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How to Get Started Today
Yoga Beginner's Guide
Curious about yoga and how to get started? You’ve come to the right place. We collaborated with our resident expert yogini, Amy Ippoliti, to create a comprehensive guide to get you breathing, stretching, and freeing your body and mind today.
Best of all, you can start today. Right now. Read through the guide below and remember to have fun with it and go at your own pace. The only requirement? Forget what you think you know about yoga.
In this yoga beginner’s guide, we’ll discuss the following topics. Choose a topic below or continue reading for more:
Beginner's Guide to Yoga
Amy Ippoliti,
prana ambassador
About Amy Ippoliti
Our Contributing Author & prAna Ambassador Amy is a yoga teacher, author, and earth activist. She has studied yoga since the age of 16. She is known for her caring, genuine style of teaching, compelling and clear instruction, and engaging sense of humor.
Learn more about Amy’s experience, her story, and inspiring mission:
Amy Ippoliti - prAna Ambassador.
First things first: You Belong Here
If you’re new to yoga, walking into your first class can be an intimidating experience. But rest assured, you are in the right place. Just having the courage to walk into the studio means you belong there, means you are qualified to be there, means you are ready to take a chance.
Nothing about you—not your ability to afford a class or the gear, not your skin color, not your body type, not your preconceived notions of what a yoga student looks like—should limit your willingness to take up yoga.
If yoga is meant to accomplish anything, it’s the ability to clear your mind and do something good for yourself.
“When you walk into a class for the first time, be confident, not intimidated. The most important thing to know is that everyone is welcome in yoga. The fact that you showed up means you are qualified to be there! The second most important thing to know: you will be guided through the practice and you're not alone.”
Beginner's Guide to Yoga
mermaid pose
What are the health benefits of yoga?
Sure, clarity of mind is important, but what about the health benefits? If setting aside 60 minutes to practice yoga sounds like more stress than it’s worth because of obligations and check lists and errands and so on, consider these known side effects of practicing yoga:
  • Stress reduction
  • Increased strength and flexibility
  • Improved balance and body control
  • Conscious outlets for emotions such as anger, sadness, and depression
  • Body awareness
Sound like it might be worth the 60 minutes now?
“Connecting with the physical form of your body, being 'embodied,' is of great importance to your overall health and inner peace.”
Beginner's Guide to Yoga
standing prayer pose
How to Find the Right Beginner’s Yoga Class?
An effective way to get started is with a beginner yoga series at your local yoga studio. Look for a course made up of beginner level classes over a several weeks. You’ll receive a solid introduction into what a yoga class can offer, learn the basics, and work through some beginning progressions with an experienced teacher and the same group of students.
“Many people ask how to find the right teacher. I tell them to look for someone who resonates with them. When a student walks into the studio, they should connect with the teacher, feel like they have arrived, feel like the teacher is speaking directly to them.”
If your local studio doesn’t have a beginner series, don’t worry. Look for a beginner class and start there. Each class will be different, so taking the same beginner’s class will provide plenty of variety and keep you on your toes.
Still not seeing a “Beginner’s Class” you feel comfortable with?
No worries. Each class is made up of a series of progressions,
meaning your teacher will guide you through poses meant to warm up your body and continue to push your practice. Speak with the teacher before class begins, and they will happily point out those variations considered beginning level poses while helping you understand how to listen to your body and be patient.
Try Before Your Buy
Talk with the team at the studio and see if they have any introductory
offers for new students. Once you’ve experienced a good month of regular yoga practice, you’ll likely be more confident in committing more time and money to continuing.
Seriously, even just one class is often all it takes to understand the potential of yoga!
practice from home
If the idea of walking into a studio for the first time still sounds intimidating, why not start practicing yoga in the comfort of your own home?
Check out YogaGlo: online yoga and meditation you can do anywhere.
They offer a free 15-day yoga trial, and provide classes for all levels, regardless of experience.
While connecting with a teacher and experiencing the progressions in person is an important part of any yoga practice, YogaGlo is a great resource to get started and learn more about the potential of practicing yoga.
You can even take a number of YogaGlo classes with Amy, ranging from 10 minute long level 1 classes, to 90 minute long level 2-3 classes to pure meditation classes.
“With today's busy schedules, traffic, and various other deterrents, YogaGlo provides yoga, anywhere, anytime, and for as long or as short as you prefer! While it's vital to practice in community and at a studio, for those times when you just can't - YogaGlo is the answer!”
Beginner's Guide to Yoga
downward dog pose
How to Prepare for your First Yoga Class
The most important thing to do before your first yoga class? Clear your mind. Prepare to shut off the outside world and allow yourself to focus on YOU for at least 60 minutes.
Do whatever you need to do to get to a place where you can pay attention to the way your body feels. If that means writing down everything you need to accomplish during the day, walking the dog, starting the laundry, mowing the lawn, sending out a few emails, whatever, do it, and then unplug.
3 Ways to Prepare for Your First Yoga Experience
1
Carve out 60 minutes from your day
2
Be open up to the yoga experience
3
Allow yourself to be guided through the practice
What to Expect from Your First Yoga Class
Yoga buzz: similar to a runner’s high, the yoga buzz you experience after a class is exhilarating and lasts throughout the rest of the day. Life seems to slow down; there’s a rush of energy across your entire body; clarity provides a new perspective; the more consistently you practice, the longer you remain in this buzzed, blissful state.
Sound a little too abstract for you? Take the chance, you won’t be disappointed. In the very least, you will have been present, in the moment, working hard at something. What have you got to lose?
Layer 215
What to Wear & Other Tips for your First Class
As you prepare for your first yoga class, there’s a few basics you’ll want to consider:
  • Wear something that allows a full range of motion
  • Wear something that is supportive but not tight
  • Wear a form-fitting top or one you can tuck for times when you are inverted
  • Bring a towel if you sweat easily
  • Leave your phone in airplane mode in your bag
  • Take your shoes off when you enter the studio
  • Yoga is practiced with bare feet, so take socks off before class
  • Introduce yourself to the teacher (and other students in the class if you like)
  • Ask the teacher if class will require a block or strap so you don’t have to get up mid-class
Find the Perfect Fit
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Check Out Our
Our guide to yoga tops and bra tops is organized by the amount of support they provide. Find the perfect fit for your first class here.
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Check Out Our
Our guide to yoga pants is organized by the silhouette of the pant, ranging from crop pants to leggings to joggers and more.
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Check Out Our
We offer a range of yoga mats, optimized for your workout and your needs, from travel mats to super sticky cushioned mats. Check out the list of 5 things to consider below.
Beginner's Guide to Yoga
How to Find the Right Mat?
You don’t need to buy a mat unless you want to. Studios typically have mats you can borrow or rent.
If you would like to buy a new yoga mat, here’s a few things to consider:
1. Padding
How sensitive are
your knees?
2. Travel
consider a thinner mat if you will be traveling or carrying the mat a lot
3. Test
try a few mats from other students or friends before you buy one
4. Breaking In
clean the mat before your first use to remove any slickness
5. Clean
depends on how much you sweat, stick to at least once a month
yogamat
what to look for in a good teacher
As you enter your first class, introduce yourself to the teacher and let them know this is your first time. Let the teacher know if you have any injuries or stiff areas. And definitely let your teacher know if you’re pregnant.
Look for a teacher that speaks to you, guides you, and allows you to open up into the practice and really focus on your body, the pose, your breath. Take classes with different teachers to understand the differences in style and type of yoga.
Most importantly, be sure to take care of your checklist before you join your first class. Carving out that time for yourself is extremely important, whether you’re practicing yoga or going for a run, reading a book or just closing your eyes and clearing your mind for a few minutes. Take the time to wipe the slate clean and check in with yourself.
5 Poses to Expect
Familiarize yourself with the following five poses, as these are the most common poses you’ll encounter in any yoga class.
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Standing
Backbend
Pose
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Downward Facing
Dog Pose
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Upward Facing
Dog Pose
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Crescent Moon
Pose
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Half Lord of the
Fishes Pose
5 Words To Know
Here are a few words you’re likely to hear in your first class. Don’t worry, there isn’t a test and you won’t have to repeat these words. Knowing them will simply help you sink deeper into the experience.
Namaste
Namaste:
“the light in me acknowledges/sees the light in you;” usually said right at the end of the practice as a closing
Vinyasa
Vinyasa:
Moving from pose to pose connected by the breath
Ujayii
breath
Ujayii breath:
a kind of breath that makes a sound, reminding you to breathe deeply and slowly
Om
Om:
a sound sometimes chanted at the beginning and end of the class to connect to universal energy and bookmark your practice
Savasana
Savasana, or Corpse Pose: the final relaxation at the end of class
Links for Further Research
Want to learn a bit more before you fully commit to yoga? Here’s a few resources to check out for further research.
Really Want to Get in the Mood?
Check out the yoga playlist here, along with some musical recommendations from Amy to help you open up to your first yoga experience.
 
 
 
 
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