Hatha, Vinyasa, Ashtanga, Bikram, Kundalini. These are all types of yoga, and it’s no wonder anyone new to the practice of yoga may be a little overwhelmed with all of the different classes, and unsure of which one they should start with.
Starting as a Beginner
The best advice for any person new to yoga is to start with a beginner workshop or look for single classes specifically for beginners. The instructors in these classes will introduce students to the Western and Sanskrit names of the different poses, specifically focusing on beginner poses. They’ll also demonstrate the breathing techniques used throughout the practice, as well as provide the history and benefits of yoga.
Even experienced athletes whose bodies are very strong and flexible will benefit from starting at the beginning. By learning some of the most commonly used poses, and getting comfortable with the flow of your breath you will get more out of those intermediate and advanced classes when you move on to them.
Yoga practice can differ by teacher as well as location, but once you’re ready for a more challenging class, learn about the higher level classes available. Read the descriptions, talk to instructors and other students, and most importantly, give some a try. You may find you love the tranquility of a slower flow class, focused on the spirit and intention behind the poses. Or perhaps the challenge of strength building poses and inversions draws you in. And what is most common is that what you want from your practice may vary from day to day depending on your mood, schedule, stress level, and energy level.
Find What Works for You
For a beginner who wants to become a long-term yogi, it’s also important to find the time of day that works best. As with any fitness routine, if it’s not convenient, or if it’s not at a time of day when an individual feels he or she can give it their all, the yoga practice most likely won’t be successful. Most yoga studios offer morning, afternoon, evening, and even weekend classes to accommodate almost any schedule.
One of the best things about practicing yoga is its inclusive nature. No matter age, fitness level, gender, or physical limitations, yoga has classes for almost every demographic including chair and gentle yoga for seniors, prenatal yoga for expectant mothers, and restorative yoga for those with joint issues or recovering from an injury. For a practice to be fruitful, look for the yoga class that works best for you.
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