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How To Start A Yoga Practice

I may be biased because I’ve been a yoga teacher for over a decade, and a student of yoga for nearly 25 years now….but I have to say: yoga is really one of the most transformative practices in the world. 

Yoga comes from India, and it has been around for thousands of years. Which kind of says a lot, doesn’t it?

I mean, if something can stand the test of time, there must be something special about it. 

Yoga is a holistic practice that involves the body, mind, and spirit. While most people today consider yoga to be just about twisted up pretzely shapes, the truth is that the full yoga practice is about so much more than what you can do with your body. 

Asana (yoga postures) tend to be the gateway through which most people enter the yoga practice. Probably because that’s how yoga is marketed to us. But also because many people start yoga due to physical needs- like wanting to gain flexibility, increase strength, improve mobility, enhance balance, or treat an injury. 

Today’s post is for people who are interested in starting a yoga practice, but don’t necessarily know how to yet. I’ll share a round-up of tips for exactly what you need in order to start your yoga practice in order to stay in it for the long run. 

Learn how to maintain a self practice

Learn beginner yoga poses HERE

Check out the Beginner section on my app for guided classes. 

How To Start A Yoga Practice

How To Start A Yoga Practice

Trust me when I say that I know it can be intimidating to start a yoga practice. 

Whether you’re starting in a yoga studio, where it can be daunting to walk in as a newbie and not understand all of the lingo yet. Or whether you’re starting at home, and don’t know exactly where or how to begin. 

The yoga practice can be vulnerable, not only because of the shapes that our bodies make, but also because of the mental and emotional response that can follow. 

That being said, it’s vital that you find a safe space for your yoga practice. Remembering that safety includes protection of the mind, body, and heart. 

Learn yoga with me in the comfort of your own home HERE.

Get A Yoga Mat 

First things first, it really helps to get a yoga mat. I’m not saying you necessarily need to make a big investment like this mat, I’m just sharing with you my personal favorite one. 

Yes, some people start on carpet, or use a bath towel on a hard floor. And that can work just fine when you’re first starting out. 

However, it will be a lot more comfortable (and safe!) for you to have something more padded and grippy should you choose to stick with the practice long term. 

Get Yoga Props

Assuming that you’re starting as a total beginner, make sure to grab some props before your first class. If you’re taking a studio class, then just ask them where the yoga blocks and straps are. 

And if you’re taking a class at home, then I’d order two blocks before you jump in. 

This will really help to support you not only in the early stages of practicing, but throughout your entire yoga journey. 

I’ve been doing yoga for over two decades and I still love to use props. So it’ll be worth it, I swear!

Learn how to do splits with yoga blocks.

How To Start A Yoga Practice

Find Beginner Friendly Classes

This might sound like a no-brainer, but seriously: make sure you only take beginner classes when you first start!

Check the label of the class before you sign up. If it’s not clear, then ask. 

Obviously if you take a class online that’s out of your skill level, you can just turn it off and find another one. But when you’re in person, it’s not really the best move to just walk out of a class halfway through. 

Remember That Pain Is Different Than Challenge

I’m not going to sugarcoat this for you, k? Yoga is going to be challenging. You might tremble as you hold the poses, and you might feel sore the next day. 

And that’s okay!

The important thing to remember is that pain is different from challenge. A key component of yoga practice is getting to know yourself and your body better by finding your own personal “edge” in each posture. 

Only you live on your own, so only you get to decide when to push it further and/or when to back off. 

Learn more about what the edge is in yoga.

Make A Schedule You Can Stick To

One of the best ways to build a new habit is to practice consistency. And one of the best ways to cultivate consistency is to make a ritual out of it. 

It’s easy to make these commitments when you’re taking classes in a studio, because you usually have to sign up (and pay!) beforehand. This keeps you accountable. 

When you take classes at home alone, it’s easier to bypass those commitments to yourself. 

Do your best to make a schedule and stick to it regardless of where you practice. Block your calendar for at home classes the same way you would for in-person classes. 

Learn how to habit stack in order to create long lasting change. 

How To Start A Yoga Practice

Create Space In Your Home

Having a little yoga nook in your home can really make a huge difference in cultivating consistency with your yoga practice. This is helpful even if you’re primarily practicing in a yoga studio. 

Why?

Because you’ll inevitably want to also play around a bit at home….trust me on this one. 

Let It Be Playful

Speaking of play, I’m here to remind you that yoga can be playful. Yes, I know it can seem super serious with all the spiritual chakra talk and calming essential oils diffusing alongside meditation music. 

But the truth is that experiencing life through a child-like perspective can be just as spiritual as an hour of super serious chanting and breathwork. 

Bring a thread of joy into your yoga practice to remind yourself that you don’t have to take things too seriously. You just have to show up. 

Release Perfectionism

One of the best side effects of playfulness is the ability to release perfectionism with a bit more ease.

It can be hard to not want to compete with the other students around you, or even with yourself for that matter! And there’s a pretty fine line between that competitive mindset and striving for perfectionism. 

Either way, you’ll want to work on being present with where you’re at right now. Not what your body could do yesterday, or even what it could do on the first side…but right now

Do your best to recognize that imperfection is part of the human experience. And also, that chick next to you who is seemingly perfect in your eyes, has her own stuff she’s working through even if it’s not visible to the eye.

Allow Yourself To Be A Beginner

I know that it’s not fun when you’re not good at something. It’s just not. I’d say that’s pretty standard for most people across the board. 

However, when you’re in that open playful state of mind, then you can allow yourself to be a beginner a little more easily. Rather than rushing the process, try to enjoy the journey. 

Similarly to what we just talked about, try to be in the now. Give yourself permission to be present, rather than placing pressure on yourself to speed things up in order to feel like you’ve succeeded. 

How To Start A Yoga Practice

Always Stay For Savasana

For many students, it can be tempting to leave once Savasana starts. I’ve actually heard many people say that “it’s a waste of time.”

The truth is, most people leave at that point because the stillness can actually be the most challenging part of the practice. Not folding in half, or putting their leg over the head, but just being….still

If you find yourself wanting to leave for Savasana, I’d like to personally challenge you to stay. Even if you stay with your eyes open, or fidget throughout it. Just stay. See what happens.

Share a little bit about your own process for starting your yoga practice in the comments below!

xx,
K

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