Getting Started With Yoga

  • 30 Apr - 06 May, 2022
  • Mag The Weekly

When you're brand new to yoga, you're likely to have a lot of questions about what you're getting into, including what to wear, what to bring to class, and how to prepare yourself. Knowing what's expected and what works ahead of time will help you to feel more comfortable during your first class. Here's what you should know before your first flow.

Find a quality teacher

It is much easier and more enjoyable, to learn yoga, with all its detailed and subtle physical and mental aspects, from an experienced, qualified, teacher. You can find plenty of free videos on YouTube, or apps which will guide you through the beginner poses.

Respect your body’s inner wisdom and limitations

Don’t push yourself to do anything that feels dangerous or wrong for you. This is ‘Ahimsa’, the practice of non-harm, which is essential to skillful and beneficial practice of yoga. Be aware of contraindications relevant to your specific circumstances: for example, some poses are not to be practiced during early pregnancy, with certain injuries, or during certain illnesses, whereas other poses may be very helpful.

Use a clean non-slip mat

A yoga mat allows you to work through your routine without worrying about slipping in the poses. It also provides padding for your joints, especially your wrists and knees. Make sure you choose a mat with enough stickiness or grip to hold your hands and feet in place. Also, clean your mat regularly to maintain its traction and prevent unpleasant smells.

Wear comfortable clothing

The right clothes can make a world of difference in class. Ideally, you’ll want to select a supportive top and yoga pants made from breathable materials with moisture-wicking features. For cooler weather, you may want to invest in thermal athletic gear you can easily layer to stay warm.

Make practice frequent

Little and often is more effective than occasional long sessions of yoga. Even 15 minutes a day of a few well-chosen poses can have a very positive effect on your physical, emotional and mental well-being. A regular discipline will reap more benefits, as that way the body begins to feel comfortable and familiar with the process and gradually becomes more flexible and subtly aware of the sensations, rather than ‘starting from cold’ again once in a while.

Avoid making comparisons

Because yoga is your own journey, there is no point in checking out someone else’s progress for the sake of comparing and judging yourself to them. You can draw motivation, appreciation, and inspiration from their bodies’ capabilities; however, don’t beat yourself up if you aren’t at that point yet. Regular practice will help you get there.

Focus on your foundation

Much like the foundation of a building, your hands and feet form the foundation of your body. Your body depends on having a strong and steady foundation to properly hold the poses. Pay attention to the way your hands and feet are positioned and spread your fingertips and toes to build a firm base of support.

Stay hydrated

Hydration is crucial, regardless of the form of exercise you’ve chosen. While it isn’t recommended to drink during yoga, there are some ways that you can stay hydrated throughout your practice. About an hour before class, for instance, start sipping a 16-ounce bottle of water. Drink another 20 ounces after you’ve finished your yoga class to replace fluids.

Eat mindfully

Be mindful of your eating habits, particularly if you prefer to eat before your yoga class. If you’re hungry, a light snack can help you fuel up for your class. Many people prefer to snack on small portions of almonds, fibre-packed fruits, or sports bars. Avoid greasy or garlicky foods before your class. Try not to eat anything two to three hours before class otherwise you’ll feel some discomfort in poses that put pressure on your belly.

Savour shavasana

Shavasana, the final relaxation pose, might be the most difficult posture in the class. Practice shifting your attention to the sensations of your body relaxing and consciously work on releasing stress and tension during the pose.