A Beginner’s Guide To Yoga

Sep 24 2015 Tags: Exercise, Weight Loss

In 2000, about six million Americans practiced yoga or Tai Chi on a regular basis. By 2007, that figure had risen to about fourteen million, which is a staggering increase over a mere seven years. As yoga has spread and grown in popularity across America and the rest of the western world, more and more gyms and fitness centers in cities and towns both big and small offer a variety of different yoga classes. So if you’ve never done yoga before and would like to give it a whirl, here’s what you need to know about starting out.


Choosing a Yoga Class

Firstly, there are many different styles of yoga and some are more suited to beginners than others. Two styles that are usually suitable for beginners are Hatha and Vinyasa. Typically Hatha yoga is slow and gentle and aims to teach people the basics of yoga, so it’s a good option for someone with no previous experience who doesn’t want to start out with too vigorous a class. Vinyasa yoga classes are slightly more demanding than Hatha yoga classes and may be suited to the more physically fit beginner who wants to get a good workout while practising yoga. Vinyasa focuses on matching movements and postures to your breathing. As you develop and progress, you may want to try more challenging yoga classes such as Ashtanga yoga or hot yoga classes (e.g. Bikram yoga).


What You’ll Need

Once you’ve found a class in your area, you may wonder what you’ll need to bring along. When you call to book a place in the class, you could ask what you should bring. In terms of what you should wear, it’s advisable to dress in comfortable clothing that allows a wide range of movement. There is special yoga clothing available, but a loose-fitting t-shirt and a pair of shorts or gym trousers would probably do just fine.

Yoga is practiced on individual yoga mats and many yoga classes will provide mats for practitioners (sometimes at a small fee), but if you enjoy the first few classes, it’s a good idea to invest in your own mat as it’s more hygienic and it allows you to practice yoga at home.


What to Expect

Usually people lay out their mats side by side in rows, with all mats facing towards the top of the room where the teacher will be. Mats shouldn’t line up perfectly as you sometimes need to stretch out your arms when practicing yoga and you don’t want to hit your neighbor whenever you do this. Neither socks nor shoes should be worn when practicing yoga.


Yoga is a wonderful form of exercise as it can help you tone up as well as relieving stress and improving your general well being. If you have any worries about starting out, most yoga teachers will be more than happy to answer any questions you may have or make recommendations about what class would be best suited to you.

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This article was written by fitness blogger Maeve Kilbride who has practiced yoga in Dublin for two years now.


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