If you’re ready to take the plunge, here’s a few tips to get you started:
- Don’t go on YouTube and start randomly doing yoga at home on your own. You are unlikely to find the magic of yoga this way up, twisting your neck to see the screen! Maybe use YouTube to research different STYLES of yoga but it’s a bit overwhelming and confusing out there in YouTubeLand and very hard to learn yoga this way. Better to start with understanding the different styles and their benefits. Have a moochie around Google and get your head around which style would suit you and what you would like to gain from your yoga. What is it that has drawn you towards this at this point in your life? Why now? Why Yoga?
- Do your research; find local Yoga teachers and studios in your area. Read a few blogs, testimonials, check out Facebook pages, ask around for personal recommendations.
- Choose a couple of teachers that appeal to you and seem to meet your needs and answer your questions in how they present themselves. Then e-mail the teacher/s and ask for a phone call to discuss what you want from a yoga class (e.g. stretching out tight hamstrings, calming anxiety, coping with chronic pain…) and ask what they offer in the way of Beginners classes or Workshops and ask what a typical class would be like. Find out what they provide in the way of equipment. Explain that you’re new to yoga and looking to try a few different classes out before you commit. Most teachers understand this and will be happy to let you ‘try before you buy’! If you get a great feeling after your chat, then sign up. If not, keep looking.
- Think about your range of mobility for a general yoga class. Can you get up from and down onto the floor? Can you kneel, put weight on your wrists, lie on your front? on your back? If the answer is no to any of these, discuss it with your chosen yoga teacher so they can be prepared to provide you with props or a chair. It doesn’t mean that you can’t do yoga! The teacher just needs the heads up so they can fit their lesson plan around you. Also if you are pregnant, have High or Low Blood Pressure, Sciatica etc, the teacher needs to know in advance to consider how they can tailor, at least part of the class, to your needs and consider how to modify certain postures for you within the class.
- Consider a few private one-to-one classes before attending a public class if you feel anxious about stepping through the door, or if you want to be sure about a health condition that needs special attention from the teacher. This will help them to understand your individual concerns better and it will make it easier for them to integrate you into a busy public class.
- Be brave and book your spot at the next available class or a private appointment. Go For It!
- Don’t go out and buy lots of yoga gear. The teacher will probably have a spare mat, wear comfortable clothes and take a blanket and a bottle of water and you should be fine for your first few classes.
- Don’t be afraid to try a few different teachers and classes. I have had lots of people who have come to my class once and never again! Either they moved on to a different teacher, the time wasn’t convenient or they found the class too slow / fast / boring / energetic / whatever. It doesn’t really matter. We are all unique individuals and need something personal from this special time that we have put aside ourselves. I am never offended if my style of yoga doesn’t suit someone. And I’m happy to signpost them to another teacher to go and try.
- So, next on the to-do-list, once you’re happy that YOGA IS FOR YOU!! (Yippeeee, Join The Best Club Ever) is buying some yoga kit. You need a good quality yoga mat. The cheap ones have nasty plastic chemicals in, so expect to pay £20-25 for a decent mat and check out the Eco credentials first. Look for Toxin-free Yoga mats, free from phthalates especially. You want a sticky mat so that you don’t slip and about 4mm thick, good for knee comfort etc but not too thick for balances. (Pilates mats tend to be thicker and very wobbly in Tree Pose!) Wear stretchy pants without thick seams that will dig in when you lie down, close fitting T-shirt so that it doesn’t ride up when you’re upside down (yes, you will be upside down at some point, no getting away from it) and if you have long hair, bun it up somehow so you can actually see your yoga teacher! A blanket is lovely for relaxation and you may want to buy a yoga block or two, a strap and bring a cushion from your sofa for extra padding under delicate knees or under your head at the end of class in relaxation. After a few weeks of classes, you will have all your kit sorted and probably a nice yoga bag too to carry it all in and store it together at home so you don’t forget anything next time you rush out the door excited for your weekly yoga class.
- Try to practise a little bit of what you have learned at home in-between classes. Online Yoga Studios are great for this, but choose one that dovetails into your Yoga teacher’s style. Ask them for one they would recommend. Find a time of the day that suits you. For example, after a shower in the morning or after the school run or work. Before bed is a nice time to do a few stretches or a spot of meditation.
P.S. ENJOY!!! Yoga is not a QUICK FIX…what I love about it is that it is truly LifeLong Learning. There is so much to discover about your own beautiful self. It is initially a physical practise, but once the postures become familiar, it becomes an inward journey of discovery. You will be amazed at what you find out about yourself!!
So. Step up. Step onto a yoga mat and give it some time to settle into your mind, body and soul.
You won’t regret it…… All good things come to those who practise and persevere and smile at the same time! Om Shanti x