"Don't just jump into any random class."
Sacramento, CA (PRWEB) January 05, 2014
If a person is brand new to yoga and tries her first class this month, odds are she’s not going back. At least that’s according to Mindbody Online, a company that provides software for the yoga, health and fitness industries. It says, “Half of all first-timers don’t return.”
As disheartening as this may seem, Kate Saal, a popular yoga teacher in Sacramento and owner of One Flow Yoga, says there are several things people can do to start a yoga practice successfully.
In the U.S., 20.4 million people practice yoga, according to the “Yoga in America” study, published bi-annually by Yoga Journal, a magazine devoted to yoga. They enjoy the benefits of greater strength, flexibility and balance and a calmer, more peaceful mind. And each of those people went through the difficulty of a new practice.
Here are Kate’s tips to start and stick with a new yoga practice.
“Don’t just jump into any random class." Many people set themselves up for failure by taking a “sink or swim approach” which is fine, “if you don’t mind sinking.” Many classes vary in difficulty and diving in to the wrong one as a beginner can leave new students confused, or worse, injured. Instead look for “Beginner Friendly” classes that have titles like Basics, Level 1, 101 or Newbie Yoga. These classes tend to focus more on the fundamentals of the practice and go at a slower pace.
Always trust your intuition. While it’s popular to check out reviews for local yoga studios, sometimes they can be a bit skewed. Each person who writes a review has her own experience and expectation of yoga, as well as a bias towards her favorite studio. Instead, try a few studios to get a feel for what they offer. Many studios offer “introductory offers” that are perfect for this. Things to notice: Is the teacher friendly? Does the community feel welcoming? Is the studio clean? Are instructions given in a simple and easy to understand format? Be sure to try a few teachers and know each studio will be a little different. “Finding a studio is more about finding one that’s perfect for you.”
Be prepared. Yoga studios ask students to bring their own mats. However, they often offer mats for loan or as a rental. Drink plenty of water before and after and take a bottle to the class to keep hydrated. What to wear to a yoga class is determined by how hot the room is kept and if the style is vigorous—meaning people sweat more. In Bikram yoga, students wear as little as possible—sports bras and shorts for women—shorts for men. In most classes comfortable exercise clothing that you can move and bend in is appropriate. And don’t forget to take a small hand towel.
Start slowly. It’s important to be consistent. Learning yoga is like learning any other skill. It takes time and practice to know what you’re doing. “Jason Crandell, a well-known yoga teacher based in San Francisco, recommends new students aim for 2-3 times a week initially.”
Learn the practice. At One Flow Yoga, a Beginner’s Series is offered several times a year. “It’s a favorite with our community. It allows people who are brand new to learn the basic postures, philosophy and purpose of the practice. This gives them the confidence to practice in a safe, healthy, and comfortable way, wherever they go.”
Here are a couple of other success strategies. Invite a friend to class. It’s more fun to try something new and have the support of a friend. Also, register ahead of time online for classes. When people schedule time for themselves, by signing up ahead of time, they are more likely to go to class.
Finally, there are a wide variety of styles, which can be confusing, but ultimately, notes Kate, “all styles have the same goal—to pay attention to what we are doing and how we are doing it.” The physical benefits of a healthier, fitter body are just a bonus. Yoga feels good.