I’ll never forget my first yoga class. I was in university, and I refused to tell anyone except for my best friend that I was going because I thought it was weird and embarrassing. I was really nervous because I had no idea what to expect out of a class, and I thought if people found out I was going, they’d think I was some kind of strange hippie.
My mind changed in that first class, and a few years later, I found myself not only practicing almost daily but training to become a yoga teacher myself.
Yoga is a wonderful practice, but if you’ve never tried it, it’s normal to feel a bit apprehensive! First impressions are everything, so it’s helpful to find a studio and class that suits your needs and desires before you jump in.
1. Start with a beginner class. Nothing is more discouraging than jumping into a class with people who have been practicing for years and finding yourself in a confused knot on the mat while everyone else around you flows seamlessly through complicated looking poses. Start with a beginner class so you can learn the poses and terms that will set a foundation for the rest of your practice.
2. Consider what kind of class you’d like to take. There are many styles of yoga you can choose from: Vinyasa, Hatha, Kundalini, Hot Yoga, Power, Bikram, Moksha, Yin, and more. Do a little research and check out YouTube videos to discover the style that is best for you.
3. Shop around. Many studios offer free or discounted classes for first time clients, so feel free to shop around and try out different studios in your area. You want to find a studio whose energy you connect with and who can offer what you’re looking for.
4. Watch videos. If you are nervous about going into a studio with no prior experience, consider trying a few classes at home. YouTube is a good source of short video clips, and we’ve also got a guide to the best yoga DVDs for beginners. These classes can help you to become familiar with yoga at your own pace and in the comfort of your own home before you move into a studio setting.
Most important is to relax and have fun with your yoga practice! Remember that you are in control of your practice and there are no rules that you have to follow. Practice the style you want, at the studio that you want, when and how you want.
Kate Horodyski is a freelance writer and traveler based in Halifax, Canada. You can find her on Instagram at @myspiritualroadtrip.
Images: Creative Commons user gotovan.