A comment I run across a lot is this: "I'd love to try yoga, but I don't really know where to start."This makes sense. Yoga is a BIG broad topic, it has grown leaps and bounds in America in the last decade, the lingo is foreign, there are many styles of yoga, there are many
misconceptions about yoga, AND (my personal favorite)....some people still think it's a cult. Hahahahahaha. Oh boy.
So. Let's go... how / what is the best way to start a yoga practice?
I hate to tell you, but the best place to start is an actual class with a teacher who knows what they're talking about. If you've never been to a yoga class before and it makes you anxious, watch a few online classes to get an idea of what yoga is like, but then head to a class. The best place to practice is WITH a teacher. In an actual class, the teacher can lead you, cue the poses thoroughly, and help you out if you get confused. All of this is to keep you safe
and help you to understand
the poses. Online classes are great if that's your only option, but nothing
compares to an encouraging teacher who helps you along. Find an instructor you like, and go from there.As far as classes go, a great place to start would be a "Gentle" class, "Gentle Flow" class, or a true "Beginners/Level 1" class, since they usually give more verbal cues and go at a slower pace. A slower pace is very good thing when you're unfamiliar with the pose names, not to mention all of the alignments. Gentle classes may be right up your alley, or you may end up changing to a different class when you're comfortable. Either way, these styles of classes will teach you the basics so that you can springboard into other types, tempos, and styles of yoga. When you look up a class schedule, read the description or just call the studio and ask questions! Make sure you're showing up at an appropriate class that will TEACH you. Set yourself up to have a good experience... don't accidentally show up at the advanced inversion class and then blame it on yoga. 🙂 Oh, and show up with an open mind. For example: Yoga classes usually have some sort of guided meditation, intention setting, or positive quote added in. You may think you'll hate that cheesy stuff. Go with an open mind, because it may just be exactly what you need to hear that day. It might just be your favorite part of class.
Lastly, yoga can be intimidating. I really do think that's a barrier for a lot of people. People probably think I can put my foot behind my head because I'm a yoga instructor. I can't. I probably will never be able to do that, and guess what? Most other people can't do it either. So please don't think it's all stuff like that. Furthermore, those that can do advanced poses have most likely worked at it for years. So just give it a try. I think you'll find two things: 1) yogis are generally a welcoming and accepting group and 2) people go to yoga for themselves, to find a little zen in the midst of their own stressful lives, not to watch you try out yoga for the first time. We all started somewhere, and we understand how confusing the first few classes can be. Relaaaaaaaax.
On the flip side of that, if you're an experienced yoga practitioner, make the new person feel welcome and at ease. You may just change their class experience, which could possibly change their life.
Love & Light.