Yoga is one of the best ways to relax, keep fit and improve your flexibility and strength. It also has other important health benefits, including lower blood pressure, reduced anxiety and increased strength in bones.
Once you have decided that you want to give yoga a try, don’t be intimidated. There are classes for all levels and abilities.
Before you join up to a class, have a read of our guide below. It will explain all about the benefits and pleasures of yoga.
Choose a yoga type
There are many different variations of yoga to choose from, so before picking a class you might want to do some research on the style of yoga that would suit you best. If you don’t initially pick a class that suits your personality and physical fitness level, don’t get put off – there is a perfect style for everyone. Most yoga beginners find that a hatha or vinyasa style class is the most appropriate for them. Remember, although these are very basic yoga styles, you can always upgrade to a harder class later on.
Find a local class
Use the internet and other local resources to help you find a beginner’s yoga class in your area. Keep an eye out in shop windows for yoga class posters, as well as in local newspapers and fitness magazines. You could also ask your local gym whether they run any yoga classes or can recommend someone who does.
Choose a class that is close to your home or work and is convenient for getting too each week. Make sure you pick a beginner’s class, if you are unsure ask the class leader to suggest which class would be best for you. If you like your teacher you will enjoy the classes more and feel more comfortable. So if you don’t get on well with the first teacher you meet, keep trying out new classes until one feels right.
What you will need
It is up to you whether you want to buy your own yoga mat before trying yoga out. If not, most gyms or yoga studios have basic yoga equipment that can be hired for your class. Turn up in loose, breathable clothing. For some ideas of the best yoga outfits, use online specialist sites such as Beyond Yoga. Yoga enthusiast, Frankie Paige likes their yoga cami and other specialised yoga wear.
What to expect
At the start of the class, you will need to place your yoga mat facing the front of studio. Don’t place your mat too close to your neighbor as you will need quite a bit of room for certain positions.
Some yoga teachers choose to start the class by a short chant, breathing exercise or meditation exercise. This will be followed by simple warm-up positions, more complex poses, stretches and a final relaxation exercise.
Don’t be alarmed if your teacher gently massages your shoulders during the final relaxation exercise. This may then be followed by another short chant.
You may feel slightly sore after your first class, just ensure that stretch and keep moving.