Starting Yoga

It is such a wonderful thing to see new students coming into the yoga studio. It is a wonderful thing because people are making the choice to spend time for themselves. Whether their reason is to increase their flexibility and strength, make new friends, or even just taking that hour and a bit to relax, I am always so excited to see newcomers.

Sometimes new students come in and ask, ‘what do I need to bring?’. It reminds me of the first day of school when you need to shop for school supplies, but I guess that new students are on a learning path with yoga. This is what we suggest for new students at our studios:

• The great thing about yoga is that all you only need a mat. Yoga mats can be purchased anywhere nowadays. Also, bring water and a towel if you are doing hot yoga. Some people even like to use a bath towel or hot yoga towel over their mat. It helps absorb any sweat and also reduces slipping on your yoga mat.

• Wear something comfortable that does not restrict your movement. Shorts, T-shirt, or any athletic clothing is OK. If you are taking a heated class, be mindful of what you wear, as you want to ensure your clothing allows you to breathe and does not add extra heat to your body (no long sleeves).

• Try the introductory package. Most studios have an introductory package that allows you to do unlimited yoga for a certain period of time. It’s a great opportunity to see if you resonate with the studio’s culture, if there are teachers that you like, and if the times of the yoga classes work with your schedule.

• Plan out your classes. You can reserve your classes online and plan your week which may make it more likely for you to commit to coming to class. Aim to be on your mat 5-10 minutes before the class starts. This way, you are not stressed and rushing to class. You can have the time and freedom to relax on your mat before the instructor begins.

• Listen to your body. Yoga is unique to each individual. Everyone has a different body type and different health issues, so your practice will not be the same as the person beside you. Honor your body and do what is comfortable for you. Know that yoga is a process. Enjoy the journey that may lead you to more advanced poses or a deepening in your practice.

• Try out different classes and different teachers. Each individual receives information differently. You may resonate with a teacher that gives more verbal cues for the poses, or maybe you need a teacher that gives more hands-on adjustments. Explore which
type of yoga is most needed for your body.

• Be gentle with yourself! Don’t over-exert yourself and do more classes than your body can handle, but at the same time, stick with it and be consistent with your practice. Don’t expect to get into advanced poses within weeks. Enjoy your journey with yoga, for you will be able to look back and see how far you have come.

• Have fun!

Contributing author: Kathy Ong. Kathy is the Lead Yoga Advisor of the studio at Richmond Hill. She will soon be joining the Midtown team as the Assistant Manager.


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