If you’re looking to join the more than 36 million people who practice yoga in the U.S., you can make sure your first class goes smoothly with a few tips from a yoga insider.
Gympass employee Lindsay Monal is a yoga and meditation teacher at Hudson Yoga Project in New Jersey. She’s been practicing yoga for six years and has advice for anyone at the start of their yoga journey. Here’s a quick guide to yoga for beginners:
Do your homework
There are several different styles of yoga so it’s important to do some research ahead of time.
“You could be going to a Vinyasa class which is more active and about moving on your breath, versus a restorative yoga class where you’re supported by different props,” Monal said.
Most studios provide class descriptions online so you know what to expect. Some also provide bios for their instructors so you can learn more about them and their teaching styles.
Chat with your teacher before class
If you can, get to class early and talk with your instructor. This is the perfect time to not only ask questions and highlight any injuries you have, but to share your expectations for the class.
“Let them know if you’re open to them providing hands-on adjustments throughout class or if you prefer to be left alone and follow the crowd,” Monal said.
Embrace being a beginner
Even if you’re a seasoned athlete, if it’s your first class, you should be doing yoga for beginners, not experienced students.
“Someone who’s really athletic might choose to go to an intermediate class right away, which isn’t always the best option,” Monal said. “It would be more beneficial to start in a beginner-level class and learn the basics than risk hurting yourself in a challenging class.”
Don’t be intimidated by props
Monal stressed that yoga props, such as blocks and blankets, aren’t reserved for advanced students. They provide beginners and experts alike with extra support and stability. When you arrive to class, test your comfort with the various equipment or talk to your instructor to learn how you should be using props in class.
Listen to your body
Yoga for beginners means being mindful of your abilities. If something feels uncomfortable, Monal said to “be kind to yourself” and adjust accordingly. Child’s pose is always an option if you’re feeling overwhelmed.
Ditch any feelings of inadequacy by reminding yourself that whether you’re two days or two decades into your yoga journey, there’s always something new to learn.
“That’s why they call it yoga practice,” Monal said, “it’s not a one-time thing.”
Gympass gives you access to thousands of gyms and studios worldwide so you can find a workout to love — including yoga! If your company offers Gympass, start your free 7-day trial to discover gyms near you.
Feature image by Victoria Miritello Photography