How to Get Started With Yoga

Yoga is a popular practice throughout the world that combines breathing, movement, and meditation. Imported to the United States from India over a century ago, yoga has long been praised for its physical and spiritual benefits.

Types of Yoga

  • Hatha yoga classes tend to be good for beginners because they're slower-moving.
  • Vinyasa, Ashtanga, and power yoga classes can be more challenging, depending on the level of instruction.
  • Iyengar has a strong focus on proper alignment, and often uses props to help students perfect their form.
  • Hot yoga is yoga practiced in a hot environment—many studios reach 104 degrees F. Many people enjoy doing yoga in the heat, but people who are sensitive to heat or have certain medical conditions may find hot yoga uncomfortable.What is Code Editor?

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Yoga places a strong focus on breathing, which research shows can really pay off when it comes to your health.

"Yoga is about the breath," says Jenay Rose, a 500-hour Registered Yoga Teacher, online fitness coach, and social media influencer. "The hardest part is showing up, so if you can just master breathing, you're practicing.”

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Depending on the studio and instructor, pose names might be referenced in Sanskrit or English, or a combination thereof. This can be confusing the first few times you attend class.

Review some of the most common poses to familiarize yourself with the English and Sanskrit names, as well as their basic form.

Favorites like child's pose (balasana) and downward facing dog (adho mukha svanasana) are incorporated into just about every yoga class. Other common poses and sequences include the warrior poses and sun salutations.

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Most studios encourage students to bring their own yoga mats to class, but if you don't have a mat of your own, they're often available to rent for a small fee. Check with your local studio to see what their protocol is. Otherwise, you're unlikely to need much of anything.

Studios and gyms typically provide all the equipment and props you'll need, including bolsters, blocks, and blankets.

If you plan to try yoga at home, you may want to buy a few basics or find substitutes around your house before you start. For instance, you can use a belt or scarf in place of a yoga strap and throw pillows or a sturdy hard-cover book for yoga blocks.

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What To Wear

Choose comfortable, stretchy pants or shorts and a close-fitting top that won't fly up over your head every time you perform an inversion.

You won't need special shoes because yoga is done barefoot. You can also wear a pair of yoga socks with grips on the bottom to keep your feet from sliding around on your mat.

Common Myths

There are a lot of myths surrounding the practice of yoga. But that's just it—they're myths, not reality. Believe it or not, yoga isn't just for those identifying as female. You don't have to be flexible to do yoga.
Yoga isn't a religion. Yoga isn't "too hard" or "too easy." Yoga isn't just for vegetarian hippies. Yoga is for everyone at every level, and yoga can fit into every lifestyle.
If you're open to trying the practice, you just might discover how inclusive and uplifting yoga can be.

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