We believe that everyone can benefit from a consistent yoga practice, which is why we want to walk you through the 10 best beginner yoga tips we’ve gathered over the years.
Yoga allows us to establish a deeper connection with ourselves. It offers us a moment to ourselves to slow down our busy everyday lives and tap into how we are feeling. The lessons that we learn throughout the practice reach far and wide. We find them translating into lessons that we are faced with each and every day. Yoga is much more than the physical practice. But, as with anything else, you have to start at the beginning!
Things that most of us take for granted, like walking, actually seemed like difficult tasks at the very beginning. We had to try over and over again, falling down throughout the process, to finally be able to master it. As a community of teachers and students, we get asked about beginner yoga tips a lot. For some at first, yoga can seem like a whole new language.
To all of our yogis that are just starting their yoga journey, welcome! We are so excited that you’ve decided to join us.
Add ease into beginning your practice with these top ten beginner yoga tips.
Top 10 Beginner Yoga Tips
Wear the Right Clothes
There is nothing more distracting, and potentially annoying, than having to adjust your clothes throughout your whole practice. The last thing you want to be thinking about is what you look like when practicing (shirts falling open, pants falling down, etc.), so make sure to wear the right type of clothing. Wearing apparel that allows you to move without restriction and be comfortable throughout class is a must. We don’t want to be struggling to tuck in our shirts when in inverted poses or trying to hold up low-rise bottoms when bending forward. Instead, wear form-fitting fabric that stretches so that you can move with ease.
Begin Where You Are
This beginner’s time is best experienced with an open mind and an open heart. There is immense beauty in being a beginner and having no expectations or limitations on what is possible. There is no need to feel scared or embarrassed! Embrace the fresh outlook that you have as a beginner.
Ideally, start in a class specifically designed for beginners. Here you’ll learn foundation poses, alignment, breathing fundamentals, and the teacher’s own beginner yoga tips and tricks. If this isn’t an option, opt for a more gentle class. Gentle classes move at a slower pace, which will allow you to comfortably learn the postures, language, and breathwork. Pace yourself when learning a new practice, rather than rushing into a class you aren’t ready for. A fast-paced, hot power class may not be the best option when just starting out.
3) Arrive Early
A great way to add unnecessary pressure and stress is to be running late to your first class. Try to arrive about 15 minutes before class starts. This will give you time to get settled, pick a spot where you feel most comfortable, and acclimate to the space. This will also allow you to settle your breath and get into the proper headspace for class.
4) Introduce Yourself
Don’t be shy! Introduce yourself and let your teacher know that you’re new to yoga. Oftentimes, this will help the teacher guide your experience, and maybe even show you a little extra love during class. Your teacher may also be able to offer modifications for certain postures that can be more difficult for beginners, or even for your specific physical/emotional state. Ask your teacher for their own yoga tips for beginners!
5) Listen to Your Body
If you’ve never practiced yoga before (or even if you have!), chances are certain poses with feel a bit uncomfortable at first. Instead of trying to forcibly push your body beyond its current abilities, focus your energy on finding those poses that make you feel great. Yoga is supposed to feel good, so if there’s a pose or movement that causes strain or pain remember you can always modify. Use your breath as an indicator. If you find yourself holding your breath, take it back a notch. The breath is arguably the most important thing in a yoga practice. All poses should support deep and full breaths.
It’s also important to note that every day is a bit different. Some days, poses with feel effortless, and other days, you’ll be counting down the seconds until the pose. Always tune in, listen, and push your body to where you feel comfortable.
6) Listen For Cues and Adjustments
It’s not always easy but try to ignore the internal chatterbox and really tune in to what your teacher is saying during class. Students so often miss really valuable alignment cues that can really make a difference to a posture because they are too busy getting caught up in internal dialogue. Listening to your teacher can also be a gem of a way to come back to the present moment and can help you let go of thoughts about your dinner or weekend plans. Plus, teachers will often notice that you are a beginner (even if you don’t tell them) and might be sharing their own beginner yoga tips with you!
7) Don’t Compare Yourself to Others
As Theodore Roosevelt said, comparison is the thief of joy. Comparing yourself to the person next to you in class is an easy way to disconnect from your body’s needs and feel potentially feel inadequate. Yoga is not a competition. No one wins or loses. There is no “right” way to do it. Yoga is a practice. The journey is never over. Like life, there is no endpoint to get to. Keep your eyes on your own mat in order to focus on moving through the class in a way that serves you best.
8) Stay + Enjoy Savasana
This might be our favorite beginner yoga tip. Many beginners can experience the urge to skip out on savasana (final resting pose). While this pose isn’t “active”, it is one of the most important that you will encounter throughout class. It can also be the most challenging for beginners.
Sometimes, pausing and listening can bring up a lot of anxiety and irritability as most of us aren’t used to it. There is no need to try to stop your thoughts. The mind has thoughts all day. Instead, simply notice them, and work on returning focus to your breath. When the mind wanders, come back to the breath. Soften without judgement. The practice of guiding the mind into ease is one of the greatest lessons learned in life.
9) Try Different Styles
There are many different styles of yoga – Ashtanga, Bikram, Iyengar, Vinyasa, Kundalini, Yin, etc. These all include different sequences, paces, and energy levels. In addition to the different styles, you’ll also find variations depending on the teacher. Make sure to try out a few different styles and teachers to see which ones you like best. If one doesn’t resonate at first, challenge yourself to see what positives you can take away from it.
10) Go to Another Class!
Have you ever tried something for the first time and gotten it perfectly? Of course not! We don’t eat just one healthy meal, get one good night of sleep, or lift weights just once, and expect to get the results that we want. So why would we do that with yoga?
How many times did you try to ride a bike before you actually stayed up? Or how long did you swim with floaties on before you could do it on your own?
Yoga is a cumulative practice. With each class, you’ll get more comfortable and more advanced. With more consistency, comes more impact. It takes time to fully reap the benefits of the practice, although many report feeling amazing after just their first class. Keep showing up to class, and soon it will feel like a non-negotiable staple in your routine.
Always remember, being a beginner comes with its own magic. Enjoy the lessons and discoveries that come from learning something new. Show up with non-judgement and feel into it. We hope these beginner yoga tips help you on your journey…this practice will change your life.