this shows dedication and for the student, it helps them deepen their practice safely.
If you’re practicing online, comment on the videos with questions you have, or message the teacher directly. Help and support can still be present in the online yoga realm.
4. Check Your Expectations
If you started gymnastics, you wouldn’t expect to do the full splits or land a back handspring day one. The same applies to yoga! Check your expectations at the door and keep an open mind.
Whether you can or cannot touch your toes doesn’t matter and doesn’t make you a “better” or “worse” yogi. One of the biggest yoga tips for beginners? Stay in your lane. Translation: Don’t get caught up in the comparison game.
We’re all on our own journey, going at our own pace, to our own beat. Enjoy the ride!
If the yogi next to you is lifting effortlessly into a Handstand while you sweat just watching her, resist the urge to compare or feel disheartened. You have no idea how long she’s been practicing (or whether she did gymnastics for years) and none of that is relevant to your practice.
We’re all on our own journey, going at our own pace, to our own beat. Enjoy the ride! Don’t rush. Just know that with time, patience, and a consistent practice, you will progress and gain what it is you’re seeking through your practice (flexibility, mobility, strength, advanced poses, etc.).
5. Get the Right Gear
As a yoga teacher, one of the many questions I’m asked by newbies is what to wear, and that’s a valid question! The answer can vary slightly based on the discipline, but as a general rule, wear clothes that you’re comfortable in.
Choose clothing that is breathable and can move with you but won’t get in the way (think leggings, sports bras, tank tops). If you’re doing Hot Yoga, consider swapping out leggings for shorts. But, again, ultimately being comfortable is most important.
Also – a yoga mat! I recommend that you do not immediately go out and invest a lot of money in a yoga mat. If you can, try out a few different types of mats first. Yoga studios typically offer mats you can borrow or rent, or maybe you have a friend that will loan you a mat.
The benefits of yoga are far reaching.
If you can’t try a mat first (or once you have and are ready to make a purchase), do a bit more research to find the best type of mat based on your needs. Grip and traction are key for everyone. Durability, eco-friendly materials, extra cushioning or length are all additional features you may want to consider.
If you’re looking for the top yoga mats on the market, all tested, compared and reviewed in one video, check out: Best Yoga Mat Buyer’s Guide – Our 10 Favorite Yoga Mats On the Market
Finally – yoga props! Don’t feel like you need to buy everything under the sun, but as a new yogi, two yoga blocks and a yoga strap are what I deem the essentials if you choose to invest in some props. (I do recommend props for safety and to help you progress in your practice).
Curious about different types of yoga props, their uses, and what you need to know about them? Here are 10 Yoga Props to Enhance Your Practice that are especially helpful for yoga for beginners
6. Keep Going
You will be sore. There are poses you won’t get right away (or maybe ever). At some point, you’ll probably take a class you don’t like with a teacher you don’t love. There will be days you just can’t focus and leave feeling frustrated.