A beginners guide to all things Yoga

Thinking of starting Yoga? Here’s what you need to know

Beginners Yoga courseThe first class is always the hardest! You think you’ve come to yoga to relax, and it’s anything but. There’s so much to DO – move this way, that way, co-ordinate how you move with your breathing. It can be hard to keep up.

Our advice: Yoga is a skill, and gets much easier the more you practice. It will take a few weeks to get into the groove. Feel good about taking the first step. *Smile and don’t worry about doing it right.

There are so many types of yoga – which one should I do?

If you’re a complete newbie, we suggest a short beginners course where the pace will be slower and everyone in the group is starting together. Once you feel confident, move into a mixed ability class.

At Studio Yoga we have three styles of general yoga classes: Hatha classes are suitable for all and focus on linking breath and movment with students encouraged to work at their own level; Vinyasa Flow is a fluid, dynamic style, where the poses link together into a continuous sequence while Iyengar, is more meticulous, with an emphasis on precision and alignment, excellent for building strength and flexibility. We also teach restorative yoga, which focuses on rest and relaxation.

Consider having some private tuition.

Group classes are a relatively modern phenomenon. Yoga was originally taught on an individual basis and should always be adapted to the needs of the practitioner, not the other way round. A 1:1 class allows the teacher to assess you and ensure you’ve mastered the basic principles before you join a group. For those wanting to start this way we recommend a block of three sessions to get you going.

Learning yoga online can be much harder than in a class.

Practising at home with YouTube is great if you already know what you’re doing, but nothing beats having an experienced teacher in front of you who is able to read your body and guide you in and out of postures in a way that’s most appropriate for you. In you have a pre-existing injury doing yoga on your own could be more dangerous than in class where the instructor can give you individualised feedback and help.

Don’t worry if you can’t touch your toes…

…Or sit cross-legged on the floor. Tight hips and hamstrings – maybe from too much sitting in a chair or just your own genetic make-up – can make these things feel very challenging. But just doing nothing is not going to help. So come to yoga class and persevere.

There are multiple benefits from practising yoga regularly.

Yoga is a holistic activity and is good for mental as well as physical well-being. It helps keep our bodies in good shape, improving strength and flexibility and promoting the healthy functioning of the nervous, respiratory, digestive and cardio-vascular systems. There is evidence that regular practice is good for people with high blood pressure, heart disease, aches and pains, musculo-skeletal problems, depression, stress and anxiety. At Studio Yoga, we teach Yoga for Healthy Lower Backs, a 12 week programme of gentle yoga which has been clinically proven to ease the symptoms of chronic low back pain.

*Grimacing and clenching just makes everything tighter. Honest!