Yoga is rapidly gaining in popularity in the US. Whether doing it to create a better balance in life, gain strength, increase flexibility, or as a way to meet new, like-minded people; new studios and class offerings at conventional gyms are more available than ever. Here are 6 tips that will get you off to a great start.
- Wear comfortable clothes. In most styles of Yoga, you’ll be doing a lot of moving and contortionism. Find some clothes that don’t inhibit your movement or are too baggy that get in the way. For guys, regular gym shorts and a t-shirt are fine. Women have a plethora of options of yoga specific clothing.
- Grab a block (or three). Yoga blocks are used to assist in getting into certain poses. For example, in triangle pose, tight hamstrings may prevent one from placing their hand on the floor. Using a block will allow the same stretch without sacrificing your posture.
- Don’t be competitive. This is a tough subject for many people (me included) to digest. If you see others doing a more advanced pose, don’t try to one-up them if you aren’t ready. You’ll see much better results by doing a modified version of the same pose and over time, working your way up to it. Having poor form and throwing your body around is a good way to get injured.
- Use a yoga mat. Most gyms will provide mats for stretching that aren’t really yoga mats. These gym mats are too thick and the wrong dimensions to be used for yoga. They can be slippery (dangerous) and hard to balance on as well. Most yoga studios will let you borrow a yoga mat, and if you’re just getting started, you can find an inexpensive mat for under $15. If you end up falling in love with practicing yoga, you can buy a nice high end mat.
- Don’t try to immediately pick up on all the attractive guys/girls in your classes. Yes, this can be difficult as there are a lot of good looking people that do Yoga. However, asking for someone’s number during class is generally considered poor form. Talking before and after class can, however, can be a great way to meet new friends.
- Don’t be distracting during Savasana. Most classes incorporate a final resting pose, also called corpse pose, at the end of the class. This is an important relaxation pose, where students get a chance to enjoy the fruits of their work throughout the class and rejuvenate their body and mind. Loudly packing up your stuff and leaving during this part of class is definitely a party foul. Teachers and students both understand that some people may need to leave early, and the best way to do this is before Savasana starts.
Hopefully these tips will help you get into a regular Yoga practice, or give you the guts to try it out.