This the most common question I get asked. The market is flooded with so many different classes, styles & techniques. Add into the mix teachers, experts and friends opinions on what styles you should and shouldnt adopt. Techniques you should and shouldnt practice and whats good and whats REALLY good for you. But how can you possibly know what yoga to start with and how to get started if you have never done yoga before?
Theres literally everything out there , from traditional styles where you will learn age old teachings from indian Guru’s in yoga studios, to more up to date teachings which may include more energetic physical practises in gyms and keep fit studios as we as a nation become more ‘obsessed’ with how we look. Theres restorative and relaxing yoga (yin/yoga nidra/restore) which maybe found in studios and temples and local church halls. Mother and baby yoga, pregnancy yoga and new fads like boxing yoga and even stoned yoga ( its a Californian thing - and a whole other blog post!). The lists of different yoga classes are endless. So where do you start? Here are my top tips:
1) Be honest with yourself. Forget about what you have been “advised” and simply strip back to basics of why you want to do yoga. Nobody cares about your answer - it isnt a trick question or test. Just simply be honest with you. If you can be honest and open with yourself then you will get some much more out of your practice. If its a toned body you want and you’re not fussed about the spiritual element of yoga then great (in the best possible sense) maybe look at more physical practices of yoga like Ashtanga or vinyassa flow, but whatever your start point its simply a focus point to begin a yoga practice, which is the first obstacle to over come. Just simply doing yoga. Rolling a mat out and beginning can be a huge mountain to climb for beginners. After you have begun practising, as long as you maintain an open mind and heart to any other possibilities that may result because of your phycial practice (and they will) then an exciting yoga jouruney will take its course.
2) Choose a beginners class. Whatever you do, do not let your ego take over and choose an intermediate or advanced level class because you think you’re pshyically strong. You may go to the gym five times a week and drink protein shakes after your regular spin class but it doesn’t mean your muscles and joints are used to being worked in a yoga class.
3)Don’t be too fussy about the teacher (to begin with). You will know know what kind of style and teacher suits you when you have experienced a few teachers and styles of class. Just choose a teacher and go with an open mind, the rest will fall inot place over time.
4)Only do what feels right. You’re going to need to connect your mind and body from the get go. Yoga means to unify. SO this is where the magic happens. If the teacher sets a posture for you and it feels strained or particually uncomfortable then perhaps its not for you and you should ease off and modify. I accept that when i am teaching not all postures and modifications are for everyone, and so i dont expect everyone to follow along all of the time. The most important thing to remeber is that you arent in competation with anyone else and you certainly arent in competition with yourself. Just be.