Have you always wanted to start a yoga practice, but didn't know how to go about it? Or maybe you've been practicing for years, but still don't have the balance and poise of someone who's been practicing for decades. I can tell you from speaking with many people and my own practice that it's very easy to get frustrated in your journey to start and continue with a regular yoga practice. But it doesn't have to be that way. And while I can't guarantee you'll become flexible like Gumby — or balance your work and home life on one hand — I can hold up my end of the bargain by sharing some tips, tricks and recommendations to help you start a yoga practice and hopefully stay consistent.
We know what you're thinking: "Yoga? I want to do that, but I don't have the time."
We get it. Who has time to do yoga? You work, you have a family, you just want to eat dinner in peace without your kids asking for more french fries. But we promise you: Yoga is worth it. It's one of the best ways to feel good in your body and mind, and it can even help alleviate symptoms of stress, anxiety, depression, and insomnia—which don't exactly make you super productive at work!
So here's our advice: Don't think of yoga as something intimidating or hard to find time for; think of it as something fun and easy that will make your life better. And if you can't find time for yoga? Try Zentric flo! We've made it easier than ever for people across the country to start their yoga practice with our cork yoga mats, which are completely waterproof and durable enough for any type of exercise or activity. So go ahead—grab a drink and let’s get started on your journey toward a more peaceful mind and body today!
Starting Your Yoga Practice
Here’s a list of actionable tips on how to start a yoga practice.
Take a Class
The easiest way to start a yoga practice is by popping into a local yoga studio. Yoga instructors are there to guide and support you through your yoga journey. So don’t be afraid to pop into a class and let the instructor know this is your first class. They will be more than happy to help with adjustments and tips for modifications. There a plenty of beginners yoga classes to try.
If classes are too overwhelming for you or class times don’t work with your schedule/budget, try starting your yoga practice at home. With the internet being so readily available, you can really practice anywhere, anytime for FREE! I personally started my yoga practice with an app on my phone that I still use today. There’s also YouTube, which takes advantage of the various teachers and styles there. It’s free and flexible for you!
Ditch the Ego!
Focus on what you CAN do instead of what you can’t. Yoga is not about doing extreme poses, it’s about moving your body with intention. Don’t be discouraged if you can't do every pose in the room. That’s not what yoga is about. I know you’ve probably heard the quote “yoga starts where you are, not where you long to be”. Well, it’s true! Honor your body! Strength and flexibility will come, I promise. Yoga Asana (physical postures) are just one aspect of yoga and with time and consistency all is coming. So start your practice where you are, even if you can’t touch your toes or any of the other excuses I’ve heard as a yoga instructor, and get moving.
"Yoga begins where you are. Not where you were yesterday or where you long to be " -L.S.
Finding a Style You Like
Find the style that works for you and your yoga goals. There are tons of yoga styles you can try. A few popular styles of yoga are: Ashtanga yoga, Hatha yoga, Bikram yoga, Iyengar yoga, Kundalini yoga, Power yoga, Restorative yoga, Vinyasa yoga, Yin Yoga. And that’s just to name a few. All of these can be great for beginner's yoga. It all just depends on your goal. Iyengar is great for beginners because it focuses on alignment. If you like a consistent structure, Ashtanga might be great style for you. Kundalini is perfect for the student who wants more of a spiritual yoga experience. It includes a lot of mantras, breath-work, singing and chanting. Vinyasa, a practice that is faster paced and links breath to movement. Or even Yin Yoga for the yogi that wants a more meditative practice but still wants a challenge. I’ll go more into different styles of yoga in an upcoming blog, but these are a few popular styles you can give a try.
Find a teacher, or two!
This is an important task that can make or break your experience starting your yoga practice. We have to keep in mind that there are so many types of teaching styles. Many people talk about the inclusion for body types, age groups, disabilities and so on. Not one teacher fits all! And that’s why it’s important to find a teacher that fits what your looking for. As an yoga instructor, I can’t possibly teach to everyone, or I’m teaching to no one. I have a friend who is plus size and she prefers to learn from a plus size teacher. Can she go to a different type of teacher, of course! But that’s a space she feels more comfortable with, and that’s completely ok.
It’s always great to have variety. I recommend finding a few teachers that you enjoy going to. Maybe one teacher is very insightful and uplifts you, that can make your experience more impactful, and one teacher challenges you in a great way. It’s always good to have multiple teachers on your roster that will strengthen different areas of your practice.
"The best teachers don't give you the answer, they spark within you the desire to find the answer yourself." -unknown
OK, so we've learned some helpful ways to start your Yoga practice. Let's get into ways to stay consistent.
Track Your Progress
There are a lot of fun ways to track fitness progress, and the more creative you get, the more likely you are to stay committed. Take pictures, videos, post on Instagram and gradually see your progression.
Another good way to track your progress is to use a fitness tracker or journal so you can see all in one place what your working on and the milestones. It’s also fun to look back and see where you started. I wish I had done more tracking of my progress in the beginning. It would be cool to see the student vs the teacher I am today.
Find a Yoga Partner
One great way of staying consistent is the buddy system. Having a friend, spouse, co-worker, whoever, join you works great because you can keep up with each other. Go to classes together, motivate each other when one doesn’t feel like going or falling off. It makes going to class more fun.
Find a Simple Routine
Start with just a few minutes. Before you take that first class or jumpstart your mental commitment, start with a few stretch moves. A few minutes a day goes a long way. Yoga is a great way to relax and stay healthy. But if you're new to yoga, it can be hard to find a class that fits your schedule and your style.
If possible, choose a time of day when you won't feel rushed or stressed out by work or other obligations. Morning is often best, because then it will be easier to fit into your schedule throughout the day, as well as be more convenient for going to bed at night if that's what works best for your schedule (and most people find they sleep better after exercising). Evening can be good as well, but sometimes people find they don't have much time during the day if they are busy with work or family commitments, so evening might be easier than morning if this applies to you.
When I first started my practice, it felt good to buy the gear to kickstart my practice. I guess it gave me a motive to not waste my money. The first investment I would look into is a yoga mat. Invest in a quality Cork Yoga Mat. Zentric FLO has the best Cork Yoga mats made for beginner & advanced yogi’s alike. They are eco-friendly, 6mm thick, easy to clean and there are multiple fun designs that fit your style.
Try picking up some comfortable yoga clothes that make you feel good. It might bring extra confidence and motivation to go to your next yoga class.
Taking care of yourself is important, and yoga is one way to do that. Stay consistent with your mat even when life gets busy or stressful. It's easy to fall off the wagon when things get hectic — but keeping up with your practice will help lower stress levels and improve overall health!