‘How to start doing yoga’ is a query that begins in the mind of nearly everyone who hears about this incredible, life long practice. Every great yoga teacher will tell you the best way to get into yoga is to just start doing it! With whatever means you have – just
begin. There are more resources for doing yoga than there are yoga poses! Below are 6 ways to start doing your yoga (which is called a practice) ranging from least expensive to most expensive:
1. YouTube. Go to youtube.com and type in ‘beginner yoga’ and you have over 2 million resources at your fingertips on how to start doing yoga! The kind of yoga we do at Yoga Flow SF is called vinyasa yoga, flow yoga or power yoga. This style of yoga is geared for someone who wants an active, dynamic, workout as part of their yoga practice. There are many different styles of yoga. Iyengar, hatha and restorative yoga are on the more therapeutic, slower moving side of the spectrum and the vinyasa, power flow yoga is on the active, workout side of the spectrum. If you like to dance, love to get a workout, are more ‘type A’, you may benefit from the faster pace of vinyasa yoga. Every style should offer the similar core experience: to learn how to align your body, mind and spirit and become very present in the moment. To learn how to listen to yourself and find your balance between effort and grace. To leave the practice with a sense of peace and calm. YouTube is a great resource for yoga for beginners because you can watch a variety of different styles that offer different paces which result in different intensity levels. Here is a youtube video designed by Yoga Flow SF owner, Kathleen Holm to teach you the basics of vinyasa yoga: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NYhBFAr8mzo
2. Yoga Books. From YouTube you can learn a lot about the ‘moves’ people do in yoga class. Pro Tip: The ‘moves’ are called ‘asanas’ and the ‘people’ are called ‘yogis’. What we call yoga, and what we mainly do in yoga class is actually one part of an eight-fold path that encompasses the entirety of yoga. Youtube can teach you the asanas and I recommend some amazing books below to teach you the rest of the path of yoga. I’ve been involved in so many sports, workout regimes, fitness fads and nothing compares to my yoga practice in terms of whole body wellness. With a steady yoga practice (Note consistency is key, not advancement) I sleep better, I feel better, I’m nicer, stronger, more flexible, more patient. I become a better person due to DOING the yoga. Some great books for understanding what this whole yoga thing is all about are:
a. Bhatki Flow by Rusty Wells
b. Jivamukti Yoga by Sharn Gannon and David Life
c. Living Your Yoga by Judith Hanson Lasater
d. Yoga: The Iyengar Way: The New Definitive Illustrated Guide by Silva Mehta and Mira Mehta
3. Online Yoga Classes: For around $20/month you can access world class teachers via your tech device. For a true yoga for beginner yoga experience, I suggest Rusty Wells yogamylove.com. He’s one of my most favorite vinyasa teachers and his warm, fun approach is soul-nurturing. For a library of different styles and teachers I suggest Gaiam TV: https://www.gaia.com/yoga/practices. This is an incredible resource of world class teachers that focus on all styles of yoga and will teach beginners to yoga on how to start doing yoga as well as advanced students on how to do many different kinds of poses. Class lengths range from 10 minutes to 90 minutes so you can customize what works best for you.
4. Gym Yoga: Most gyms offer yoga classes. Gym memberships range from $10 a month – $200 a month. Do a yelp or google search for ‘gym in my area’ to see what your options are. For the dedicated yogis, gyms are typically not the preferred choice. Mainly because gym yoga tends to strip away a lot of the aspects of the whole body experience that one may get from a boutique yoga studio. Also, sometimes gym yoga is done next to a spinning studio or basketball court so the ambiance may not be so great. Gym yoga is a great way to start though IF you are not working with serious injuries.Teachers who teach at gyms are more often than not newer to yoga and may not be able to offer you modifications if you have injuries you are dealing with. Seek out a beginner class, show up early and say ‘hi’ to the teacher. The teacher really appreciates getting to know the community and making that connection tells them that you are worthy of their attention.
5. A Yoga Studio: A yoga studio in my opinion is the best place to learn yoga. Your local yoga studio should offer a couple ‘yoga basics’ or ‘beginner yoga’ or ‘level 1-2’ classes a week. These classes are designed to teach you the basics and provide you a strong foundation for how to move safely through the asanas. Yoga studios offer drop in classes (most expensive option) that range from $15 – $25/class, class packages that are classes bought in bulk which provides you a per class discount. For example at Yoga Flow SF, we offer 8 classes for $108 with a one month expiration date making each class just $12. If you are planning on going more than 3 times a week, a monthly membership will be the most cost effective and will run between $99 – $189/month, depending on the studio. Yoga studios for the most part focus mainly on the asanas, however they will incorporate some philosophy, chanting (singing) and meditation allowing you to experience more of the fullness of what yoga is.
6. Private yoga instruction: Private yoga instruction is done in your home or at a yoga studio and it’s a class designed just for you! The cost of private sessions range from $75 – $200 per class and some teachers will allow you to invite a friend or two to join you. Private yoga instruction is how yoga initially began – one teacher to one student. This is the best way to learn proper form, learn how to work with your injuries and how to work towards strengthening or creating more flexibility in your body. To book a session, call the yoga studio and ask if they offer private yoga sessions. It’s best to commit to 3 – 5 of these if you are new to the practice and from there, you will have a solid, healthy foundation to go into the studios. Ironically, a lot of times the reason people say they don’t want to start a yoga practice is because they don’t know how to do it. I think for some, the ego gets in the way and they think they’ll be embarrassed if other people can do things they can’t do. Pro tip: no one is judging you or cares about your practice because they are busy dealing with their own issues! It’s an amazing journey – to learn how to control your breath which helps to control your mind, all the while getting a strong, flexible body and a more patient, loving heart. I promise you, all of this is available to you if you apply patience and dedication to your practice. No matter who you are or what you are currently dealing with physically, mentally or emotionally by doing yoga 3 – 5 times a week you will see and feel a positive difference within a few months of consistent practice.
With patience and practice the magic happens! See you on your mat! If you are in the Bay Area, please look us up! All the information about our studio is found online at www.yogaflowsf.com.