How To Do Yoga
How To Do Yoga
- What to wear
This may seem like a silly question, but it’s definitely one of the most popular. Yoga is best done in clothes you feel comfortable in. There are many different styles of yoga pants and tops, but you don’t have to buy anything special.
Any comfortable exercise pants of shorts will do, and fitted (not baggy) tops work best. Basically, wear something that allows freedom of movement in the arms, shoulders and legs. Yoga is often done barefoot, so you don’t even have to worry about shoes.
- What to bring
If you’re headed to your very first class, don’t worry about buying a mat if you don’t have one.
Most yoga studios have mats available for rent. When you decide to keep going to class, or once you feel ready to practice at home, investing in your own mat is a good idea.
Do bring a water bottle so that you can have a drink after class; this is especially important if you are doing hot yoga (bikram yoga). A hand towel is also a good thing to have. As for props, most studios provide blocks and straps, so it’s not necessary for you to have your own at first.
- Before a yoga session
It’s best not to eat a heavy meal right before a session. You don’t want to feel too bloated or full when moving through the various poses. A light snack an hour or two before class is fine.
Plan to arrive a few minutes before class so you can get pick a spot to set up and ask any questions you might have.
If you’re new to yoga, it’s good to pick a spot in the middle or toward the back, where you can see the teacher and also glance around at others around you. Arriving early also gives you time to warm-up or prepare yourself mentally for the class.
- Pick a class that fits your goals
Do a bit of research and find a class with a description that aligns with your goals.
For example, if you prefer something more athletic and want to sweat, try hot yoga, or look for words like “power flow” and “strong” in the class description. If you want to chill out, find a “restorative” or “gentle flow” class.
- Ease into it
Like learning to play the piano or preparing for a marathon, yoga takes time and dedication.
You don’t have to start out super flexible in order to do yoga.
Take it slowly and go easy on yourself; don’t judge yourself based on what someone is doing next to you. In fact, you’ll find that with regular practice comes increased flexibility, both physically, mentally and spiritually.
- Focus on your breath
It is important to understand the critical role that the breath plays in yoga.
Instead of rushing into a pose or pushing yourself too hard, allow your breath to be your guide, and pace yourself so that you don’t find yourself short of breath.
Breathing is also a powerful tool for managing stress, and you’ll find that even just five minutes of breath awareness can recharge your mind.
It’s worth incorporating breathing awareness into your daily life, not just in the practice of yoga.
- Balance the postures with relaxation/meditation
Yoga is not just about asana practice or poses.
Don’t neglect relaxation or meditation, as it will help you feel better, both physically and mentally.
A balanced combination of asana practice and meditation will create inner strength and equilibrium.
- Respect your body
Defer to your own judgement about what you can and cannot do.
Instead of forcing your body beyond its current abilities, focus your energy on poses or movements that make you feel great. There is no hurry to get into any specific pose, and acknowledge that not every pose will happen on every day.
Listen to your body, and respect what it tells you about how to do yoga techniques.
- Ask questions and be open to advice
If you don’t understand something, be it about yoga etiquette, or physical poses, it’s always good to ask the teacher, or more practiced yoga students.
And when a teacher offers you an adjustment in a pose, they are not picking on you, but rather giving you an opportunity to evolve your practice and experience the pose in a different way.
Finally, now that you’re armed with our top tips on how to do yoga, go out there and try it. Celebrate the fact that you have the courage to try something out of your comfort zone. Most importantly, enjoy yourself, and relax. You’ve got this.