child pose

Starting Yoga Practice – Beginners Guide

So you are interested in starting yoga practice, great! You have come to a right place. In my post I will cover topics such as:

How do you go about starting yoga practice?
How to choose the perfect yoga style?
What do you need to get started?

Yoga practice is not only an exercise, but has a rich back ground and deeper meaning. Regular practice has wonderful benefits for the body, mind and soul. Read more in my own article:

The Benefits Of Surya Namaskar – Healing With Yoga

How to Experience Yoga For The First Time?

This is a very personal choice. There is no right or wrong way of starting your yoga practice! Some people like to do yoga in the privacy of their home and others like to attend regular classes! A third one might want to participate in a yoga retreat to get going.

Getting it right
Getting it right the first time

You should examine the pros and cons of each method before making your decision. All the methods bear similar costs, membership versus retreat versus setting up your yoga room at home, spread over different amount of time.

How to learn yoga at home?

This is typical choice for people who short of time, having irregular schedules due to for instance shift work or travel a lot. It will be difficult for these people to fit regular yoga classes to their chaotic schedules.

People who live in remote areas also rarely have access to a great yoga studio on the their front door. Yoga is also not equally popular in all parts of the world.

Besides this, there are also people who are struggling with extra weigh or just don’t feel comfortable with their own bodies or feel intimidated about the clumsiness of their initial attempts for yoga poses.

So how does one get started with learning yoga at home? It’s important to have the necessary instructions, equipment and space for the yoga practice.

Setting Up Your Own Yoga Retreat

You can do yoga anywhere, bedroom, living room, garage, garden set or outside on the deck or the lawn. I recommend you will always do yoga at the same place as it helps to establish a habit.

Out Of My Mind
Make sure nobody will disturb you

You also need to set aside a quiet place, where are will be able to concentrate.

  1. You should take time for yourself
  2. Make sure you are not distracted by pets or children.
  3. Switch off the sound on all your devices. Calm environment is the key here.

Besides from minimizing the distractions you can do other things to increase your concentration levels in your chosen environment.

  1. Aromatherapy InfuserLighting is important, if you do your workout outside, great, but for inside practice I suggest softer and more natural light.
  2. Aromatherapy, with scented candles, insences, or my personal favourite Ayurveda aroma oils are good aid for creating a pleasant scent which will help you to focus.
  3. Plants are often overlooked, but having living things in your yoga room is going to improve the quality of air and ease your breathing.

Choosing Your Yoga Equipment

My handmade woolen meditation and Yoga blanket.
My handmade woolen meditation and Yoga blanket.

Since you will be practicing yoga home, you’ll be needing some yoga equipment. The bare essentials are:

  1. Non slip  surface aka Yoga mat. The come in all colors and materials. Take your pick, but it’s best to choose and antibacterial surface to help to keep your mat clean.
  2. Meditation pillow. This is really a must as a beginner is unlike to be able to sit a lotus positions for long time.
  3. Yoga belt. This is an other important piece of yoga equipment if you are stiff and not so flexible.
  4. Meditation timer. I suggest to get a timer, not only for meditation, but for beginners it is often beneficial to increase their flexibility or relaxation by  staying in certain position for extended time.
  5. Meditation and relaxation blanket will come in handy as in the state of deep relaxation, our body temperature tends to lower down. Right blanket can also be taken to the beach or the mountain if you decide to take your yoga practice outside.

So that’s it really, you can use as much or as little money on the above articles, according your budget and personal preference.

Forget about the expensive yoga clothing that every sport brand has to offer, what you need is comfortable and none restrictive clothing.

If you are woman, depending on your cup size, you might need to wear a well fitting sports bra.

You might also consider a bag to transport and store your yoga mat, it will probably pay off later on, when you want to take your mat with you on holidays or yoga studio if you decide to join one.

Choosing Your Yoga Program

Since you are going to do yoga home, you will need good guidance in getting started. Yes, there are plenty of videos out there on Youtube, but honestly most of them are rubbish.

oomNowadays anyone can upload a video online and claim to be a yoga guru, so you really aught to be careful. For an expert this is easy, I would never trust an instructor who’s own alignment is wrong? But for a beginner this can be a daunting task.

Since you are a beginner, you need to ensure that you learn the correct poses and techniques, to keep you both safe and allowing you to receive the maximum benefits from your yoga practice.

This is why I actually recommend you get started with a good program with qualified and certified instructors, which you can either download or view online.

I have reviewed many programs in my yoga career, but only one, has gained my full approval. You can read my review of their whole program here:

How To Do Yoga and Meditation Anywhere – Yoga Download Review.

The great thing about this program is that once you gain little bit more experience, you can continue with the same program and advance your practice. It will also help you to select the perfect yoga style for you.

How To Learn Yoga at a Retreat

Yoga RetreatsThis is far the most popular way of getting started with yoga. A really good choice indeed!

You will have a holiday at some beautiful destination and you get to meet other people who have the same goal! You get someone to teach you the correct alignment and you’ll be on your way to perfect yoga practice!

Sound perfect, right? But before you pack your suitcase, please read the cons of this approach.

You need to have considerable amount of cash available right away, since most of these retreat costs thousands of euros. You particularly have to be careful in reading the small text to ensure you know what is included. Questions to ask are:

Are flights included? Most of the time the answer is no! This means you have to reserve and pay your own ticket and ground transportation to the destination.

What type of room does the price include? A lot of the time people notice last minute they have to share a room with someone else, or pay a large sum to upgrade to a private room.

Are meals included? Most of the time they are, but not always!

What kind of food does the retreat offer? If you are someone with a paleo diet, you might not want to go to a retreat that only offers Ayurvedic vegan meals.

Are he excursion included? Most of these retreats promise wonderful excursion, but take an extra payment for them.

How many hour of yoga are included per day and are any private sessions included? This is important as you might not get any private time with the teacher except if you are willing to pay for his or her private tuition fee.

Are you religious? Often the yoga retreats spend some time exploring the Hindu traditions of the yoga practice in terms of chanting and rituals. You can read more about the traditional side of yoga in my article about yoga sutras.

Saraswati
Are you prepared for the religious side of Yoga

Will the instructor be available for any questions after the retreat? It is not often that the yoga teachers will be willing to continue a customer relationship with  after the retreat is over, so you might end up with lots of guidance and no answers to your questions.

I would suggest you do your research properly! Please take a look at the large selection of Yoga retreats available at BookYogaRetreat website.

They are a great booking site that have gathered an amazing collection of all sorts of yoga retreats, different style, places and price classes.

How To Learn Yoga at Yoga Studio

You need to make sure you know that not every yoga studio is the same even if it has a good reputation and is led by qualified instructors.

Memberships to quality studios are often very expensive, you save large amounts if you buy a yearly subscription. How ever please consider the following before you purchase one:

Consider your goals! How old are you? How flexible and fit are you? Are you pregnant? Do you want to loose weight? These are all important question deciding what type of yoga will suite you.

Yoga StylesSelect one that teaches one type of yoga! There are plenty of studios out there teaching everything possible from Pilates to Ashtanga Yoga. In my opinion, the once that concentrate on one style have a better quality.

Make sure their ideology fits yours! Many Yoga centers are spiritual, which is great, that is if you are to and are looking for spiritual inspiration. If not, seek out one that only considers yoga a type of sport.

Don’t make your decision lightly! There are plenty of studios out there, most of them offer some sort of test attendance, use it to evaluate the place and the teachers.

How To Learn Yoga at Private Yoga Sessions

From my personal advice the best way to get going is by first having few private hours with a qualified yoga teacher. This way you are sure you will not get hurt and you will start your yoga practice off the correct way.

E-RYT 200 RYT 500

It also allows you to examine if yoga really is something you want to start practicing. There are few who cannot get into the flow so to speak and feel afterwards the money they spend to setup their practice was wasted.

This might sound like an expensive approach, but often only few hours are needed to get a good foundation and a yoga routine started, after which you can continue the practice at the comfort of your home.

My Loving Advice

Which ever way you choose, I hope you will take my advice into account. My mission is to help you improve and at the same time keep you safe and happy.

Love and Light,

ArtByHeart Logo

yoga download

20 thoughts on “Starting Yoga Practice – Beginners Guide”

  1. This post was so helpful, I decided recently that I want to take up yoga, but had no idea where to start! Thank you x

    1. Hi Zoe, thank you for the comment 🙂 I’m happy you found value in my post and please let me know if I can help you getting started.

  2. Love your website, so many fantastic articles about starting yoga practise!

    Thank you for 2 wonderful private beginner yoga lessons you gave me in December. I’m just back from my 2 week Indian yoge retreat and absolute loved it. I will contact you to book for more lessons.

    Anna

    1. Hi Anna,
      I am happy you found my website 🙂 You are very welcome, I am looking forward of hearing about your retreat and more lessons together!

  3. I have been wanting to take up yoga for a while now, but I haven’t had the time or the money to take classes. I know there are videos out there and I’m sure there are videos on YouTube but I feel like, yoga is something that really needs to be taught by an actual person, that way they can guide you and help you and make sure you are doing the positions correctly. Because you make an excellent point anyone can claim to be a yoga guru and you don’t want to wind up getting hurt instead of healing and getting healthy. I do find it interesting that the online program you mentioned lets you learn how to be an instructor online for a fraction of the cost. You also mentioned going on a retreat. That sounds interesting. I also appreciate your advice that if you are searching for the right yoga studio you should find one that suits you, one that teaches what you want to learn, not one that is just out there to teach everything under the sun. I also like the way you have your site set up it is so bright and cheerful.

    1. Learning yoga is difficult over the internet, you need to make sure you know what you are doing. This is why I always suggest to get at least few hours hours of guidance, preferably private. But I understand your concern, it can be costly. I often offer the first 90min hour for free, so people know what they get into and get help with the correct positions and allignment.

      Yes, they offer a teacher training online. It sounds strange but is actually effective. One of the techniques involved of you also doing yoga training sessions and filming them for feedback. This is very effective in the learning process that also allows you to see your own mistakes and learn from them.

      Yoga retreats are a great place of starting yoga practice, you get into a routine, which is easy to continue at home. Besides these retreats are great places giving you a rest from the hustle and bustle of the busy live we live in the modern day society!

      I am personally bothered by the fact that a lot of yoga studios out there just teach yoga as a form of exercise instead of philosophy of the body and mind.

      Thank you for the compliment regarding my site. It’ a reflection of me and as an artist I hate dullness and need colours in my life 🙂

  4. So after reading this post I feel that I should give Yoga another chance. I have tried it in the past and did not like it that much. Bottom line, I felt like I was not flexible enough and did not have what it would take me to get to the level that I had in mind. So, now, I am going to rethink what type of Yoga I want to concentrate on and go from there. I like to run during summer but when winter hits, I give. Will do Yoga and meditation in winter.

    1. Hi Odoh, than you for leaving a comment. I think all the people who like yoga have not discovered a yoga style, which fits them or maybe a bad instructor. Yoga is definately not only about flexibility, strength or any other purely physical aspects. It’s all about connecting the mind with the body, the secret is the correct breathing!
      I suggest that you explore different yoga styles, Hatha, the original form is like a slow dance, the Asanas are performed with great care and attention. Vinyasa flows are more dynamic form of yoga, Astanga is the most physically demanding, acrobatic form of yoga, which should not be attempted without great flexibility and strength.
      If you are a runner, yoga is a wonderful addition to your training, as it brings coordination and strength!

  5. I love this article, it inspired me! Getting started with Yoga has been on my to-do list for ever. It intriques me that you find something good in each method and promote them all, so people can pick their own preference, you also only promote healthy living products, this is rare 🙂

    1. Hi Arianne! Thank you very much your lovely message. I am always fair if the method is good, there are so many different kind of people out there, one shoe will never fit all!
      It is important for any website owner to ONLY promote products they truly believe in and have personal experience with!

  6. Hello, I have been browsing around and really just love your site. This article is an other really great one, yoga really is a way to go and sounds like Yoga Download is a great program for people who want to practise yoga at home or on the go!

    1. Hi Jeanne 🙂 Happy to hear that you have been reading more articles on my site! Yes indeed, Yoga Download is wonderful to use anywhere, you should give it a go, they have currently an ongoing 50% offer.

  7. I really like the idea of setting up your own Yoga retreat even if that is in the spare bedroom. Having that place to practice every day and get into a good habit is important. I have always wondered how much space you need in total as even in Yoga classes I find people are too close together.

    Do you have any Yoga retreats that you can recommend?

    1. Hi Keldyn,

      Thanks for dropping by and leaving a comment!

      Yes, indeed. It’s all about creating an environment where you can calm down and practice effectively, which is essential for establishing a good lasting habit. One my irritations with most, not all, yoga studios is that the classes are booked too full in order to maximise the payout for each lesson.

      What comes to retreats it’s difficult to say as it depends on your skill level, budget, person preferences for style, date and location. How ever I can recommend you a great search engine for Yoga Retreats where you take a look what’s for offer! In Yoga Retreats you can search per yoga style, skill level, travel date and location, all the retreats in their pages are led by qualified instructors.

  8. Hello Hanna, I hope you don’t mind if I call you that? Thank you so much for this article. I have wanted to start yoga for long time and wondered which is the best way to go. You highlighted the fact that I will need someone guide me along! I have sought a local yoga instructor that comes very well recommended and asked for 2 private sessions with her. I will be looking into Yoga Download as well.

    1. Hi Helena, sorry for the late answer, it’s been busy few days with my new website 🙂 I am so happy you found a good instructor, private lessons are a brilliant way to get started. Please come back and tell me about your experiences!

  9. Hi,
    I must say in this hectic world we are living, it is good to really learn some Yoga to calm our minds down a little. I have not really tried Yoga yet but I am practicing Mediation instead. Looks like I could try the Yoga Retreat during my winter holidays!
    I have seen some pros of doing Yoga but have not really seen the cons. Could you advise on the cons?
    How many times do you practice Yoda weekly?
    Jacob

    1. Hi Jacob, I practice Yoga daily myself, some times more than once a day, yoga has become part of my life. Most of the times I start my day with Surya Namaskara or Sun Salutation, sometimes I simply drop everything I am doing and perform yoga to calm my mind. I also tend to meditate every day, sometimes only 5 minutes, other day 20mins, few times a week 1h or more.

      I cannot see any cons for starting a yoga practice to be honest as long as you do it correctly and follow a plan suitable for your level led by a qualified instructor!

  10. I’ve always thought about doing yoga but I’m really not that flexible (to put it mildly) and when I see people in poses I wouldn’t have a hope doing, it’s daunting. So, I would be more of an at-home type of yoga beginner. I followed your links to Yoga Download, but there was such a selection of videos there I wouldn’t know where to start. Would you have any suggestions for a beginners yoga program such as “Yoga for the Inflexible”?
    Thanks ArtbyHeart.

    Larry

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