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I want to start practicing Yoga: How to begin?

Two yogis practicing on blue and purple mandala towel top yoga mats

Deciding to start practicing yoga is a big step. Congratulations!

You've heard so many wonderful things about yoga and you know that you will benefit from engaging in this routine. But where do you start? If you're a beginner, where and how is the best way to get going with your new intention.

One question you may encounter is: should you go to a yoga class at a studio or gym or should you try yoga on your own at home?

This is a very relevant question, so let's take a look at the benefits of both to figure out which step to take is best for you.

Going to a yoga studio to take a class may feel a little intimidating at first. This is a legitimate feeling; you're not sure if you'll be able to do all the poses, will it be too hard, will you understand the terminology. Questions like these may raise some concern, so you decide to check out other ways to begin your yoga journey. 

Now that we live in a world with a thriving internet, it is quite easy to find yoga videos online. Whether you're exploring Instagram, YouTube, or if you just Google "yoga," you're going to be overwhelmed with the many options right there on your laptop or smartphone. Your yoga searches will lead you to websites featuring photos, short yoga sequences, and even full-length yoga classes. You'll find links to download mobile apps to your phone. And because of all this, access to yoga has never been easier, but will these applications help you start your yoga regimen?

Having these apps and videos at your finger tips is certainly a convenience for any yogi. If you go on vacation, you can have your yoga class right there with you. Just prop up your tablet in the hotel room or on the cabin deck and get your stretch on without missing a day of your new routine. But the question still remains: is this the place to begin?

If you're new to yoga, watching videos may be a challenge.

You'll see the instructor and listen to their directions, but you'll wonder if you're doing it right. How is it supposed to feel? What happens if you can't do the suggested poses on the screen? There's no way for you to ask questions or ask for assistance when you're watching a video. You'd hate running the risk of hurting yourself if you're not performing the poses correctly.

And yoga is more than the postures: there's the breath, the intention, and the mindful connection you establish in a yoga class.

 

yoga teacher showing student position on blue mandala yoga mat

As a first-time yogi, it is recommended that you attend a live yoga class so that you can gain a full understanding of yoga from a trained certified instructor. This may take some shopping around. Visit different studios in your area. Find ones that offer Introduction To Yoga Classes. They are typically free for the beginner. In these classes, you should be learning the basics and fundamentals of the yoga practice: breath, alignment, movement, basic postures, etc. And not only that, you should be learning the reasons behind the postures you're performing. What are the benefits and meanings of these foreign body positions? What are the variations and modifications of these poses in case your body is not flexible or mobile enough to do them? And as you learn these things, an instructor will see your improvement. They will be able to guide you forward on your yoga journey. A good teacher will make recommendations on what style or level of yoga is best for your intended goals. Maybe you're looking to improve your flexibility. Perhaps you'd like to find ways to relax your mind and body. You may even be training for a physical event and think yoga can help with your cross-training.

Your yoga instructor can guide you in the right direction

Related article: How to live a Yogic Lifestyle

As you start to advance in your yoga knowledge and ability, you can begin to rely more and more on your yoga instructor and classroom setting. The teacher is right there to give you one-on-one assistance and feedback. An instructor can provide hands-on adjustments when your hips aren't square in a particular pose. Your teacher is there to provide personal verbal cues, too, to help modify transitions from pose to pose. They can even hold you up while you're trying to balance your body in a dynamic posture.

Furthermore, the instructor is another set of eyes and ears for you. They see YOU! And because they can see you, they can help you. That's something NO video can provide

With a yoga instructor present, you'll see fast improvements to your practice: you'll begin to gain a greater understanding of this whole concept of yoga. It will no longer be a mystery to you, especially since the yoga teacher can pay close attention to YOU, the individual, so that your personal goals can be achieved.

Another benefit of attending a live yoga class is that it is a community experience. Entering into a yoga studio is like entering a space where everyone speaks the same language. This is your tribe. You are all there for the same reason. You gather together in the space with your yoga mats all lined up and you dig deep into your individual practice - together. It is said that the energy generated in the yoga room creates a powerful resonance within you; it raises the energy of empowerment and enlightenment simply because you're all practicing together. There is a true sense of "belonging" when you're in the class. You came together as a community to do something that can be difficult and hard. But because you're all in this together, you can encourage one another: we all make mistakes, we struggle, we fall, we have hard times. The world can be overwhelming out there, but with a little support from your friends and neighbors, it makes getting through the obstacle a little easier to manage.

3 yogis practicing yoga on best mandala yoga mats in purple blue and rainbow

Now, this doesn't mean you have to step away from the online yoga videos or delete those apps from your mobile device. You can still use them as supplements to your regular yoga practice among teachers and other yogis. They are very handy and useful, and it's great that you have them at your disposal. Use them when you're on vacation and want to continue your daily practice. Learn more about some yoga history or different styles of yoga. Use them to help with some mindful meditation practice when you're at the office.

But just remember, if you're just starting out as a brand new yoga student, your best bet for quality, well-rounded instruction, guidance, and understanding is by actually attending a yoga class. Give it a try!

 


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