September is National Yoga Month. I know that. But the weird thing is I am having a hard time finding a lot of current information on this.
In honor of of this month I thought I would FINALLY respond to a request from my friend Rosie.
Months ago she asked me for advice for someone who wanted to start practicing yoga.
When I started regularly practicing yoga a little more than five years ago I first started practicing at the gym. For me I was lucky, those classes were good beginner classes. And the instructors were well-experienced teachers as well.
When I started at Namaste I felt lucky then as well, too. All the teachers are pretty amazing and experienced and versatile. I have practiced with many yoga instructors, personalities, styles, types of yoga, class sizes, etc.
So here is my advice to Rosie and anyone else who wants it:
I suggest finding a yoga studio in your area and doing a little research on the instructors who teach at the studio. (You could do the same research on the yoga instructors at your gym.) The yoga studio website should have bios on the teachers and subs. And many yoga teachers have a Facebook page and/or their own website.
As a beginner I suggest you start slow with gym yoga or a Yin yoga class or Gentle yoga class. (I highly UNrecommend (NOT, no, don’t do it) starting with a Bikram class. I personally have never taken a Bikram class. But I do regularly take heated Vinyasa flow classes, which are pretty intense and probably not the best choice for a beginner.)
The description of Gentle yoga is very similar to Restorative yoga. Though I feel like Gentle you are a little more attentive and active.
Restorative is about deep relaxation, including quieting the mind, which can be more difficult than it sounds. That being said, Restorative yoga is so amazing and I absolutely love it.
I found a video with a Yin yoga practice. I really like this video. She does a great job of explaining the poses and modifications and has good tips as well. In Yin you hold a pose for 3-5 minutes. The video is only 10 minutes–so you either want to take notes or just pause the video while you hold your poses.
I also found a video of a Gentle yoga practice. The woman in the video looked so relaxed and like she was really enjoying her practice. In the video the model uses a round pillow in her practice. If you don’t have one, I think a folded up blanket will also work. Probably the only thing I don’t agree with in the video is how she gets up from savasana (Corpse pose). I think when getting out of savasana you should gently roll over to one side and put yourself in fetal position. And push yourself up with your arms from there.
I think it is probably best for you to learn poses and postures in a class. If you want to start a home practice do so after you have some experience and yoga knowledge. It is best to know the correct posture so you don’t hurt yourself. Especially for the more challenging poses.
If you just can’t get to a gym or studio for whatever reason make sure you do research on the best home practice videos. I really like the two videos I posted, especially the Yin practice and may practice it myself sometimes. I can always use a good hip opener and work on my lower back.
Gentle and Yin are great for yogis of all levels. I like to vary my yoga practice with classes that are slower paced with more stretching. And more aggressive classes that are sweaty and fast-paced.