Practicing yoga is a great way to release stress, boost energy and calm your mind. It’s also a great form of exercise for beginners.
Start by asking your instructor about the class level, and be sure to let him or her know if you have any injuries or chronic conditions. Then, try to find a class that doesn’t feel too intense, says Christel Autuori, a yoga instructor and director of the Institute for Holistic Health Studies at Western Connecticut State University in Danbury, Connecticut.
Your first yoga class may be more physically challenging than you’re used to, so it’s best not to practice on a full stomach, or you could end up feeling light-headed, says Stacey Bar, certified yoga teacher and owner of Athleta in Westport, Connecticut. Having a small snack before class can help keep you steady, she suggests.
You’ll want to choose a studio that provides slip-resistant mats and sturdy blocks for support, says Grieve. Make sure the teacher encourages you to listen to your body and adjust poses when necessary, she says.
Check the temperature and humidity in the room, and be aware of any odors that could indicate an allergen. You’ll also want to be aware of the size and style of your mat (some are large, while others are smaller), explains Erin Sampson, the founder of Five Parks Yoga in New York City.
There are a variety of yoga styles, all with different levels of difficulty and variations in how they incorporate breathwork into the exercises. Some are very physical and leave you sweaty, while others focus on calming your nervous system with guided meditations and breathing.