How to Start Yoga: 6 Tips for Beginners
Words by Angie Tiwari
Looking to start your yoga journey but not sure where to begin? Angie Tiwari’s tips will give you the knowledge and confidence to start yoga today and soon develop a practice that will serve you for a lifetime.
FIND YOUR WHY
Why do you want to start practising yoga? Get a notebook and a pen and write down a few reasons.
It could be that you want to become stronger. It could be that you want to find a place where you can feel more peaceful. Maybe you want to be more flexible. Maybe you want to progress to some of the cool pretzel poses. Maybe you want to get to a higher level of consciousness and really connect inwards. Be able to breathe deeper.
There are so many different reasons why people come to the practice and there’s no one right answer because it is such a huge practice with so many different elements to it. So it’s really important that you start with really figuring out your why. Why have you come to it and what would you like to get out of it.
There is nothing worse than throwing yourself into a really challenging class, finding it so difficult, being scared off and never coming back. And I’ve seen so many people do that.
By starting slowly you’re really giving your body and your mind the ability to get used to these postures that we move through, get used to breathing in a different way. Then in time, you can start to take on more challenging classes and different physical flows and your body will be a bit more used to it.
So start slow and don’t let your body throw itself into the deep end straight away, because you will then enjoy it so much more.
QUALITY OVER QUANTITY
You don’t need to do an hour long practice every single day to be good at yoga. If you want to start, I really recommend starting with five or 10 minutes and really building it up from there. If you do want to get into doing a regular hour long practice, definitely don’t start with that and instead build yourself up to that amount of time.
The main thing really is to find consistency in your practice. So figure out how long you can realistically dedicate to your yoga in your day and in your week and commit to that.
Don’t worry too much about how long your practice is. Worry more about how frequently you are coming to your practice.
EXPLORE DIFFERENT FORMS OF YOGA
There are so many different elements to our yoga practice. Meditation. Yogic breathing. Yogic philosophy. The yamas and the niyamas - these morals and disciplines we abide by. And the physical practice - the yogasana. These are all under the bracket of yoga. So you don’t necessarily have to be on your yoga mat moving through a physical flow to be practicing.
One day it might look like breathing in a particular way, to regulate your nervous system and control the state of your mind, lower your blood pressure and relax your heart rate. Another day might see you sitting in a meditative posture and focusing on what’s happening with your body and the sensations going on. That’s also a form of yoga.
So there are many forms of yoga - explore as many as you can and pick one to suit you for that particular day.
FIND THE PHYSICAL FLOW THAT WORKS FOR YOU
There are many different elements of the physical practice that you can take part in. You have your slower poses and more restorative stretches. Yin classes will help you slow down and really focus on what’s happening within. They will still help you get a really deep stretch, but in a more restorative way.
Then you’ve also got your more dynamic practices that are a bit more dynamic and challenging. For example Vinyasa and Ashtanga, where you’re moving through poses in quite a dynamic way. You’re building heat and strength in the body and with the breath that you are taking.
Knowing this is really important, as you learn that yoga is more than just a class that is predominantly on your yoga class moving through one or two poses. Likewise yoga doesn’t have to be a class where you are moving through one hundred poses, getting really sweaty on your mat.
If you’re starting out with yoga, really start to tune in to how you’re feeling on that day. Go for whichever flow suits you best and always come back to that why. Why are you here and what are you trying to get out of your yoga practice. Tune in with yourself and listen to what works for you.
WEAR THE RIGHT CLOTHES
If you’re doing meditation, maybe wear a jumper and some cosy socks to relax a little bit deeper. If you’re doing a physical flow, make sure you are wearing clothes that you can move easily and comfortably in.
Regardless of what practice you’re doing, it’s important to make sure you feel comfortable in yourself.
If you are brand new to yoga, I hope this has made you feel empowered and more confident to get started. Look to your why. Starting small. Consistency. Different forms of yoga. Types of physical flows. And an outfit that’s not going to distract you from the actual core of what you’re doing in your yoga practice.