Do you love the idea of Yoga but don’t know how to get started? Or, have you been a Yogi in the past but have somehow drifted off into other things? Our 15 essential Yoga tips for beginners help you get into Yoga quickly and make it a success.
In summary, our essential Yoga tips cover:
- Overcoming initial procrastination
- Checking out the benefits of Yoga
- Exploring different Yoga styles
- Assessing your abilities and limitations
- Choosing your ideal type of Yoga
- Check out some Yoga books
- Yoga at home or in a class?
- Where to find Yoga videos online
- Choosing a good Yoga teacher
- Getting the “right” gear
- Food and drink
- Yoga motivation
- Yoga is a journey, not a destination
- Enjoy the journey
- Have some fun!
15 Essential Yoga Tips for Beginners
1. Overcome Initial Procrastination
Starting with Yoga as a beginner (or re-beginner) can be surprisingly challenging – we tend to be rather adept in coming up with convincing excuses.
Our first Yoga tip draws on Adriene from Yoga with Adriene who offers the following advice:
“We create so many obstacles and excuses for ourselves as to why we cannot quite yet begin, when with a slight shift we can use that same energy to tell ourselves why we simply cannot wait any longer. The time is now! You deserve it.”
Think about it further: What is the downside of not doing Yoga? From this we can pick a few hints on the barriers we create for ourselves and how to work around them.
“The beauty of Yoga practice is it serves up what you intend and it always manages to fulfill and assist in incredible transformation. But you gotta practice. You just gotta. Yoga is not about what you do but how you do it. It is about the experience. It is not about becoming someone you are not- but rather, getting back to the true awesome you.”
2. Checking Out The Benefits Of Yoga
Our second Yoga tip for beginners focuses on the benefits new students derive from doing Yoga, which are truly astounding. Many see Yoga practice mainly as a physical practice, but it is so much more!
Check out our article on “Why Yoga Feels So Good: 10 Great Reminders” to find your answers.
3. Exploring Different Yoga Styles
You will be surprised at the many styles of Yoga out there – it is definitely not anymore a matter of “one fit for all”!
Over the last 50 years or so, much thinking and creativity have led to innovation and new Yoga schools throughout the eastern and western world. Choosing the right Yoga style for you is one of the key beginning tips for Yoga.
New Yoga students definitely need to do a little research to make sure they don’t end up in a Yoga practice that will be too overwhelming. Check out our article that explains the different Yoga styles to get a bit more depth in this area.
4. Assessing Your Abilities And Limitations
Once you have a general idea about the different Yoga types out there, it’s time to carry out an honest assessment of your own abilities and limitations.
How fit and flexible are you? What is your endurance like? What about your ability to balance? Do you have any current injuries and or weak areas in the body?
Most of the photographs you see out there are of trim Yogis performing seemingly impossible poses effortlessly.
We don’t realise it’s only through long practice (but sometimes also through the advantage of youth) that makes it possible to master such advanced poses.
In fact, most Yoga students reside somewhere between the beginner and intermediate experience levels. Therefore, you are definitely not on your own!
The reality is that everyone has to start from somewhere in a new type of physical exercise, and slowly build up strength, flexibility, endurance and skill. It’s no different whether you choose to do Yoga, or whether you start playing soccer or plan to run a Marathon.
Be honest with yourself and give yourself a good chance to start in Yoga where you are. This is just the starting point and you can evolve from here!
5. Choosing Your Ideal Type of Yoga
Once you have done an honest assessment, it’s time to choose your ideal Yoga type.
This is not as easy as you think – there are many different Yoga types out there and you need to know what you get yourself into.
Our article “finding the right type of Yoga” gives you plenty of information and guidance to help you make the right decision.
6. Check Out Some Yoga Books
There is a plethora of great Yoga books out there – covering wide-ranging topics, from beginner Yoga, Chair Yoga, Yoga philosophy, etc.
Make sure you also check out our article on The Different Yoga Styles that has some recommendations for each of the styles discussed.
7. Yoga At Home Or In A Class?
You are making progress! Now, you will have to make a decision about whether you want to do online or and live Yoga classes. This is a very personal and practical choice.
This Yoga tip is a bit more elaborate.
Your location will be the first factor to consider – there may be no available Yoga classes in the vicinity. Timing will be the next factor – a live Yoga class has to fit in with your schedule of work and other home commitments, whatever they may be.
Your personality type will be another: are you the social extrovert who is happy to spontaneously join a class of strangers and feel OK? Or are you a private, more introvert person who finds the same scenario an ordeal?
There are many pros and cons to online and live Yoga classes, and here are just a few:
Online Yoga means in your time, at your (or any) place, at your pace. Wear whatever you feel like – including your pyjamas!
Whatever your style of Yoga you favour – Yoga Nidra, Vinyasa Yoga, Hatha Yoga – will be available on the web. In addition, you get access to some of the most respected Yoga teachers in the world.
A live Yoga class means you will have a qualified teacher by your side who will be able to point out any potential errors before they become habits. They can also give great tips on how to work around existing strains and injuries so that you don’t hurt yourself.
You get the encouragement and companionship of your class. Attending a live class often also engenders a greater commitment – you don’t want to let anybody down, including yourself.
8. Where To Find Yoga Videos Online
If you want to get started quickly, the web has a wide range of videos on offer for Yoga for beginners, many of them free.
Doing Yoga at home for a while before you join any classes is a great way to get immersed and learn about Yoga quickly. This will allow you to build some confidence and prevent any early injuries and disappointments.
YouTube, in particular, is a veritable gold mine for amazing free Yoga videos – although you will often have to put up with a short ad at the beginning of the video.
This seems justified, given the amount of time and effort different Yoga teachers invest in designing and producing these videos.
Yoga with Adriene, Yoga TX and Psychetruth are just a small selection of different and outstanding Yoga video bundles you can find on YouTube.
In addition, you can join a wide range of Yoga membership sites and apps that each offer 100s of videos for all levels and types of Yoga practice.
9. Choosing A Good Yoga Teacher
Your Yoga teacher can make all the difference to the success of your Yoga practice, whether you practice at home or in a class.
A Yoga teacher is very personal choice, depending on your personality and needs. If you do live classes, make sure you talk to your Yoga teacher about what your abilities and needs are, so that she/he can make allowances for you.
Read our article about the “10 Qualities Of a Great Yoga Teacher” to get a better idea of what questions you should ask yourself and of your prospective Yoga teacher.
10. Getting The “Right” Gear
First off – you don’t need to have all the “right” gear to get started with Yoga! There can be a bit of pressure to buy up large at the outset, but that is truly not necessary.
You can start with any comfortable, breathable clothing you have in your closet right now.
The only thing you need to bear in mind is that clothing should not be too skimpy lest it might expose body parts you’d rather keep private! It also should not be too loose so that it will stay in place when you bend down or lift your legs. And lastly, it should be able to absorb any sweat.
In addition, you don’t need a Yoga mat or any other Yoga equipment straight off. You can start off with a blanket, towel and pillows at home, or ask for a mat and other necessary equipment at a Yoga studio.
If you want to find out a bit more about Yoga equipment, make sure you read our guide on Essential Equipment To Get Started In A Yoga class and take it from there.
11. Food and drink
Make sure that you don’t have a full stomach when you plan to do Yoga – it will be just too uncomfortable. Give yourself a good 1.5-2 hours after a proper meal before doing Yoga.
But have some small snacks handy which you could easily eat before or after a Yoga class, such a piece of fruit or a few nuts.
And lastly, make sure you have plenty of water with you to hydrate before and after your Yoga session
12. Yoga Motivation
Once you have started doing Yoga, it’s very important to keep it going on a regular basis. For most of us that can become a real challenge once “real” life starts to take over.
The trick is to be prepared for that to occur! Read our articles on “How To Motivate Yourself To do Yoga” and “The Benefits Of Morning Yoga” to get some great ideas and be inspired. You can also read about the “10 Habits That Will Turn You Into A Better Yogi” to learn which habits lead the way to becoming a great Yoga practitioner.
13. Yoga Is A Journey, Not A Destination
This is a key Yoga tip for beginners. The breath is at the very heart of Yoga – it is the one element that guides us consistently through our practice. When we breathe deeply our body and mind can’t help but calm down, allowing those stress hormones to subside. Even if we do nothing else but breathe consciously, the benefit is already huge.
“Regulate the breathing and thereby control the mind.” B.K.S. Iyengar
Physically speaking, key aims of Yoga are to build strength, flexibility and balance. It tends to look relatively easy, so it is tempting to start with a Yoga class for intermediate or even advanced practitioners. However, it is also quite easy to overdo it, pull a muscle or aggravate an injury, and give in to early disappointment and perceived failure.
So: Yoga is definitely a journey and not a destination. If you accept this idea then the journey can be hugely interesting and a very personal one. You are in control – no one else! Be honest to yourself about what your intentions and limitations are. Have you got a knee or shoulder injury? Have you got particularly tight hamstrings or hip joints? Make sure you start at a place that is comfortable for you and progress at a pace that is sustainable in the long term.
Yoga is not about touching your toes, it’s what you learn on the way down. Jigar Gor
14. Enjoying The Journey
No-one turns into a master Yogi overnight. No matter where you are on your yoga journey you will derive great joy from making small steps of progress. You will notice that you will have better balance and strength, or you may find a better capacity to concentrate and focus in different aspects of your life.
Be prepared to be surprised.
Make sure that you will notice any changes – this will provide added motivation to keep going with the practice.
15. Have Some Fun!
And here’s our last Yoga tip for beginners.
It’s good to take Yoga practice seriously, but it’s also great to have some fun around it and enjoy some laughter! After all, we are doing Yoga at least in part to become a bit more chilled.
- Invite your Yoga class colleagues to a coffee after practice
- Find some like-minded people to do Yoga in the park, followed by a picnic
- Go to a Yoga festival or Yoga retreat
- Participate in Yoga chats and bring some humor into them
- Do some laughter Yoga.