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Last Updated on September 10, 2018 by Diane Hoffmaster
Are you looking for a beginners guide to yoga so you can attend your first class with confidence? I definitely recommend a bit of preparation before tackling your yoga journey. Yoga is an amazing way to improve your flexibility and physical strength while at the same time helping you learn how to relax. The wonderful thing about yoga is that anyone can do it.
Whether you are a beginner starting out at step one or a seasoned athlete, yoga can help you feel better. If you'd rather be outside than cooped up in a yoga studio, you can do yoga outdoors, too. Check out my other outdoor workout ideas and get started on your way to better health! If you don't have the gear you think you need to get started, ask friends and family for a few workout gifts when the holidays roll around!
Beginners Guide to Yoga
Showing up to your first yoga class without the proper preparation won't result in a fun experience. Stock up on knowledge and basic yoga supplies before your first class. Don't buy the most expensive stuff out there until you know that you enjoy yoga. Look for sales or give friends and family a few yoga gift basket ideas to give you for your birthday. Check out the tips in this beginners guide to yoga before you get started.
Wear the right clothes
While you can certainly do yoga in a pair of sweatpants and a sweatshirt, wearing the right yoga clothes will make things much easier. A shirt that is snug without being restrictive will let you stretch without having the shirt bunch up on you. Yoga pants should also be slim fitting but made of a stretchy material that bends with you. Make sure the yoga pants are not too long or you will have them constantly underfoot.
Don't try to do yoga in running shorts and a loose fitting shirt. You will end up in downward dog with everyone in the class being able to look up your shorts and down your shirt. This makes for a whole lot of self-consciousness on your part.
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Familiarize yourself with the most common yoga poses
- Standing Backbend
- Downward Facing Dog
- Upward Facing Dog
- Crescent Moon
- Warrior I and II
- Tree Pose
- Triangle Pose
- Mountain Pose
- Chair Pose
Watch the video below from Stylecraze to learn basic yoga stretches for beginners to increase flexibility and blood circulation. And don't worry if you aren't quite as bendy as the people in the video. The great thing about yoga is that you can adjust many of the poses for total newbies.
Buy Basic Yoga Gear
Yoga is one activity that needs a few supplies in order for you to really get the most out of it. One of the most important aspects of this beginners guide to yoga is to teach you what you need to get the most out of your yoga practice. Here are a few basic yoga supplies to invest in:
Yoga mat: A good yoga mat will provide a slight amount of cushion during your workout but the most important aspect is that it helps prevent you from slipping. Sweat, bare skin, and deep stretches all make slipping while doing yoga a real problem. Make sure you also invest in a good yoga mat cleaning spray to clean up your mat when you are done working out. If you prefer, some people choose to use a yoga towel for their workout.
Yoga strap and yoga block: Investing in a few bits of yoga gear may help you better achieve those challenging yoga poses. A yoga block and a yoga strap are two items that often come in handy when starting yoga. They are relatively inexpensive, lightweight, and will easily fit inside a yoga bag if you want to bring them to class with you. While you can certainly do yoga without them, you may find it easier to do with these items.
Yoga mat cleaner: You are going to do some serious sweating while you work out. Clean that sweat off your mat with a spray bottle of yoga mat cleaner.
Yoga Injury Prevention
While most yoga injuries aren’t severe, there is some risk involved just like in every physical activity. Strains, sprains, fractures, dislocations, and, in rare cases, bone spurs, sciatic nerve damage, and stroke have all been reported. Make sure you get a doctor's approval before starting any physical workout. Learn how to practice the poses correctly and listen to your body. While stretching may be a bit uncomfortable, it shouldn't HURT. To help prevent yoga injury:
- Warm up before you start. This will help loosen up muscles and reduce the chance of injury.
- Ease into your workout routine. Yoga practice is a marathon, not a sprint.
- Communicate with your instructor. Make sure they know you are new to yoga and need some guidance.
- Use props and modifications as needed. The extra support and adjusted poses will help with yoga injury prevention.
- Don't lock your joints. Keep knees and elbows loose and flexible.
- Cooldown. Don't skip out on the last few minutes of class because you thinking lying on your mat quietly is a waste of time.
- Rest if you end up injured. Don't push your body to recover faster than it wants to. Take a soak with my herbal sore muscle bath soak and rest for a few days.
- If you are considering hot yoga, make sure you stay hydrated before, during, and after class.
Consider at home yoga versus a yoga class
You don't have to have a gym membership in order to get started doing yoga. Invest in a few yoga DVDs or an online yoga subscription service and start doing yoga in the privacy of your own home. That way you don't have to feel intimidated but other people watching you learn the basics of yoga. Before you get too far along on your yoga experience you may want to attend a few classes, just so that a yoga instructor can view your form and give you a few pointers. Try some of these online yoga classes from Yogadownload.com. If you check out their website, they also have a great beginners guide to yoga that includes a printable yoga pose guide.
- Slip and Slide yoga with Eric Paskel
- The Body Mandala yoga class (Level 1) with Mark Morford
- Yoga for the Workplace: Add More Hum to the Ho-Hum with Dia Draper
- Therapeutic Alignment yoga with Shy Sayar: Tadasana
- Strong Core yoga class with Pradeep Teotia
Yoga is a wonderful way to improve your health. Improved strength and flexibility are great benefits from a yoga workout. Yoga is also a peaceful workout to help calm your mind while you work out. Once you are a yoga convert, you will want others to join you on your journey. Share this beginners guide to yoga with them and give them a yoga gift basket. Then invite them to your next class. Yoga is always more fun with friends!
Yoga Gift Basket Ideas
While you can certainly start doing yoga without spending money on a bunch of supplies, there are certain products that will help you be more successful and make your experience a bit more enjoyable. Here are a few items I have put together to get you started on your yoga journey. For the yogi in your life, the following items are perfect for a gift basket. You can put the items inside a workout bag they can actually bring to their yoga class, or you can go the standard route with a basket and put different types of items inside.
Naturally, one of the best gifts you can include in your gift basket is a yoga mat. However, if your friend or family member participates in yoga on a regular basis, they probably already have a yoga mat. Instead of just choosing a generic one, try to make it special. One way is to have one personalized, such as with one of their favorite images, or by personalizing it with their name or a saying they often repeat. Another option is to get them a travel yoga mat, which is great for when they are traveling.
An item that tends to be popular for people who enjoy yoga are called sling sandals. Many are made from the same material that yoga mats are made from. People can walk around in these sandals and feel the support and comfort of a yoga mat underneath their feet at all times. If you are looking for practical yoga gift basket ideas, these will get plenty of use!
The best sling sandals will have several layers and good support. The upper surface is often made from yoga mat which islightweightt and comfortable. The middle will be the stronger supportive material for heel and arch support. The bottom surface should be rubber to make it anti-skidding.
Another thing that yoga fans often need is a yoga headband. They can never have too many of them, so no need to worry if they already have one. You want to look for a soft and stretchy fabric headband that he or she can wear on their head to keep hair out of their eyes and sweat away from their face while doing yoga. There are a lot of great ones out there, from solid colors to vibrant patterns.
As far as yoga clothes go, there are a few things you can buy for someone you know and include them in the gift basket. You might not buy yoga pants since you don’t know their exact size, but it is usually easy to find a yoga sweater that would be their size. Make sure it is a loose and flowing style to increase the odds that it will fit. You can also put a gift card in your yoga basket for a store with lots of yoga clothing.
Keep in mind that these are just a few ideas available. There are lots of yoga gift basket ideas ranging from the practical (online class subscription) to the luxurious (yoga jewelry). You can even buy a Beginners Guide to Yoga book if you want more information than you can find on the web.
Have any other tips to add to this beginners guide to yoga?
Diane is a professional blogger and nationally certified pharmacy technician at Good Pill Pharmacy. She has two college aged kids, one husband and more pets than she will admit to. She earned her BS in Microbiology at the University of New Hampshire but left her career in science to become a stay at home mom. Years of playing with LEGO and coloring with crayons had her craving a more grown up purpose to her life and she began blogging and freelance writing full time. You can learn more about her HERE.