1) Pick the right class! Choose a class specifically labeled for beginners. Call the studio ahead of time- they will be happy to help place you in the class that’s right for you.
2) Get there early. Plan to arrive at least 15 minutes ahead of time. This will give you time to fill out the health wavier and meet the teacher. Let the teacher know that you are new to yoga. Arriving early allows you time to settle and start to unwind.
3) Place your shoes outside of the studio. Yoga is practiced barefoot. Studios will often have a place outside of the practice area to place shoes.
4) Turn your cell phone off, or better yet, don’t bring it in! You are here to relax and focus on your body and breath for the next hour.
5) Modify. Starting a new practice can be overwhelming. If you need to rest, rest. Take care of yourself. It is always acceptable to sit or lay quietly on your mat. Yoga is about tuning into your body and quieting your mind, not about putting your foot behind your head! Sitting still and listening to your breath is the heart of the practice.
6) Use props. Props don’t make you a bad student- they help you achieve better alignment and ease in a pose.
7) Give yourself time! Like starting anything new, yoga may seem strange and unfamiliar at first. Try different classes and different teachers to find the right fit for you. You may find that you enjoy morning classes more than evening classes, or vice versa.
8) Let go of judgments. Above all, try to enjoy your practice! Focus on your breath and don’t compare yourself to other students. Every person has a different skeleton and will look different in the same pose.
Now get out there and practice! Stay tuned for more helpful hints, such as how to use those yoga props!
Kara Unal JD, RYT