Yoga can seem overwhelming at first so here are a few tips to start you off on an awesome and stress free yoga journey:
1. Don’t be intimidated
It is easy to be intimidated at first when there are so many types of yoga and levels of difficulty. If you decide to walk in to any class, there will definitely be more advanced yogis that are doing some crazy poses. Go at your own pace and do not pay attention to how advanced others are. This is a personal journey, not a competition. It would be best to start with a class that is specifically for beginners because there is more guidance and the instructor is most likely doing the moves with you. In some intermediate classes the instructor will walk around the room and only tell you what to do. So if you are not yet familiar with the names of the poses make sure to take a beginners class (knowing the names is not essential but definitely makes it easier).
2. Prepare to feel it
This is no joke. Yoga is a workout. Even though some poses might look easy and feel effortless, trust me your muscles are working! Most times the soreness isn’t felt until the next day but you will feel something. And if you keep up the yoga routine you will see results in muscle definition, flexibility, balance and weight loss.
This is extremely important especially if you are doing hot yoga. As with most workouts, increased circulation helps free stored toxins within the body. The more water you drink the more waste you get rid of. It sounds simple but many people forget to hydrate before, during and after yoga and end up with a headache. With hot yoga I would suggest taking electrolytes as well (Gatorade is a big no!). Coconut water is fantastic, water with a squeeze of lemon and some Himalayan salt or a healthy electrolyte drink (I like Endura by Metagenics).
4. Don’t pay a fortune
When beginning yoga it is best to try different places and many types of yoga before committing to any one location. Yoga can become pricy when adding up all the expenses: the clothes, the equipment and the classes. So keep it simple! Wear something comfortable, no need to shop at an expensive yoga store for clothes. The yoga mat and all the extras can also wait. Most studios have mats that you can use. As for the classes, many studios or gyms offer a free or discounted introductory class. Don’t empty out your pockets until you are ready to commit, and even then a simple yoga mat will take you a very long way.
Again, another no-brainer but when you are doing some weird contorted pose for the first time you might find yourself holding your breath. Breathing is incredibly important! It helps keep your mind present and opens up your muscles to deepen the pose you are in. It also aids in detoxification so don’t forget to take those deep cleansing breadths!
6. Let go
The yoga studio is meant to be a safe haven. No one is laughing at you for what you are doing. So let loose and push your limits. This is a place to attempt those difficult poses, where you have the guidance of an expert. No one really cares if you are getting the pose or not (except maybe the instructor, making sure you don’t hurt yourself). Most of the people there are completely absorbed in their own yoga experience. So leave the negative thoughts and self-criticisms behind and have fun with it!