It is everywhere and the reason that so many of us get up in the morning. When I first went to yoga I didn’t know what to expect, and even though I was a total newb, I quickly fell in love with this practice, and became addicted.
I came to yoga because I needed to exercise and lose weight, but there are many reasons to start practicing yoga: greater flexibility, increased strength, a deeper sense of calm, increased range of motion, weight loss, and increased happiness. It’s really no wonder why yoga has become so wildly popular and is popping up all over the world. If you are ready to jump on the mat and join the millions of people who practice yoga, here are four ways you can get started.
Join a GROUP Yoga Class
Even the small town where the 42Yogis founder lives has yoga classes. Yoga is abundant and you don’t have to look hard to find yoga. Yoga classes can be found at yoga studios, college campuses, parks, gyms, and even offered in the home of a yoga teacher. Going to a group yoga class is a good way to get started practicing yoga because you will get hands-on expert help with the asanas and pranayama techniques.
But not all yoga classes are created equal. These popular styles may be offered in your area, and you may find one or all of them to be an intriguing place to start.
Iyengar Yoga uses a lot of props so if you’re totally new to yoga, or have mobility issues, Iyengar yoga might be a good place to start.
Ashtanga Yoga will get your heart pumping, and blood flowing. Ashtanga is a more challenging style of yoga, and quite authentic and inline with the traditional styles of yoga.
Yin Yoga is a good place to start if you want to boost flexibility but don’t want a cardio workout. Most Yin Yoga classes are very slow and use gentle movements to give you deep stretches.
Bikram Yoga is a sequence of 26 poses done in a hot and humid room. Some yogis swear by the invigorating and warming properties of Bikram.
Take a Yoga Retreat
What’s better than a week on a tropical island doing yoga and relaxing by the beach? Not much! Yoga retreats fall into the category of luxury travel, and usually include your accommodations, daily yoga classes, yummy meals, meditation, relaxation, and exploring the destination.
Despite popular belief, you don’t have to be an expert yogi to be able to go to a retreat. There are retreats for all sorts of yoga styles, experience levels, and other interests. Many yoga retreats are good for beginners and can really jump-start your practice. You don’t have to be a long-time yogi to get benefits of a week-long yoga immersion.
Learn Yoga at Home
I started learning yoga at home, and I know some people who have only ever learned yoga at home — that’s right; they’ve never gone to a yoga class.
Thanks to some good free yoga videos on YouTube and yoga DVDs it is possible to learn yoga at home. It can be difficult to know what is good and what is bad when it comes to online yoga videos, so make sure you use a trusted resource (Like ahem…. 42Yogis 😉 so you know you’re getting videos that are taught by an expert teacher and are taught safely.
To practice at home you could just use your carpet and get started, but I find it’s a lot better and safer to have a mat that can keep you from sliding around too much or getting rug burn. You can pick up a cheap mat at most department stores. If you’re going to stick with yoga for a while, it might be worth while to invest in a quality yoga mat that will keep you safe for years to come.
While this is definitely a pricey option, it’s definitely one of the best ways to get started with yoga. Private lessons – just you and the instructor – can make sure you really get your practice off the ground. Private instruction means the teacher doesn’t have to worry about someone on the other side of the room; they can focus on just you and make sure you are doing the poses correctly and safely.
Private lessons are not cheap, and you can expect to spend at least 2-3 times what you would spend on a group class, but the experience is worth it. If you’re feeling shy or lacking confidence, consider doing a few private lessons before you go to a group class. If you’re worried you are going to embarrass yourself in a group yoga class, a few private lessons beforehand can be a great place to start.
We all come to the mat for different reasons, inspired by the many benefits of yoga. Among the many benefits offered by yoga are stress release, increased flexibility, weight loss, increased happiness, and a deeper connection with your body. No matter how you decide to get started with yoga, your life will forever change.