Whether you’re old or young, a marathon runner or just starting to get in shape, yoga is great addition to your fitness routine. Finding your first yoga class can be a little tricky. Here are a few tips to start you on your way.
There are many different types of yoga practice. Hatha or Vinyasa are good choices for beginners. Try Hatha for a slower practice or Vinyasa if you prefer a quicker pace. (Tip: Bikram is “hot yoga” practiced in a space heated to 100+ degrees. Students of yoga either love or hate Bikram. If you don’t like hot weather, steer clear of Bikram classes).
Find a beginning or level 1 class.
Many gyms offer yoga classes advertised as yoga for all levels. While these classes may be included in your membership fee, the instructor usually won’t be able to offer in-depth instruction for beginners because the class also needs to offer a challenge for more advanced students. If all the students are beginning, the instructor can focus on teaching the fundamentals of breathing and postures that will make your practice more enjoyable and effective.
Tell your instructor about any existing injuries.
Yoga can relieve pain from existing injuries, but it can also cause new ones if you force your body into a position it’s not ready for. Your instructor will usually ask if you have any injuries, but if she doesn’t, speak up. Also let your instructor know if you are pregnant. Many yoga studios offer pre-natal classes for expectant moms.
Wear comfortable clothes.
You can spend a fortune on specialty yoga clothes, but it’s not necessary. Any clothes that provide enough room for bending and stretching will be just fine.
Take advantage of new student offers.
Most yoga studios offer discounted packages for new students. Packages that offer 3 or 4 classes are your best bet. You don’t want to buy a package of 10 classes only to find out you don’t the studio. (Extra credit: check to see if your studio offers free meditation classes. Meditation is a great complement to yoga).
One last bit of advice.
Yoga is practiced barefooted, so be sure to practice good hygiene before heading off to class. You don’t want to be known as the new student with smelly feet!