If you are a Yoga newbie who wants to experience all the amazing Yoga benefits, both physically and mentally, but you’re feeling a little intimidated, we want to remind you that this is completely normal and ok.
We remember how nerve-wracking it was to walk into Yoga Studios and see the experienced yogis upside down and pretzelling into crazy shapes. Stepping into a class and hearing all of the breathing techniques. Getting told to do the tricky yoga poses but not feeling ready. Cues and instructions like sun salutation, cat cow or Adho mukha svanasana.
We remember feeling completely hopeless and way out of our comfort zones.
And yes, the best way to learn is to just jump right in BUT we’ve definitely got some tips that will help build a little inner confidence to allow you to enjoy the process a lot more.
It is important to remember that everyone starts as a beginner and there is nothing to be scared of! You do not need to know any yoga poses before you attend (or press play on) your yoga classes, whether it is Hot Yoga, Yin Yoga, Hatha Yoga, Ashtanga Yoga, Aerial Yoga, or any other kind.
However, we get it, many beginners feel more comfortable by getting familiar with the basics of Yoga Asana (this is the movement aspect of yoga).
Keep reading and we’ll let you know all things necessary to begin your yoga practice with confidence plus we’ll also take you through some very common and some of the easiest yoga poses.
Tips for Yoga Beginners
Find a quality, yet welcoming teacher
An experienced and qualified yoga instructor will help make your entrance into the world of yoga amazing. This goes for both the online and in person scenarios. The things we look for in a quality teacher (yes we teach but of course, we still go to classes) are great cues that are easy to understand, explanations of modifications and options for all levels no matter who is in the class, and of course a welcoming and compassionate nature.
If you’re in a studio and find your mind and eyes wandering over to Lucy’s perfect forward fold or Sam’s beautiful upward facing dog, come back to your breath. Remember, everyone is on their own journey and that they too were once beginners. And really the look of the yoga pose is the least important factor. This is another reason why we love a home yoga practice, comparison is almost impossible.
Wear clothes for comfort and also confidence
This is mainly for the studio environment because let’s be real here, half the time we wear our PJs when we practise at home (and yay for that!). We recommend you wear high waisted, comfy leggings with a form fitting top. We prefer longer tops or ‘long line’ crop tops. We wear this so nothing rides up or down. The tightness is better so you don’t end up in a down dog with a shirt around your face. The fewer clothing distractions the better! Also, in the cooler months be sure to bring warm layers and in summer breathable fabrics are ideal.
Learn a few yoga poses before you show up
Get your mind around a few of the more common yoga poses. We have them listed below! The joys of an Online Studio, like ours, is that we have a whole dedicated beginner program called The Foundation Program. This is the perfect place to start for all yoga (and Pilates) beginners. Not only do we take you through the moves slower, we take you through modifications and we actually make a short class out of each of the movements. This means, you not only learn the move but also get a mini workout in. This program is available for all MerryBody Members.
Find a good yoga mat
Most studios will have mats you can hire or borrow, however, it is nice to have your own mat. If you’re not ready to invest, simply call your studio to check if they have some available to borrow. If you’re practising at home you can go mat free and just have a blanket handy for comfort. If you’re looking to buy a mat, we’ll always recommend the Lululemon Reversible Mat as they are comfortable, grippy and durable. We know for a while there it’s been all about the pretty patterns and suede finishes, but they‘re too slippery and terrible for Yoga in our eyes.
Take the modifications
Do not be afraid to take the modifications, they are the perfect place to start. They help you build strong foundations and create a safe practice. If you’re struggling, ask your teacher for help with particular moves. When we teach in our online classes, there are always 2 of us, meaning we can always show options for every movement. Plus each and every week we take our members through movement tutorials inside our private community group.
Eating and drinking
Some yoga teachers will ask you not to take drink breaks, we 100% disagree. If you need a drink, take a drink. We wouldn’t recommend gulping water but take a small sip, otherwise, you might begin to feel the water sloshing around while flowing and twisting. We personally try not to eat too close to practising yoga or any other form of exercise. It might come back up! (Sorry too much information). But if you’re starving, have something energising and light, like a piece of fruit or bliss ball perhaps. After the class, be sure to get hydrated and eat something yummy.
Don’t forget… have fun! Enjoy being a beginner, enjoy the challenge, enjoy the newness. Take a step out of your comfort zone and you never know, you might just fall in love with yoga!
Yoga Poses For Beginners
Mountain Pose (Tadasana)
Mountain Pose is often called the mother of all yoga poses, it’s a stance that lays the foundation for many other Yoga postures that require awareness and balance. Through the Mountain Pose, you will find a proper alignment that will grow and develop into additional movements.
How to do Mountain Pose
Stand tall and straight, with your feet together and flat on the floor, your arms at your side. Ground your feet by pressing all four corners of your feet down into the mat. As you take a deep breath in, elongate your torso and extend your arms up and out. Exhale and relax your shoulder blades and release your arms back to your sides, palms facing forwards.
Childs Pose (Balasana)
Childs Pose is an easy yoga posture that relaxes your nervous system, making it a great place to take a breather during your yoga class if you ever need one. Be sure to do this position with extra care if you have knee problems.
How to do Childs Pose
Start by kneeling on your mat with your toes untucked. Stretch your upper body forward and down over your thighs with arms extended as you lower your butt towards your feet. Your forehead should be touching the mat (if not place your two palms under your forehead), and your stomach then resting on your thighs. If your stomach needs more space, simply widen the knees, it’s all about making it work for you and your amazing body whatever the shape and size. This pose should feel nice and relaxing, but you should also feel a nice, gentle stretch in the hips, booty and back.
Downward Facing Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana)
The Downward Facing Dog is one of the most recognizable yoga poses. It’s an amazing way to stretch your back, hamstrings, shoulders, and arms while providing calmness and stress relief. It’s also a pose that creates strength and a little heat.
How to do Downward Facing Dog
Come down on your knees and hands. Keep your knees under your hips, toes tucked, and your fingers pointing forwards. Lift your hips towards the ceiling, lengthening your arms and legs, until your body creates an upside down V-shape. Spread your fingers and toes and move your chest towards your legs. If you feel like you cannot get your feet to the floor, your hamstrings might be too tight; that is okay. The goal is not to get the feet flat but keep the back lengthened. Add a micro bend to the knees and see how this feels.
Plank Pose (Phalakasana)
Plank Pose is a common transition pose in Yoga. It’s also used a lot in our Pilates classes too! It’s an amazing core workout and also strengthens the arms, booty and thighs. Really, Plank Pose is a total body workout!
How to do Plank Pose
Begin on your hands and knees, straighten your legs back behind you, toes on the floor and press the heels back. Keep a micro bend in the elbows, rib to hip connection and make sure the neck is long and not dropping down. Hold strong and breathe. If this is a little too difficult, the perfect option is to lower the knees down to the earth.
Warrior I (Virabhadrasana I)
Warrior I, just like the name suggests, is the first posture in the Warrior series, it strengthens the legs and glutes while also opening your hips and chest. It’s not exactly an easy pose but it sure is a very common pose and a great one to feel confident with.
How to do Warrior I
Begin in Mountain Pose. Take a deep breath in, and as you exhale, step your left foot back, creating a lunge position then flatten the left foot to the earth at 45 degrees, toes out, heel in. Sink down into the right knee, aim for 90 degrees, and squeeze your booty and thigh muscles to help you stay stable. Next, raise your arms straight overhead, biceps by the ears. Be mindful to not puff up the chest, keep a rib to hip connection. Try to square your hips and shoulders toward the front knee.
There really are so many amazing poses perfect for beginners. Plus, a lot of the more challenging poses usually have modifications to suit all levels. Start your yoga practice where you are at and soon you’ll find yourself in down dog, to tree pose, to childs pose, bridge pose and more!
We’ll leave you with our last piece of advice for beginning your yoga exercise practice.
The first step will always be the hardest. Now, is the time to either book in your first class or hit play on your online class. If you’re not sure what class to start with, we’ll help you out.
This beginner MerryBody yoga class is perfect. Hit play and let us know how you go!
If you loved the class, sign up for another over here. It’s 25 minutes long and it’s designed to stretch out the shoulders, back and neck. Designed for anyone who sits a lot or feels tension in the upper back and shoulders. Enjoy yoga at home!
If you have any other questions feel free to get in touch. We are here to help!
Emma + Carla