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Welcome to the ultimate yoga guide for beginners. I’ll share with you who yoga is for, what to bring, and what to expect for the first class. I know how hard it can be to try something new, and it can cause anxiety for a lot of us. If you’re like me, I research the heck out of anything before I try it. That’s why I’m glad you’re here looking to improve your health with yoga! Are you ready? Let’s go!
Who yoga is for & benefits of yoga:
First, there are three components to a well-rounded fitness routine: strength, cardio, and stretching. For a lot of people, yoga is such a widespread, easily accessible workout, that it hits the mark for the stretching component. You can take yoga online, through an app, or at your local studio.
Yoga is for everybody. Now, you may be thinking you’re not flexible enough to go, but yoga will help improve flexibility. Don’t fall into the trap of talking yourself out of going! Other benefits of yoga include increased muscle strength, improved energy, weight reduction, and mental clarity.
What to bring & equipment used:
Most yoga studios will provide all the equipment necessary. However, some studios charge a fee for a mat rental or towel. Others prefer to bring their mat or do yoga at home.
- Yoga mat – this is my favorite mat as its thicker and lasts a long time with proper care
- Towel – to absorb sweat and can double as a stretching aid
- Water – at least 16 ounces, more for hot yoga. I use this 40 ounce container.
- Hair ties
Hot yoga recommendations:
- Yogitoes – for hot yoga or anyone that sweats a lot, this will change your practice. It is a large specialized towel that goes on top of the yoga mat to absorb sweat and prevent hands from slipping.
A yoga studio should provide all the additional equipment. However, if you’re practicing at home, you may want to invest in a yoga block.
What to expect at the first class:
Before attending a class, look for a beginner or level 1 class. Marked on the schedule, these classes will spend additional time teaching the fundamentals. If it’s not possible to attend a beginner class, try to arrive early and let the instructor know you’re new to yoga.
To recap, you brought: a mat, towel, water, hair ties, & yogitoes. I recommended women wear leggings, a sports bra, and a tight-fitting tank top. Many yoga poses are inverted, and a loose-fitting top will fall in your face. Now you know why many people practice yoga in a sports bra only.
Be prepared to take off your shoes before you enter the studio. Yoga is a barefoot activity. When you enter the room, find a spot for your mat (usually, they are lined up in rows). Then, place your yogitoes on top. Keep your water and towel nearby. The instructor will let you know what other equipment they are using that day, but I always grab a yoga block or two anyway. I find them helpful even if the instructor doesn’t cue to use it.
Now, honesty time, especially since this is the ultimate yoga guide for beginners! The first class is going to be difficult for many reasons: yoga has a specific language, your body hasn’t moved in these poses before, and learning anything new is uncomfortable. Knowing this going in will significantly help you put less pressure on yourself. Skills will improve each time, and you’ll learn what the poses are as you go.
Throughout the class, the instructor will call out different poses and explain each one as they go. Some poses are done in specific orders repetitively (like yoga sun salutations). The class should always end with Shavasana, which is a semi-meditative state of lying down on your back with your arms and legs relaxed. Bonus tip: put the towel over your eyes for this (pure bliss)!
What to look forward to:
Once your skills improve, you’ll be able to pair poses with breath. You’ll be able to know the poses by name, which allows you to dive deeper into each pose and fine-tune it. Also, you may reach incredible mental bliss during Shavasana and beyond. I find yoga astounding for calming down my “inner computer” that goes all day with 100 tabs open. I hope it does the same for you!
Finally, congratulate yourself on trying something new and scary! I hope you enjoyed reading the ultimate yoga guide for beginners. All the equipment we discussed is linked below. You may also like the gift guide for fitness lovers!
Till next time,