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Yoga for Beginners: What to Expect

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Below is everything you need to know about yoga for beginners, from how to find the right class to how to get the most of it!

Congratulations on being intrigued by yoga! Though the general practice dates back thousands of years, there are still people who aren’t quite sure what it’s all about.

Do you have to wrap yourself up like a pretzel? Nope. Do you have to learn another language? Also nope. Will you feel good mentally and physically, improve your flexibility and maybe even lose weight? Yes to all of the above. In fact, here are just a few of the many benefits of yoga.

But not all yoga classes are for everyone. Some are more suited for those with more experience and familiarity. A newcomer who picks the wrong one may run the risk of injuring themselves or simply won’t have fun. In either case, there will be less interest in continuing if the first class is a let-down or painful.

Luckily, most classes or instructors are good about pointing people in the right direction: they want to make sure people find positive results and keep spreading the word to others about how effective yoga can be.

Try these strategies to get started:

Beforehand

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  • Be curious. Why do you want to take yoga? Your interest can guide what type of class to try first – do you want to lose weight? Work on balance and flexibility? Incorporate yoga as part of a larger fitness focus or part of a physical regimen? Do you want to learn the classical foundation or newer disciplines first? There likely are different versions in your community.
  • Contact the instructor or studio. They are there to serve you! He or she can give advice on which would be a good starter class or what you might experience. They may have classes specially designed for beginners. They also may invite you to come a little earlier to your first sessions to introduce yourself so they’ll keep an eye out for you and make sure you’re doing well. This is also a good opportunity to share any past physical pain or injuries that could impact your movement.

 

During

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  • Don’t worry about keeping up. It’s the instructor’s job to understand that not everyone has a full range of motion, especially right away. With more practice and sessions, flexibility can be improved, but at first, you may be able to do the minimum. The good thing about yoga is that everyone is allowed to be at their own level – there are no tests.
  • No one is watching or judging you. Your fellow students, especially if they’re new, will be concentrating on their own efforts to hold the right pose, clear their own thoughts and focus on their breathing, rather than what other people may be doing or not doing. Yoga isn’t a competition, it’s your practice.
  • Instructors may interact with you. This is called “assisting.” Some of the postures may feel uncomfortable simply because they’re unfamiliar. Some instructors may offer to provide extra support or resistance by gently pushing parts of your body during stretches. This level of contact can also be discussed prior to class.

 

Afterward

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  • Identify what you liked and didn’t like. Not just the style of the yoga class, but the studio and the instructor, too.
  • How did you feel afterward? This is the most important factor. Did you go in for a workout and come out dripping with sweat? Feeling refreshed? Some people fall in love with yoga after their first class, others may need a few times to get comfortable. What’s important is that you find the right type of yoga to fit your lifestyle.

 

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