Beginner’s guide to yoga

Have you wanted to try yoga, but are nervous about your first class? Never fear, we’re ready to break it down for you. Remember, most yoga studios are meant to be a welcoming, judgement free space. And everyone has been a beginner once. Simply show up to your closest studio, and try it out. If you don’t like your first class, try a different studio or different type of yoga—not all yoga is the same!
How to start yoga for beginners

Your first yoga class can be intimidating, but it doesn’t have to be. Just follow a few steps:

  1. Find the right instructor. This is important. Each instructor has a different style, so try out a few to find the right class for you.
  2. Know one pose. Child’s pose is important—you can use it to rest any time you need. Kneel on the ground, touch your big toes together, separate your knees as wide as your hips, and lay your torso between your thighs.
  3. Arrive early. Come ten to twenty minutes before class begins. You’ll need to fill out a waiver, change, pay, and find a place in the studio.
  4. Dress comfortably. Bring water and wear comfortable clothes that stretch with your body.
  5. Don’t get injured. Tell your instructor about any injuries before class begins, so they can help you modify if needed. Also, it’s a great idea to tell them you’re new, so they can help with alignment as you go.
  6. Clean up. Once you’re done, make sure to wipe down your mat with the disinfectant that most studios keep near the exit. It’s proper etiquette.
What is the best yoga app for beginners?

Apps are a great way to learn how to practice yoga from the comfort of your own home or hotel room. They’ve also come a long way, and now feature videos and ways to customize your experience. Here are a few of our favorites.

Yoga Studio by Gaiam is great because they break down their collections, which can be anywhere from 10 to 60 minutes, into levels (with a beginner option) and themes (like balance and strength). You can also create your own flow, building one pose at a time.

Down Dog is great for beginners because it features in-depth video instruction for each pose, with tips for good alignment and ways to modify the poses. You’ll have narration and still photos, which makes it feel like a real class. The free version lets you access beginner, intermediate and advanced sequences anywhere from 15 to 90 minutes.

Last, but not least, FitStar Yoga allows even more personalization. Your feedback tailors your future sessions and also lets you choose from set yoga workouts. It’s also cool because it integrates with social media platforms and fitness trackers, so if you want motivation and advice, it’s the app for you.
Which yoga is best for beginners?

There are many types of yoga—from powerful hot yoga to calming yin yoga. Finding the right class for you can take time, so don’t be discouraged if the first class you try isn’t right for you. It all can depend on the environment, the style, and even the instructor!

Hatha yoga links poses to breath. It usually is a big slower, requiring you to hold each pose for a longer amount of time. It’s usually a great way to begin your yoga practice, because holding poses for longer can help you learn proper alignment, which is very important.

Vinyasa, on the other hand, is more fast-paced than hatha yoga. You work your way through a series of poses in a more fluid manner, flowing from one pose to the next. It’s more of a dynamic, athletic workout than a time for relaxation.

Yin yoga is a relaxing practice where you hold poses for several minutes at a time. It targets fascia and connective tissue, making it wonderful for your body. It’s also more meditative than even hatha, so you’ll get plenty of time to relax your mind.

Restorative yoga focuses on winding down and body relaxation. You’ll have less postures, and more time in each posture. Each pose is easier and more relaxing than other types of yoga. You’ll also typically use props, like blankets, bolsters, and eye pillows, so you can sink deeper into your relaxation. It’s wonderful for beginners.

Bikram yoga is a sequence of set poses in a sauna-hot room. You’ll move through 26 basic postures, each one performed twice. It’s great if you’re wanting to sweat and have a challenge. Beginners should take it easy for their first few classes—the heat can be hard to take for some.
What is the best yoga mat for beginners?

Yoga mats range from super thin to cushy quarter-inch mats. Not sure where to begin? Most people like a 1/8-inch thick mat. These allow for solid floor contact without catching and tripping you up when you flow through poses.

You’ll also want to consider the material for the mats you choose. Mats are made of PVC, TPE, or natural materials. PVC is a plastic-based material that is durable, easy to clean, and grippy—but they are slippery if you sweat a lot. TPE is made of plastic and rubber polymers and are more environmentally friendly than PVC, however they are less durable while still offering great traction. Finally, natural material mats are made of rubber, cotton, or jute and provide traction and sustainability.