If you’re interested in trying yoga for the first time, but don’t know where to start- have no fear! Starting a yoga practice can be intimidating, especially when there are so many different classes to choose from. The options may seem endless and overwhelming, but hopefully after reading this blog you will be empowered to choose a yoga class that is right for you whether you’re brand new to yoga or looking to mix up your practice.
If you have never done yoga before, I recommend starting with a Beginner class. These classes are geared towards people who are just like you: either just stepping on to a yoga mat for the first time or looking to get back on to their mat with a refresher class that focuses on the basics. No matter how long you’ve been practicing yoga, Beginner classes are always a nice way to bring your awareness back to the fundamentals of the practice.
What should you do if you can’t find a Beginner class that fits your schedule? Not to worry! Most yoga classes are Beginner friendly, even if they are not specifically designed for new students. My advice is to find a gentler class like Yoga Gently or Hatha that isn’t going to move at a very fast pace or include more advanced postures. Come to class a few minutes early and let the teacher know that you are new. Yoga teachers are more than happy to offer modifications in their classes so the poses are accessible to a wide range of levels. Yoga Gently and Hatha classes are appropriate for all levels and typically include both newer and intermediate students.
Anusara or Vinyasa Classes
If you are concerned that Beginner or Hatha Yoga will be too slow or not enough of a challenge for you, then go directly to an Anusara or Vinyasa class. You may not understand everything or be able to do it all, but you most certainly will not be bored! These classes are very different in style, but will both provide a challenge if you decide to take it. An Anusara class will typically include some yoga philosophy and a strong, alignment based practice that blends flowing posture sequences with biomechanical and energetic cues. Postures will be held longer than in a Vinyasa class with a focus on proper alignment and asana refinement.
Vinyasa classes offer the most challenge of all the yoga classes. These classes focus on flowing sequences and move quickly from posture to posture. They are perfect for fit individuals who may find other styles of yoga to be too slow. Modifications are always offered in every class, so don’t be shy to try a Vinyasa class. Just remember to listen to your body and know that it’s okay to skip a pose and be inspired by other students who may find the pose accessible.
Love Vinyasa and want to up the ante? Try a Hot Vinyasa class in a heated studio and get your sweat on! Love the heat, but don’t dig the flow? Try a Hot 26 class that moves through 2 sets of 26 static poses with a mini savasana in between each posture.
Yoga Styles: Chair, Yin, Restorative
There are many specialty styles of yoga and I believe that there is a style of yoga for every individual. Chair yoga is a perfect example of this. These classes are great for people who can’t easily get up and down off the floor or have physical considerations that require the support of a chair.
Yin Yoga is a newer style of yoga that is passive, quiet, and grounding. Yin poses focus on opening connective tissues like fascia, ligaments, and tendons and access the energetic pathways of the body called meridians. Yin classes will increase flexibility and encourage slowing down and deep relaxation. A perfect complement to other more active yang styles of yoga.
Restorative yoga is another passive style that uses the support of props to promote relaxation and renewal of energy. Watch your tension melt away and let go completely in this class!
The bottom line is there is no right or wrong way to start. These are simply my suggestions. A Yoga practice is as unique as the Yoga practitioner. Hopefully you’ve found our Cornerstone Clubs Yoga Class Guide to be helpful. Find what you like and do what is right for you!