A Spiritual Experience - Beginner's Guide to Yoga

A Spiritual Experience - Beginner's Guide to Yoga

Have you practiced yoga or know someone who does? Yoga contains many benefits, but it also provides an unparalleled sense of well being for those who are dedicated to practicing it. While low impact and easy on your joints, yoga can help you build strength and increase flexibility. Discover all of the tips you need to start yoga practice and get the most out of it.

What is Yoga and Where Does it Come From?

Yoga is a series of stretches, poses, and breathing exercises that have numerous benefits for your health. While it’s existed since around 3000 BC, yoga has become extremely popular in modern times for its health benefits and the sense of well being and calmness it provides. Although yoga originated in India, it’s spread to many countries throughout the world and yoga studios can now be found in just about every country.

Why Try a Yoga Class?

Not many activities are so beneficial and appealing that they often become a vital part of your lifestyle, but yoga is. The reasons to try a yoga class are vast, but the reasons you’ll fall in love with it are up to you. Whether it’s the calm feeling you leave class with afterward or the fact that it can be a killer workout that greatly lowers your stress levels, there are a lot of reasons that millions of people choose to spend their time in yoga class each week.

The First Things to Know About Yoga

If you’re at the point where you’re considering yoga practice, there are a few things you should know. Understanding the differences between types of yoga, the necessary equipment, and other info will set you up for success during your first class.

Know the Type of Yoga You’re Getting Involved With

When looking at various yoga classes near you, it’s important to know that not all yoga studios are the same. In fact, there are dozens of types of yoga, ranging from yin yoga to vinyasa, and many in between. Here are five of the different types that illustrate how different yoga classes can be:

  • Restorative Yoga - Very easy form of yoga that’s relaxing and great for beginners.  

  • Yin Yoga - Strong emphasis on stretching and holding deep stretches.

  • Vinyasa Yoga - Known as Power Yoga, this type will provide a good workout.

  • Kundalini Yoga - Provides an all around, well-balanced yoga experience.

  • Hot Yoga (AKA. Bikram Yoga) - Combines yoga and heat for a challenging session.

The Right Equipment for Yoga Class

Once you’ve made the decision to try a local yoga class, there are a few pieces of gear you’ll want to buy. Peruse this list of excellent starting items you’ll want to have before yoga class:

  • Yoga Matt

The main piece of gear you’ll want for yoga is a yoga matt. Available in many designs and varieties, yoga mats keep you from slipping while doing challenging poses and provide a reliable space for yoga practitioners to practice their art. You don’t have to break the bank to get a high-quality yoga matt - they can be found for as little as $10-20 at popular stores like Target.

  • Yoga Pants

While the perfect attire won’t enhance your skill in any sport, yoga does require you to be flexible, and so tight, rigid clothing such as jeans will be restrictive. A good pair of yoga pants will keep you in the zone, stretching without any inhibition. Plus, they feel smooth and sleek on your skin, helping you to get the most out of each yoga session.

  • Yoga Blocks (Optional)

While most yoga studios will have these available for their classes, investing in a pair of yoga blocks is an easy and affordable option for any aspiring yogi. The purpose of yoga blocks is that they let you complete stretches you may not be able to on your own. That few inches of extra stabilization helps a lot, and will certainly set you up for success in your home practice as well.

  • Yoga Strap (Optional)

Many yoga stretches and poses are challenging for beginners - they utilize muscles that aren’t normally used and require movements that most people aren’t used to. That’s where the yoga strap comes in - for those stretches that you can’t quite pull off, the yoga strap will make them more attainable and feasible, allowing you to get positive results from movements you may not otherwise be able to do.

  • Water Bottle (Optional)

Whether or not you’re doing hot yoga, there’s bound to be a lot of sweating involved. That also means that you’ll be losing water and will be in dire need of hydration. A sleek water bottle will allow you to get that extra drink of water between asanas, keeping you refueled and in the action.

  • Towel (Optional)

Many yoga practitioners prefer to bring a towel to their yoga classes, partially because the mats can get sweaty which can make traction very difficult. This is especially true when it comes to the challenging balance poses such as Dancer, Tree, and Eagle. Consider bringing a towel to keep your mat dry and your practice, effective.

Preparing for Your First Class - Useful Tips

Yoga can be very relaxing, but it’s also a significant workout that challenges your muscles, lungs, and endurance. These tips will help your first yoga experience go smoothly.

  • Avoid eating heavy foods in the hour before class.

  • Show up early to greet the instructor and find a comfortable spot.

  • Be prepared to take your shoes off before entering the studio.

  • Inform the instructor of any injuries you may have.

  • Remember to wear comfortable clothing and to bring your mat.

The Best Way to Learn About Yoga is to Try it For Yourself

The many forms of yoga have become extremely popular in recent years, and for good reason. Those who are interested in practicing yoga are likely to find it locally, and most schools have discounts that make it easy for you to try it for the first month. Ultimately, finding the right yoga studio that you love can be a life-enhancing experience that provides endless benefits for your well-being and health. We wish you best of luck on your journey.