Getting Started with Yoga – A Beginner’s Guide
Starting your yoga journey can be intimidating. You may feel nervous and anxious just like when you step into a gym for the first time. There are many varieties of yoga and it can be difficult to decide where to begin.
There isn’t one specific type of yoga that will universally fit everyone's needs. Each kind of yoga has its own benefits, especially when every one of us has our own personal goals due to age, gender, body type etc. Some may even be on a spiritual journey and for some, it can be personal fitness goals or even just a new way of life.
Practicing yoga is not just about holding specific poses for a certain period of time, but it is a basis for developing good habits like daily discipline, mindfulness and self-awareness. Starting your yoga journey is opening the door to self-empowerment and development to a better life. Every beginner will ask the same question “where do I begin and which one is the best for me?”
Here are some yoga practices we recommend for a beginner
- Hatha Yoga
Hatha Yoga focuses on the basics requiring you to hold each pose for a certain period of time while incorporating breathwork (pranayama) and meditation. Expect a slower paced style of a yoga session and is perfect if you are just starting out. Although some poses may potentially become physically demanding, there are still plenty of poses for beginners to build up your flexibility, balance and awareness.
- Yin Yoga
Some of us practice yoga with a goal to relax, become calmer like meditation. Yin Yoga is the type of yoga if you want to find the connection and balance with your body and mind. Similar to meditation, this practice is where you will achieve equanimity. Yin Yoga requires you to perform yoga poses for a few minutes at a time where you want to connect deeper with your muscles and nerves, improving flexibility and mobility.
- Vinyasa Yoga
For those getting into yoga with a bit of a fitness background, Vinyasa is the one for you. Vinyasa Yoga practices have more energy and flow to it. Unlike Hatha Yoga, Vinyasa requires less time spent in maintaining particular poses as it is a faster practice and will elevate your heart rate by the end of the session. Vinyasa Yoga is great for beginners who are into bootcamp, HIIT and are after a more intense workout as it is done at a much faster pace with continuous movement.
How to start Yoga as a beginner
There are plenty of places that offer yoga classes now. This includes gyms and community sports centres, local outdoor events, health practices (chiropractic, therapy offices), online classes and private yoga studios (Check out Studio12). Find the best option that suits your lifestyle and schedule and begin with one to two sessions per week to build up a habit. Once you start noticing improvement in your practice both physically and mentally, you may start increasing the number of classes per week or try a different style of yoga.
How to Prepare and What to Expect from a Yoga session
The most basic item required is a yoga mat. Whether you’re just practicing at home or at the local studio, it is always best to use your own yoga mat. Using your own yoga mat has many benefits from being familiar with the grip and cushion of your own mat to personal hygiene reasons. And today, carrying a fancy yoga mat is a fashion statement! (Read more about our Cork Yoga Mat: The Perfect Yoga Companion)
Another item we highly recommend is a reusable water bottle. It is essential to be hydrated before and during a yoga class as well as rehydrating after class. Another benefit of replenishing your body with water after a yoga class is grounding yourself. Grounding is important especially after a Hatha or Yin Yoga session. (Check out our Bamboo Reusable Water Bottle)
A yoga session ranges from 60 to 90 minutes depending on the type of yoga and usually lea\d by at least one yoga instructor going through different poses and transitions while incorporating some breathing exercises. The teacher will lead and demonstrate in front of the class and finish off the session with a Savasana (Corpse pose with your eyes closed). This is a great way to end a session by connecting your body with the mind.