Everything you need to know about starting yoga

Starting anything new can be daunting, and yoga is no exception with its many poses and multiple styles. Yoga can feel especially intimidating because there’s the perception that you need to be thin, bendy and physically fit to practise yoga, but trust me, that really isn’t the case.

If you are thinking about starting yoga but you don’t know where to start, here are the answers to questions that I often get asked. I hope these answers help you to feel more confident about rolling out a mat and giving it a go!

  1. WHICH STYLE OF YOGA IS BEST FOR BEGINNERS?

If possible, I’d recommend doing a Yoga for Beginners course to start with, as this will break down all the key poses at a slow pace to give you the best start. However, if that’s not possible, then Hatha or Iyengar are both styles of yoga that tend to be suitable for beginners because of the steady pace. Every teacher is different, so it’s best to discuss the class suitability with the teacher before attending your first class.

  1. WHAT EQUIPMENT DO I NEED?

Some yoga studios provide equipment, but if you’re practising at home, you’ll need a yoga mat. I also recommend having two yoga bricks to bring the floor closer which is particularly helpful if you are feeling stiff. I use bricks all the time in my practice, and they make a big difference. If you don’t have the budget to purchase these, you can always substitute with things from around your house, such as hardback books or sturdy shoe boxes. If you’d like to purchase equipment, I recommend Yogamatters.

  1. ONLINE OR IN PERSON – WHICH IS BEST?

Both work well and so this really comes down to personal preference. Practising online is much more private as you are in the privacy of your own home which eliminates comparisonitis and reduces feelings of self-consciousness. It also tends to be much more convenient; zero travel time means it can slot into your day multiple times per week without you having to leave the house. When I used to teach in-person Yoga for Beginners courses, there would always be weeks where people were not able to attend due to work or family commitments. People would then end up dropping out because they were worried about being behind because of what they had missed, whereas this isn’t a problem with online tuition because if you are unable to make a live online class you can catch the on-demand replay. And, if you position your camera so that the teacher can see you it can be just as effective as attending in person. However, some people prefer to go to an in-person class, whether that’s because of distractions at home or because they prefer an in-person experience.

  1. HOW MANY TIMES A WEEK SHOULD I PRACTISE?

Once a week is great, but the more you practise, the greater the impact. We learn through repetition, so if you can practice multiple times per week then you’re more likely to see more rapid progress. However, the classes do not need to be 60-minutes long; little and often works really well. That’s why I use a combination of live and on-demand classes for my online Yoga for Beginners course so that my students can practise with me more than once a week. Since I have structured the course in this way, I have seen a massive shift in the transformation of my students over the space of just 6 weeks.

  1. WHAT SHOULD I WEAR?

You don’t need a fancy yoga outfit. All you need is clothing that you can move freely in, such as leggings or jogging bottoms and a t-shirt or vest top. You don’t need footwear as yoga is done in bare feet.

  1. WHAT TIME OF DAY SHOULD I PRACTISE?

This is completely down to personal preference, your daily routine and also your teacher’s timetable if you are attending a live class! If you are doing an on-demand class, some people find it beneficial to practise first thing in the morning to set you up for the day ahead before the busyness of the day takes over. However, some people prefer to practise in the evening to unwind and relax at the end of the day. Whenever you choose to do it, make sure it’s not immediately after a big meal.

  1. DO I NEED TO BE FLEXIBLE?

No! I hear people say “I’m not flexible enough to do yoga” all of the time. Find a teacher who is experienced with teaching normal people – people like you and me who are stiff from sitting at desks, driving, doing sport and getting old! If you find the right teacher and the right class, flexibility is not an issue.

If you’d like to start learning yoga with me, you can do so via my online 6-week Yoga for Beginners course, my on-demand Yoga for Beginners programme or with 1-to-1 private online tuition.

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