Yoga is becoming more and more popular in this day and age. People from all around the world are starting to show an interest in the practice of yoga and immerse in the benefits that it provides. Do you want to know how to start yoga?
Starting new habits and maintaining them is a challenge. It’s important to figure out a way to incorporate yoga into your life, to feel joy and excitement around it, and not let it become a burden. Yoga is a tool you can use to better your life; it is a spiritual practice that uplifts you both externally and internally. As you become aware of the potency of this practice and you see the little ways in which it’s changing your life every day, you will naturally start to want to come back to your mat every day.
Before I lead you through a few tips for the yoga beginner, let’s go through some yoga facts so you can understand more of what this practice entails.
If you’re a complete beginner with no previous experience in the practice, yoga may seem weird, confusing, and maybe even difficult. But in reality, it’s quite the opposite! Yoga is a simple form of practice, that can easily be carried out by anyone who’s willing to give it a try.
So how do you start yoga? Let’s keep reading.
What is yoga?
In literal translation, yoga means union, which ultimately refers to a deep connection between mind, body, spirit, and the Universe.
Truly understanding what yoga is, can be difficult for a beginner. What’s interesting about yoga is that it’s an experiential practice: you have to go through your own process to understand. And most certainly, yoga represents different things to different people. But yoga is certainly not a competition, where the best posture wins a gold medal. Yoga is, in fact, not about the postures but uses postures as a tool to redirect the mind to higher consciousness.
For any of you who are interested in yoga, your interest is probably coming from either fitness or weight loss, but when you actually begin your practice, you will start experiencing benefits beyond the physical.
Yoga often starts out as one thing and ends up being something totally different. When you find out what yoga is for you, the real practice begins and fires up a new purpose.
Am I ready to start yoga?
You don’t need to be flexible or strong to start yoga, you don’t need to “feel ready”, and you certainly don’t need to do the crazy-looking advanced poses to qualify as a yogi.
The perfect body for the practice is the one you have, and the best time to start yoga is right now. What’s holding you back from starting?
But how do I start yoga?
How to start yoga? Know your WHY. How do you see yoga changing your life? Set intentions before every class and know that you are one step away from it manifesting into reality. We prepared a 15-tip guide to smoothen out the way into your yoga journey.
However, what’s most important is not how you start yoga, but how you can commit to the practice, so that you practice from a place of love, rather than feeling pressured to engage in physical activity; for yoga is much more than that.
List of tips — How to start yoga
HOW TO START YOGA: TIPS
1. JUST START
What’s holding you back?
Push your coffee table aside, make some room, and just start!
2. GET A YOGA MAT
There is no more significant symbol for the modern yoga practice than the yoga mat.
Even though they might have not existed when yoga was first being practiced, they provide much-needed support. For safety reasons alone, a good mat is a great investment.
WHY IT’S IMPORTANT TO CHOOSE THE RIGHT MAT
As a beginner, I purchased a 20$ mat from a fitness shop, foolishly thinking every mat is the same and that there’s no reason I should invest more money on a particular model or brand.
Soon enough, however, as I was just starting to enjoy the practice more, I began to see that my mat was peeling and flaking away (basically deteriorating itself), which got worse every time I showed up on my mat.
This led to excessive slipping and me feeling utterly unstable in most of the standing poses. Here’s a picture of my old mat after a few months of using it:
Things have drastically changed once I got introduced to the Manduka mats.
I learned that a low-quality yoga mat can actually create a more accident-prone environment and lead to injury. Furthermore, your mind will completely focus on how to keep yourself from slipping and falling. You are absolutely taken away from the mindfulness and steady breathing you are supposed to be feeling. I remember not being able to focus on my breathing because I was so scared I was going to fall over.
Manduka has a material that will never peel, flake, or fade. In fact, I find that the quality of the Manduka mat actually improves with use over time. The material is eco-friendly, and it prevents absorption into the mat, which means that it’s less prone to bacteria and it’s very easy to clean.
With Manduka, every yoga pose feels lighter, I never slip on the mat, I always feel grounded and stable, and to this day, this mat looks and feels like it’s new.
If you’re convinced that you want to take on a yoga practice and you’re totally ready to commit to this transformative practice, a good mat like Manduka is the best investment!
Check out the Manduka-Pro/ProLite mats below!
3. START ONLINE
Instead of attending classes and going to studios, spending a bunch of money to try something that you don’t even know if you’re going to enjoy or not, go online and browse the internet. See what shows up and try to follow along.
Practicing yoga at home is especially helpful if you fear that you might not be able to follow along at a studio class. It’s a fantastic way to start things out, and by the time you actually hit the studio, you’ll feel so much more comfortable!
To help you find the best online yoga classes and programs, I have created an article about the best online platforms for practicing yoga at home, based on my own experience and reviews of yogis from all around the world. Check it out here!
4. DON’T WEAR SOCKS
Yoga is traditionally practiced barefoot! And trust me, that’s the way to go!
Most of the yoga poses require us to have our feet in direct contact with the ground. This is important for maintaining the balance and stability of the body while performing a pose. At the same time, yoga is not just about aligning the body in some yoga pose or the other, and is about forming a deep connection between ourselves and the Universe.
You want no barrier between you and the mat. Take off the socks!
5. TRY ALL TYPES OF YOGA
There are multiple types of yoga; and while all yoga types strive for the same outcome, they often differ in structure and physical manifestation.
Figure out what you like and what best suits your needs!
To get started on your own journey, ask yourself, where do you want the practice to take you? Are you looking to sweat your way into a lean form, or does a gentle, more meditative approach sound more appealing?
Ashtanga, Hatha, Vinyasa, Yin, Kundalini, Iyengar, Bikram, and the list goes on — try them all. Experiment! 🙂
6. EARLY BIRD GETS THE WORM
Yoga was traditionally intended as a morning practice. *hence the Sun Salutations Practicing yoga in the morning brings on a deeper sense of connection and sets the whole course of the day for success. Yoga is by far one of the best things to start your day with. Can you see yourself waking up earlier to practice yoga? How would you incorporate yoga into your morning routine?
If you’re not able to practice yoga in the morning, you can definitely still practice later on in the day. Don’t ever skip yoga if you couldn’t make it onto your mat in the early hours of the day. The benefits of yoga are still potent at any time of the day.
7. STAY CONSISTENT
It’s incredibly important to figure out a way in which you can practice regularly and build a routine out of it.
If you only practice when it’s convenient or when you feel good, then yoga is more of a hobby that you choose to look at on Monday and forget it exists for the rest of the week. If you want to experience the deepest truth yoga has to offer, you must develop the kind of devotional determination needed to progress along this internal path.
As a beginner, you shouldn’t force your body to do anything that feels uncomfortable. Start with easy, beginner-level classes. Small consistent effort is the key to success.
Ultimately, there really is nothing I can say or do to motivate you to succeed at staying consistent with yoga and create a habit out of it in the long run. The power is in YOUR hands.
8. FOCUS ON YOUR BREATH
The breath is the foundation of yoga. Working with the breath in the practice of yoga can not only be challenging but also sometimes frustrating, especially for a beginner.
Maybe the greatest challenge of the yoga practice is that you are expected to maintain a calm, steady breath while you move through increasing levels of difficulty.
As a beginner, your mind will keep drifting away from your breath. It is your job to bring it back, to learn that connecting to our breath is the art of connecting to our Selves.
If you have any breathing issues or disease, I recommend you try out the more still, meditative types of yoga, which include Restorative Yoga, Yin Yoga, and Slow Vinyasa.
Did you know that the physical practice of yoga was originally intended to prepare the body for meditation?
Yoga and meditation together will do wonders. Meditation is a powerful practice that works to still your mind, calm your body, and bring you into an endless present moment. It’s something you can do alone, at any time, any place, and for however long you desire.
However, sitting upright in a seated position is not only difficult mentally but very much physically as well. A meditation cushion is a total game-changer. One is very supportive, designed to bring comfort and ease to your meditation practice.
Check out our favorite meditation cushion on Amazon here!
10. INSPIRATION IS KEY
Inspiration is an important part of the practice and the key tool to stay consistent. Where do you draw inspiration from?
To inspire yogis, we put together a list of 300 YOGA QUOTES that you can come back to, every time you seek inspiration. On top of that, if you’re an active Instagram user, I’m sure you’d love to follow some inspirational yogis: 21 Instagram Yogis to follow in 2021!
Stay inspired to practice— it will take you places. 🙂
11. READ A YOGA BOOK
Yoga books play an important role in your understanding of yoga; they give you a much better insight into the philosophy, history, meaning, purpose, and many other aspects of yoga.
YOGA BOOKS — MUST-READS
12. BE PATIENT
Frustration is a common part of yoga that we all experience at some point in the practice.
Most certainly, there are going to be yoga poses that are not accessible to you at the very beginning. But yoga is a journey. One that requires patience, trust, and acceptance. And along the way, the lessons you learn are invaluable.
As one famous yoga guru once said: “DO YOUR PRACTICE AND ALL IS COMING“
So don’t rush this process, and instead, let it flow. But remember to keep practicing, keep showing up on your mat every day.
13. WEAR COMFORTABLE CLOTHES
When you practice yoga, you definitely want to put on clothes that make you feel comfortable and set you in the mood for movement.
Practicing yoga in my pajamas is definitely my guilty pleasure.
But after all, clothes aren’t really the most important part of the yoga journey. However, I’m sure we all like to feel comfortable in our clothes, or let’s just be honest— we all like to show off our fancy yoga outfits when we show up at our studio or take a stroll through the park.
So if you’re looking for some inspiration, one yoga clothing brand that we love is CRZYOGA. Their clothes are perfect for yoga, fashionable, and affordable.
Check out their online shop on Amazon here.
14. GET YOGA BLOCKS
If you’ve never done yoga before, or you’re just getting things started, and you’re generally not very flexible, the best and most efficient tool for you to use is a yoga block!
Yoga blocks are very useful props for anyone to use during the practice. Blocks make poses more accessible by providing length, support, and proper alignment.
15. JOIN A YOGA STUDIO
You might love your home yoga practice. I do too!
And I get it— joining a public class can be really scary and intimidating. I’ve been there! But practicing yoga in a room full of people, within a community of yogis, is totally different. You need to be there to experience it!
It’s the best opportunity to learn more about yoga, to advance in your practice, and to build quality friendships with like-minded individuals.
However, I am in no way pressuring you to join a yoga studio right away! It might be quite challenging and hard to follow along, especially if you’ve never done yoga before! So take your time, start yoga at home, and when you feel ready to join a studio, you’ll know! 🙂
I hope you’re all set to start yoga and will take these yoga tips with you on your journey.
Would love to hear your thoughts and questions in the comments below!