Yoga is for everybody and every BODY. Yes, it truly is. I’ll write more about yoga inclusivity, yoga accessibility, and more on other posts. But I want you to know this, if you want to start a yoga practice, you are entitled to that. No one has the permission to tell you that you can’t do yoga. You get to decide for yourself, because it is YOUR practice.
So, how can you get started? This post is speaking to a physical practice of yoga asana, meaning the postures of yoga. Sometimes they are called poses, but I don’t like using that term because it makes it feel like a performance. Most of us in the west are doing yoga as asana, even though there are seven other aspects of yoga that I will get in to later. Yoga asana is widely available in many, many forms, including public classes, online classes, books, and more. I’ll outline each one and you can decide what’s right for you!
Public Yoga Classes
You can find public yoga classes at gyms, yoga studios, community centers, recreation centers, and even parks and beaches. Usually the more casual a class is, like at a park or a beach, it might be free or donations based. Gyms will require an ongoing, monthly membership and studios are a pay-per-class kind of situation. The demographics of where you live will highly influence how much you pay for yoga. Which is sad, unfortunate, and another topic for another day. Some metropolitan areas offer donations based yoga, in an effort to have those who can pay help to offset the costs of those who cannot pay.
If you are attending yoga for the first time, I would consider finding a local studio that has beginning yoga classes. Or you can try yoga at the gym and let the instructor know that you are new to the practice. It might be intimidating, and vulnerable. Please know that no one is watching you or critiquing you. People come to yoga to get in to their bodies and mentally check out. If you have reservations, and it just feels terribly uncomfortable for you, walk away. No one is making you stay. You don’t owe the teacher anything. Listen to your body and do what is best for you.
I recommend trying out lots of classes at lots of places until you find a few key teachers that you really enjoy. And then attend their classes regularly. Mix it up, go to the teachers that you like at different times and on different days. Find a rhythm that works for your schedule and your routine.
At Home Yoga
You can get started at home with yoga with a variety of resources, including books, online streaming, dvds, and audio yoga. I would suggest doing some guided yoga first before you have a home practice. There are thousands of yoga classes to stream on YouTube. I WISH I could offer you all of my classes, but recording classes is hard work and I haven’t gotten there yet. I don’t have the space, literally, and haven’t really dedicated time to it yet. But I’ll get there one day!
There are also online streaming services like YogaGlo, OneoEight, Yoga Anytime, Gaia, Om Stars, and more. These are monthly memberships that you pay for and you have full access to all the classes. I like YogaGlo the best. They have my favorite teachers, and you can pick the duration of the class, the ability level, the type of class, what area of the body the class focuses on, etc. Most of them are between $14-20 a month, WAY less than a gym or studio!
You can also go to your library and check out some books and dvds on yoga, there should be a good amount at any large library. You will find some you love and some that you don’t like at all. It’s good to start paying attention to what resonates with you. so try a little bit of everything.
When it comes to having a home practice, I’ll do an entire post about this because I think it deserves that much attention. Or maybe a video. So stay tuned for that soon! A home practice means that you guide yourself through a yoga sequence, without a video or audio recording guiding you.
You can also hire your favorite local teacher to come in to your home and offer you personalized, one on one yoga! (*hint hint!!) :)
I hope these tips help you get started. It can be vulnerable and scary to start a yoga practice, so give it some time. Treat it carefully, like a new special thing you are excited about bringing in to your life. Be easy on yourself. Walk away from anything that makes you feel like you don’t belong or like you are “doing it wrong”. No one can tell you what your practice is like except for you. It’s your own personal journey. Have fun with it!
Let me know when you get started, I can’t wait to hear about it!