With summer in full swing, it is tempting to fill every open moment with social activities and weekends away. However, our minds and our bodies need rest and time to relax, and a yoga practice can be the perfect way to schedule in purposeful moments of calm. Whether you are a devout yogi or brand new to the practice, rolling out your yoga mat can make for a moment of peace and reflection during even the most hectic of days.
If you’re new to yoga, it is an ancient rhythmic movement practice that originated in India thousands of years ago and has become a popular form of physical activity. Yoga strings together a series of poses to create a routine, called “asanas,” with each asana focusing on a specific emotional or physical purpose.
How to start a yoga practice
The hardest part of starting yoga is often knowing where to begin. Check out our top tips for kickstarting your own practice and get ready to flow!
Select your preferred style
Yoga is a diverse fitness practice with more than eight different flow types. The various options within yoga make for a welcoming fitness experience, but you’ll want to make sure to know which style you prefer prior to booking your first class.
Start by researching various yoga poses and different styles of yoga. Each type of yoga has its own feel, some are more intense and really put the “work” in “workout” like Vinyasa. Vinyasa, one of the most popular styles, can be fast paced and challenging, whereas restorative yoga is slower paced and focused on relaxation. If you want to break a sweat, find a deep stretch or something in between – there’s a yoga style that’s right for you.
Tap a yogi buddy
Everything’s better with a friend and working out is no exception. According to the CDC, working out with a buddy makes you more likely to be motivated, adventurous and consistent. They recommend finding someone with a similar schedule and goals, and the same level of commitment.
Harnessing the power of a yogi buddy can help you throughout your yoga journey. When you are just starting out, your buddy will be able to hold you accountable when yoga isn’t a natural part of your routine yet. As you continue into your practice, you’ll be able to lean on a friend when motivation wanes and you need more long-term accountability. Plus, there’s nothing more fun than an after class social outing with your yogi bestie!
Set yourself up for success
The secret sauce to start any new habit is finding ways to integrate it naturally into your pre-existing routine. Are you a morning person? Slot in your flows for the early hours when you know you’ll have the most energy. Better yet, lay out your favorite yoga gear the night before so you don’t even have to second guess heading to class the next day!
Prefer to have something to look forward to after work? Schedule your yoga sessions like you would a work event or dinner with a friend, in your calendar. If you have trouble wrapping your day on time, set an alarm to let your mind know it’s time to stop working and start preparing for yoga time.
Try out studios near you
Our favorite part: find your yoga sanctuary! If you enjoy the ambiance of a yoga session (think serene music, a beautiful space and high end workout accessories) it’s time to check out a yoga studio. Flowing in person with an instructor also gives you the opportunity to receive individualized attention and modifications, which can be crucial for nailing the basics of yoga. Last but not least, attending a regular class provides you with a whole new community of fitness fans who will encourage you to stay focused and work harder. In fact, 81% of people say they push themselves harder in class than they do on their own. Ready to start exploring options? Check out studios in your area on ClassPass.
Know perfection is not the goal
One of the toughest aspects of yoga is working through movement that may not come naturally. Odds are that you will find yourself in a challenging pose during almost every class – whether that means holding your body in a new way or simply pushing yourself to be more flexible. The realization that perfection is not the end goal of yoga is freeing and a great lesson to take into other aspects of your life. Welcome the physical and mental challenges you overcome in yoga with open arms!