Yoga For All: How To Begin Your Practice
Thanks to its mental, spiritual and physical benefits, it’s a wonderful form of stress relief and self-care. And there’s no need to feel intimidated; the best part is, absolutely anyone — no matter your size, age, budget, flexibility, or fitness level — can embark on their own yoga journey.
If you’re not sure where to start, do it here. Ahead, we’ve gathered some inspiration, tips and general advice to help you begin. If the thought of doing yoga always seemed intimidating, we promise, it’s not as hard as you think (and don’t worry, no one expects you to do a handstand).
Preparing For Your Practice
Before you even start to stretch, the very first thing you should do is prep your mind by banishing any expectations and insecurities. No matter your expertise or fitness level, everybody can reap benefits from practicing yoga.
Jessie Svec, a Yoga and Breathwork Practitioner at Saffron & Sage, a San Diego-based holistic health club, says beginner yogis should start, “with patience and an open mind.” She adds, “Yoga is not about who can stand on their hands or twist their body into a pretzel. Yoga is a deeply personal practice that meets each student where they are at.”
With this in mind, go ahead and sign up for that beginner’s class. Or, find a quiet space to practice at home following an online instructor. If you’re not sure who to choose, check out Yoga with Adriene on YouTube. With over eight million subscribers, her videos are free, and she has lots of beginner flows, too!
Tips To Keep In Mind
Clear space, clear mind
In the spirit of clearing your mind and tuning into your body (while tuning everything else out), find a quiet area with room to move and try to practice at a time when you won’t get disrupted or distracted.
Choose the right clothing
Yoga clothes are fitted for a reason: They allow you to move and bend without gaping open or riding up, which can be distracting.
Set the mood
Create a meditative atmosphere by burning incense or filling a diffuser with essential oils — lavender is known for its calming qualities. You can also try playing some meditation music or nature sounds and dimming the lights.
Listen to your body
Never over-extend yourself by doing a pose that’s too advanced or painful, especially if you’re just starting out. After all, practicing yoga isn’t just about physical ability. “It’s about being present in the moment and intentionally connecting the body with the mind and the breath,” says Svec.
Let go of perfection
“Be open, have fun and don’t take yourself too seriously,” advises Svec. “It’s OK to mess up your lefts and rights and tumble over. That’s why they call it a ‘practice.’ We will always be students, no matter how long the practice has been part of our lives.”
Yoga Equipment & Extras
One of the best things about yoga is you hardly need any equipment (and if you practice at home, it’s practically free!). Ideally, you’ll want a yoga mat and fitted, stretchy clothing that allows you to move while it stays in place. That said, having a few extras can really enhance your practice, especially as you become more advanced.
Seek out compression pants that fit like a second skin.
Choose a top you won’t have to keep pulling down during your Downward Dog.
With gentle movements, a lightweight sports bra is a great choice!
A yoga essential no matter where you practice.
Yoga Mat Towels
Headed to hot yoga? An absorbent towel will catch sweat and prevent slippage.
Some slight elevation can help you master certain moves.
An accessory to aid with stretching.
Stay hydrated in class or on-the-go following a workout.
5 Best Beginner Poses
These poses are simple to do, yet they’ll help you build a foundation of strength in your practice. They’re simple to memorize and master since you’ll probably use them frequently as you continue your yogic journey.
Beginning with your stomach flat on the ground, lift with your hands and straighten your elbows so the upper half of your body is off the ground, spine curved.
With feet and palms on the ground, raise your bum in the air and keep your head between your arms so your body makes an upside-down V.
With your knees and shins on the floor, stretch your arms out straight in front of you, palms down on the ground. Many yoga routines continuously come back to this pose when it’s time for a rest.
Lying on your back, raise your feet in the air, grabbing your big toes with your hands. Sway side to side to massage your back.
Lie flat on your back, legs out and arms down at your sides. The goal of this pose is to relax, so go ahead and take a nap.
See, it’s not so hard, is it? Now that we’ve covered some basics, it’s time to get stretching! So put on your yoga pants, grab your mat, and get ready to get your flow on. Check out the styles we've selected below, or browse more than a thousand additional items at Zappos.com/Yoga.
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