Are you new to yoga? A new survey conducted by Yoga Alliance and Yoga Journal reports that the number of Americans doing yoga has grown by over 50% in the last four years to more than 36 million as of 2016, up from 20.4 million in 2012.
More than a third of Americans say they are very likely to try yoga in the next year.
If you are brand new to yoga make sure:
¬ You arrive at least 20 minutes before the class.
¬ Fill out forms online, if possible
¬ Go to the studio website and read policies for the studio (such as cancellation policy, mat rentals)
¬ Try speaking to the instructor to let him know that you are new to yoga
¬ Tell the instructor of any injuries you have
If you want to get started with yoga, here is an easy guide:
1. Yoga is more than physical activity.
The practice of yoga dates back more than 2,500 years and encompasses deep philosophy and promotes self-awareness, strength, perseverance, compassion, patience and love. With yoga, you connect your mind and your body, breathing and movement. If you want to gain the full benefits, don’t reduce it to being just a way to get a six-pack or a tighter butt. Make sure you see the bigger picture.
2. Be positive and set realistic goals
With anything, at first it may seem challenging and impossible to do. The physical postures might be difficult, and you may ask yourself why you would want to put yourself in uncomfortable poses. Even if you thought you were in good shape before beginning, you might be aching for days because you are engaging muscles you are not used to using. You might want to give up, but be patient with yourself. Make sure you dedicate specific days and times to practice yoga and stick to it.
3. Find a studio where you feel engaged and comfortable.
Being a part of a community of like-minded people will help you commit and show up. During your first week or two visit a variety of classes with different teachers and allow yourself the opportunity to find a class and teacher that will inspire and motivate you.
4. Choose a yoga mat.
There are a lot of mats out there, however many of them will be slippery once you start to sweat, or they don’t provide sufficient padding. Aperion Yoga mats ($97) are colorful and fun, but also functional and durable as well. The mats are sweat activated, non-slip made of eco-friendly, recyclable, 100% biodegradable odor-less natural tree rubber. Aperio, which is derived form the Greek word “limitless” was created by Adam Binder, who discovered a downfall of rubber yoga mats was sweat. Rubber mats became slippery and dangerous when wet. On top of that, many mats lacked originality and design. Binder then set out on a mission to create slip-proof, well-designed yoga mats that express individuality.
5. Be inquisitive about your poses.
Ask questions if it’s appropriate in class or wait until afterwards to connect with your teacher. If you are not sure about a certain pose, take the time to ask questions and learn. This will help prevent injuries from occurring, and it will also help you learn more about the strength of your own body. Yoga is a practice, and it is always changing. One day you might feel great and masterful in a pose and the next day, you might feel defeated and tired. Yoga is about flexibility – don’t be judgmental and hard on yourself.
6. Do research.
Go on the internet or read introductory yoga books to lean more. Yoga can lead to other outlets that engage mindfulness, such as meditation. Just Sit: A meditation Guide Book For People Who Know they Should But Don’t, by Sukey and Elizabeth Novogratz is perfect for people who’s schedule or skepticism has kept them from trying meditation. It is an approachable and visually engaging beginner’s guide for anyone who needs to de-stress and relax. This playfully illustrated and informative read includes and eight-week plan for busy novices to help keep on track and incorporate meditation daily into their lifestyle in order to enjoy its many physical and emotional benefits.
7. Have fun
Don’t take yoga too seriously. A great idea might be to recruit and friend and commit to a weekly class. This way you can support each other.