Where to Begin

Choosing a yoga class or style can be overwhelming as there are many, many different kinds available. But as a beginner, the options are easy to narrow down to find one that’s going to be just right for you.

You’ve heard of hot yoga? Yeah. Don’t go there just yet. Hot yoga is a demanding, exhausting form of yoga performed in a room heated to 100 degrees. It’s a great detox, and you’ll feel like you’ve really had a workout, but for a beginner, it’s not the best introduction. It’s certainly something to aspire to if you’re interested later in trying a more demanding yoga style, but as a beginner, becoming acclimated to the culture and language of yoga is a better first step.

What do you want from a yoga class? Stress relief? Strengthening? Increased flexibility? Deciding what it is you hope to gain from a new yoga practice can help you determine what to look for in an instructor or studio. Many yoga studios and fitness facilities offer several different types of yoga classes, some just for beginners, and these are the best places to look for support.

Not all yoga needs to be done in a studio, though, and one of the benefits of a new practice is that you can find many helpful videos on the internet to introduce you to different styles before you choose a studio or class. If your life is way too full of stress and tension, a meditative yoga practice may be your prescription for a healthier life. From there, building strength, improving balance, and increasing flexibility are an easy transition. You’ll find most of these types of classes offered in fitness centers and yoga studios everywhere.

When you’re ready to choose a class or instructor, you should be very picky. Yoga is intensely personal and can affect a person in profound ways, often in very emotional and spiritual ways. Your instructor and your classmates need to provide an environment in which you feel comfortable to be affected this way. A good instructor will be encouraging, not demanding the same result from every participant, patient, confident, and obviously at peace with herself. This is the kind of person from whom you will be able to learn and grow in your practice and your personhood. And that is the ultimate goal of yoga.

Take the first step – it’s always the hardest, but with a plethora of yoga styles to choose from and the drive to make yoga a part of your life, that first step will seem like the best decision you ever made.