No matter your fitness level or age, yoga is one of the most effective regimens to help you feel good, relieve stress and improve your overall health. If you’ve never practiced yoga before, don’t be intimidated by all the jargon and the vast variety of classes out there. It’s all really simple, and the tips that follow can help any beginning yogi charter a course to personal discovery and improved well-being that comes from regular yoga practice.
First things first. Choosing your first class to attend is step one on your yoga journey. Start small with a beginning yoga class. College campuses and community centers often offer free classes and clubs for yoga enthusiasts, so it can be a smart move to run through those options first. Local yoga studios may also a complimentary first class or two for beginners to get the feel for yoga and determine if it’s something they enjoy. If you’re not ready for an in-person class or can’t work it into your schedule, browse YouTube to find a bevy of yoga videos for beginners, or pick up a beginner’s yoga DVD or two on Amazon.
One of the best things about yoga is that you can do it anywhere, any time, and without buying a ton of “stuff” to get started. The only real piece of equipment you need to get started with yoga is a yoga mat, which helps you find your balance and keep your footing during your routine while also cushioning your knees and other joints from the floor. There is a veritable slew of yoga mat options out there in an array of sizes, thicknesses, quality levels, and materials, and not all are created equally. Most entry-level mats fold for easy toting and are made from simple PVC, foam, rubber, jute, or cotton; choosing which to buy may just boil down to personal preference for the material, any allergies you have, and of course, budget. You may also want to invest in a tote for your bag and a water bottle.
Just as important as the mat you choose is the yoga workout attire you’ll wear. Above all, you want to keep comfort in mind, since you need to stretch and move into a range of positions to get the full benefits of your routine. Still, your clothing should be snug enough so that it stays on you without restricting your movements. For these reasons, investing in a couple of good tops and bottoms and a good sports bra designed just for yoga is important.
Select a top that only reveals as much skin as you’re comfortable revealing without having to constantly tug on it to keep yourself sufficiently covered, the latter of which is a huge distraction and is anything but relaxing. A simple form-fitting yoga tank can suffice. Legging (either pant-length or capri-length) are an excellent choice for bottoms, since they are lightweight and hug your body. Select gusseted pants (they have a triangle or diamond-shaped fabric swathe in the crotch region to relieve pressure to that region during your routine). It’s a good idea to choose moisture-wicking material to stay dryer and cooler.
There you have it – with just a few essentials you can be out the door and ready to strike a pose and begin a lifelong love of yoga.