We all have to start somewhere. Everyone remembers their first awkward yoga class where you are just trying to figure out your left from your right, what the strange pose names are and where you’re meant to put your feet.
It generally takes about five yoga classes to get the hang of it and not feel so uncoordinated. So once you know the difference between Warrior 1 and Warrior 2 you should be right, right? Well, no one ever really tells you that yoga is hard. And it’s not just the physical poses, there’s the whole mental aspect too.
Starting yoga for the first time can be a bit daunting so I asked my team of teachers if they had any tips and advice for yoga newbies and here’s what they had to say:
- If you have the slightest sensation or inclination that you are maybe going too deeply or too strongly; then you are.
- Too often our practice is based on what we want to achieve on the mat, when our practice should be about what we want to achieve off the mat. If you keep that one concept in mind and remember to breathe, your practice will always be productive and safe.
- Don’t try to fit yourself into what you think a yoga practice should be. Try and fit your yoga practice to you.
- Do less. It’s really easy to get caught up with all of the things you need to focus on: alignment, keeping the neck and shoulders soft, the breath… Focus on one aspect during each class and you can slowly build from there.
- Resist the temptation to judge. Yoga can seem strange at first so bring an open mind and don’t worry about what other people are doing around you. Focus on the instructions from the teacher and after a couple months of regular practice you won’t even notice the other students in the room.
- Move at your own pace. Yoga takes practice just like anything else. It’s called a yoga practice for a reason. Try not to focus on any end goals but rather approach your practice with an open mind every time you show up on your mat. It is a new way of moving your body and training your mind and it takes time and dedication.
- Do a beginner’s course (this enables you to learn the basics with people who are in the same boat as you, and you should finish the course with confidence to walk into any general class).
- Do some light weights (strength in your poses comes with time but I found lifting some light weights a few times a week – even just hand weights – gave me a stronger foundation for some of the more challenging poses).
- When your teacher tells you that you are allowed to come into Child’s Pose at any time they mean it (give yourself space and time to rest in class rather than feeling the pressure to push through and keep up with others who may have had a regular practice for years).
- Do yoga with a friend (there’s nothing like a text from your BFF at 5am telling you to get your butt to practice).
- Invest in a good mat, you wouldn’t rock up to a tennis lesson with a crappy racket, a good mat sets you up with a solid foundation for your poses.
Check out our beginner-friendly Vinyasa Basics classes and our Beginner’s Yoga Courses.