Top tips if you're new to yoga

It's often the first few steps that are the hardest when undertaking any new pursuit. Yoga can bring you many physical and mental benefits so it's worth taking the plunge. Whether this stems from a New Year's resolution, a set challenge or you simply fancy shaking up your routine, here are a few insider tips on how to get started.

  1. Celebrate each mini milestone

You could see quite a wide range of yoga capabilities in your class, from complete beginners to experienced yogis. Don't focus on what others can do, it may have taken them years to achieve the perfect one-legged crow. At the end of each class think of one thing you have achieved and thank your body for it – no matter how small.

  1. Move at your own pace

Everyone has a different breathing rhythm, so we can all expect to move through yoga postures at a different pace. You can end up feeling frazzled or rushed if you try matching your neighbour's pace, so don't hesitate to take your time – most teachers will encourage you to find your own rhythm during the class.

  1. Listen to your body

Yoga is an individual practice, everyone feels it in a different way. Take your cues from the instructor, but learn to listen to your body and come out of a pose if you feel pain in any way. Ask the teacher for advice on how to modify the position or move into a different one to suit your body. Yoga definitely does not follow a 'no pain no gain' mentality.

  1. Buddy up

Trying something you've never done before can be daunting, so asking a friend to join you will help you feel more confident. It can also make this more of a social outing rather than a chore. Plus you're more likely to commit to regular long-term exercise if you have someone by your side. Also, remember to be social in your yoga class by making an effort to talk to others. Take it as an opportunity to make new friends!

  1. Invest in some wardrobe motivation!

We’re not saying to rush out and buy hundreds of yoga pants but treating yourself to a special outfit can really boost that motivation to get yourself to a yoga class! Choose something which, makes you feel body confident and that puts a smile on your face, while providing comfort during your practice.                         

  1. Find your tribe

There are many types of yoga, from Ashtanga to Iyengar, and each discipline varies in its focus. Take the time to explore a few and find one which suits you best. You may also find that the yoga studio has a big impact on your enjoyment of the class. And, of course, an inspiring teacher will make all the difference! 

  1. One more thing...

It's worth checking with your chosen yoga venue whether they provide mats. Most do, as well as blocks, blankets and belts, but you may find with time that you prefer to invest in your own mat, as this will also allow you to practice at home or in the park come Spring. 

 Enjoy your practice!

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