If you’re a newbie to the world of yoga, it’s safe to say it can be pretty intimidating. All that “omm-ing” and standing on your head or bending into positions we didn’t even know were possible can put anyone off, especially those of us who have no idea what to expect and how to go about trying it.
In an effort to dispel your queries, Goodness spoke to Kimberley Stokes, founder of Dubai’s New York-style yoga studio Urban Yoga, and asked for her top advice for anyone thinking of booking in to their first yoga class. Read on to find out her top tips and get inspired to channel your inner yogi.
Pick the Right Type for You
Most important is finding a style of yoga that works for you. If you’re looking to break a sweat, try Ashtanga, whereas Vinyasa is great for strengthening and stretching. If you’re feeling overworked, check out Yin & Deep Stretch Yoga to restore the body. And – of course – if you’re pregnant, pre-natal yoga offers amazing benefits!
If you’re totally new to yoga, getting hands-on attention from a teacher is the best way to build a strong foundation and to make sure you’re getting the most out of your practice. At Urban Yoga, we keep our classes personal to ensure you always have hands-on attention, so always ask before your class and alert your teacher to the fact you’re new.
Forget Everyone Else
Don’t be too concerned about what others think about your way of doing yoga when you step into a class. There is so much in a yoga class to concentrate on: the breathing, the alignment, the way your body reacts to movements, etc. Focus on yourself and enjoy it. If you feel more comfortable, set up at the back of the room. No one is really watching anyway!
Don't Forget to Breathe
Sometimes people new to yoga are concentrating so hard that they hold their breath. Taking long, deep breaths will actually make the poses easier, so focus on your breath first and foremost.
Modifying Is Okay
Each pose has several variations. There are ways to deepen the pose and to make it less challenging. Your teacher should be able to offer you a few variations of the same pose, and the variation that takes into consideration your needs is the one that will actually work for you. We aren’t all made the same or at the same level, so it’s about making it right for you.
Pain Is Not Okay!
Yoga is not supposed to be painful! A mild sensation when stretching is ok, but a shooting pain is not. Don’t push yourself too hard — take it slow so that you don’t injure yourself, and that way you’ll get more enjoyment out of each movement. If something doesn’t feel right, ask your teacher.
Connect With Your Teacher
You should leave class feeling at peace and like you’ve had a great workout. At Urban Yoga, we have more than 12 fantastic yogis teaching a range of styles – find your favorite or connect with them all. It’s really important to have that connection with your teacher to get the most out of your practice.
Always consult your physician before beginning any new exercise program.