Almost everyone these days has heard of 'Yoga', but perhaps not everyone knows exactly what it entails. Lured by promises of stress-relief, mental clarity, physical therapy, fitness & the ever popular "enlightenment" you might be tempted to dip a toe into the yoga waters, but where to start? Stepping into a yoga class at a local studio may seem super intimidating, so we're here to break down the main aspects of starting your yoga practice and make it a more enjoyable journey!
Locating The Right Studio
Yoga studios in major cities throughout the U.S are found on almost every block, much like Starbucks. But, not every studio is made equally. You will find that many local studios may offer a week of free yoga or another promotional offer to get you in the door. This is a great way to "try on" different studios: the atmosphere, cleanliness, amenities, community, quality of instruction, etc. Another option is to try fitness apps like ClassPass, a monthly subscription based service which allows you to purchase class credits to be used at studios of your choosing.
Connecting to a Style of Yoga
There are so many different types of yoga to practice, we encourage you strongly to try them all. Never write-off yoga because you had a bad class. There is so much variety in the discipline that there truly is something for everyone. Whether you're an athletic person who needs a challenging workout paired with your meditation or a physically handicapped person looking to heal over time, there is a practice for you. From Bikram or hot yoga varieties, to Restorative & Yin yoga, at its core, yoga is all about the breath.
Finding The Perfect Teacher
We can all recall back to grade school, that one teacher who really "spoke" to us. Who lit us up inside and helped us understand the message, not just hear it. Finding a yoga teacher who really delivers that message, connecting with you on all levels- that's your teacher. The perfect teacher can take your practice to levels and spaces you never knew existed in the universe or within yourself. With that said, teachers who leave us feeling lackluster or even frustrate us open up an opportunity of self-growth through dedication & patience.
Supporting Your Practice
First off, let us start by saying yoga can be practiced anywhere in any attire! With that, having a nice foundation for your practice can take things to the next level & create a beautiful space for your physical yoga practice. Since our Earth is vital for every single one of us, we suggest going the eco-friendly route. Our friends over at CosumersAdvocate.org did all the leg work (pun intended) for us, examining the ins and outs of the yoga mat. To check out their full detailed report of the best eco-friendly mats on the market today, click here. We love the idea of buying from a local shop you trust, alternatively, Amazon has an amazing return policy to shop with peace of mind.
As for yoga clothing, there are so many options out there. Expensive doesn't mean better, and we fully support you wearing those $14.99 leggings from Target to class. We do recommend stretchy, breathable clothing that you feel comfortable moving in for extended periods of time. Fitted is often better, as you will spend class moving from the mat to your feet, upside down and right side up, and loose t-shirts can flop around.
Continuing Your Education
If you really want to dive head first into your yoga journey, try a relaxing & inspiring retreat. Typically hosted in tropical, tranquil locales, retreats allow you to make lasting friendships, learn more about yoga & yourself, kick-start your life & create new purpose. Retreats can span a day to a full week or more, locally or internationally. If you're feeling called to an experience like this, check out our retreat page.
Workshops are also a great way to expand & evolve your practice. Typically only a few hours or perhaps spanning a couple of days, workshops allow you to hone in on a certain aspect of your practice, a particular type of yoga, a spiritual theme, etc. Workshops are a wonderful place to network & make lasting relationships as well.
If you truly feel a calling to not only practice yoga, but to perhaps spread the gift to others, look into a Teacher Training program. Intensive programs can be as short as a few weeks long for 200 hour certification, while others accommodate work/school schedules running on nights and weekends for months at a time. It is very important to do you research on TT programs at each studio, checking to see the likelihood of that studio hiring its own graduates, investment cost, what is included in the price of the program, who will be leading the program, etc.
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