Starting yoga can seem like a daunting task, and the challenges that face beginners can be overwhelming. How do you begin an exercise practice when you’re out of shape and you’re not sure if you have the time to commit to a daily routine? 

Beginner Yoga Tips

The fact that you’re interested in starting a yoga class is a step in the right direction. There are many ways that you can make your yoga practice work for you, even if you only have a few minutes each day to dedicate to it. Use these yoga beginner tips as a jumping-off point to get started. You do not need to use all of them—allow your yoga practice to naturally grow and develop over time.

  • Modify for your body and needs
    Particularly at the beginning, it will be difficult to accomplish every pose covered in your class. If you find that you’re having trouble, your instructor can help you find ways to make it easier on your body. Don’t be afraid to use block straps, or blankets to make the practice easier for your body.
  • Begin where you are
    Yoga is a transformative journey meant to lead you towards some type of goal, whether that goal is less stress, better health, or inner peace. Knowing where you are can help you know where to begin and take your first steps towards your goal. Consider reaching out to a local studio for recommendations and guidance for your level of experience and fitness.
  • Avoid making comparisons
    Because yoga is your own journey, there is no point in checking out someone else’s progress for the sake of comparing and judging yourself to them. You can draw motivation, appreciation, and inspiration from their bodies’ capabilities; however, don’t beat yourself up if you aren’t at that point yet. Regular practice will help you get there.
  • Stay hydrated
    Hydration is crucial, regardless of the form of exercise you’ve chosen. While it isn’t recommended to drink during yoga, there are some ways that you can stay hydrated throughout your practice. About an hour before class, for instance, start sipping a 16-ounce bottle of water. Drink another 20 ounces after you’ve finished your yoga class to replace fluids.
  • Remove distractions
    Worries, to-do lists, and smartphone notifications all need to be set aside for a successful session. Write down your to-do list before your practice and turn your phone off. Shift your focus away from worries and instead focus on your breath, body, and intentions while practicing.
  • Set an intention
    Setting intentions for your yoga classes can help you feel motivated to work towards your goals. An intention is a purpose for your practice, which can change for each session if you prefer. Your intention is a tool to focus your mind away from thoughts and distractions, towards feelings of peace, kindness, acceptance, or whatever else you feel is needed in your life.
  • Breathe
    The flow of your breath is essential in yoga classes. By breathing slowly and deeply throughout your regular routine, you increase circulation and reduce stress while stimulating your mind and body. Yogic breathing helps reduce the risk of injury, allowing your body to relax as it moves through different poses.
  • Eat mindfully
    Be mindful of your eating habits, particularly if you prefer to eat before your yoga class. If you’re hungry, a light snack can help you fuel up for your class. Many people prefer to snack on small portions of almonds, fiber-packed fruits, or sports bars. Avoid greasy or garlicky foods before your class. Try not to eat anything 2-3 hours before class otherwise you’ll feel some discomfort in poses that put pressure on your belly.
  • Respect your body’s limits
    Discovering and knowing your physical and mental limits is vital to succeed in yoga. Listen to your body as you stretch, move, and breathe. If you have trouble breathing or experience pain, adjust the pose until you can do it without struggling. Also, keep in mind that some poses shouldn’t be attempted for those with certain conditions, such as injury, pregnancy, and chronic illness.
  • Cultivate a sense of humor
    Having a healthy sense of humor can help you navigate moments when you feel uncomfortable, awkward, or even embarrassed trying out new yoga poses. Keep in mind that there is no pressure to be perfect as you move through different postures. In fact, smiling and internally laughing during yoga classes can help you remain relaxed and calm which will encourage success and prevent unnecessary suffering.

Courtesy / Credit: Yoga Basics

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