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6 Tips for Choosing Your First Yoga Class

Yoga is spreading across the country! New studios are popping up left and right, which is great—but this may leave new yogis a bit confused about where to start. Here are some tips to help you find a studio that fits your level, your personality, and your goals.

Find a beginner series

These are typically workshops that cover the basics of yoga. They introduce students to the language used in class, beginner poses, and sometimes even a brief history of yoga—all of which can be extremely helpful for newbies.

Don’t dive too deep

If you can’t find a beginner series near you or just want to jump in, look for Level 1 yoga classes. “Level 1” doesn’t mean the class is less challenging; it’s just geared towards those who are new to yoga. You typically won’t get into difficult inversions—sometimes, there will be no inversions at all—and you probably won’t try any arm balances either. But that’s a good thing. You need to learn more about your body and what it’s capable of before you attempt advanced postures. Trying them too soon will increase your risk of injury.

Avoid rigorous classes and styles of yoga

Wait until you’re comfortable with your practice to try styles like Ashtanga. You will learn more about which postures you can attempt, or when you should take a break, as you become better acquainted with your body structure.

Warm up to hot yoga

Practicing hot yoga is an entirely different experience than practicing yoga at a normal room temperature. Show up with plenty of water, a towel, and a change of clothes. Most importantly, do not push yourself. If you need to take a break, take one. Your body isn’t used to being in a room heated to upwards of 105 degrees, so give yourself time to adjust. There’s no shame is lying down for some of the class (or all of it) just to get used to the heat. Anyone who has taken a hot yoga class has been there.

Get style savvy

You may think yoga is yoga, but there are multiple styles and lineages: hatha, Bikram, bhakti, ashtanga, restorative, gentle, Jivamukti, acro, aerial, Iyengar. And that’s by no means a comprehensive list. Before you choose one, think about what you want to get out of yoga. Do you want to sweat? Do you want a challenge? Are you looking to relax? Are you pregnant or nursing an injury? Do you like repetition? Do you want to focus on learning about the spiritual side of yoga?

Narrowing down the list of yoga styles will be easier once you have a purpose in mind. If you’re not sure, try different styles to see which one fits your personality best. Even if you find a style you love, check out the others to get a sense of their differences.

Find a teacher who inspires you

As you learn more about the style you like, you also want to find a yoga teacher you enjoy. Yoga is a journey. Find someone who you can learn from, who helps you grow in your practice, and who you are comfortable with, to lead you on that journey. Namaste.

Jennifer Minchin
Jennifer Minchin

Jennifer Minchin is a lover of yoga, words, and a good challenge. After 13 years of a dedicated yoga practice, she continued her journey with a 200-hour teacher training. She has always been drawn to more challenging classes, believing that you can find tremendous personal insight and courage when working at your edge. She believes that yoga is a path to transformation and a great healer. She hopes to share her love of yoga, and what she has learned in her studies, through her writing. Jennifer resides in Hoboken, New Jersey.

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