This is a post I originally wrote for our blog at work, I figured even though this blog is primarily about running that this may be a good one to also share here in case anyone is interested in trying yoga, but isn’t sure where to start!
I truly believe in the benefits of yoga for athletes (you can read more about that HERE), and love sharing the practice of yoga with other runners!
I love teaching yoga and introducing it to beginners, but I also know that starting any sort of new fitness routine can be intimidating if you don’t know what to expect!
Here are a few tips for making it to and through your first yoga class:
Find the Right Class
There are many different types of yoga, so before you head out to a class do a little research and make sure you find the class that’s going to be best for you!
While most classes can be modified to be suitable for any level, if you’re totally new to yoga you’ll likely feel most comfortable in a beginner or foundations class where the pace will be a little slower and the teacher will break down each pose step by step.
(**Note: I personally think a class is the best place to start vs. a DVD or online video since you have a live teacher there giving you feedback and helping you to modify poses for your ability and body!)
What to Wear
You want to be able to use your full range of motion in yoga, so be sure to wear something that allows you to move freely, but isn’t so loose that it’s getting in your way during your practice. Yoga is traditionally done barefoot, so be prepared to leave your socks and sneakers at the door!
What to Bring
Many yoga studios and gyms have yoga props such as mats, blocks and straps that you can use, but if you’re going to be practicing regularly I’d suggest looking into getting your own mat. Mats vary in their cushioning and “stickiness” (non-slip feature), so it’s helpful to find one that works best for you.
You may also want to bring a towel (especially for hot yoga!) and a water bottle to stay hydrated during your practice.
Talk to the Teacher
When you arrive at class, be sure to let the teacher know this is your first time or that you’re new to yoga – it’s helpful to know when there are new students to make sure the class is paced correctly and the poses are appropriate.
Also be sure to let the teacher know about any injuries you may be working with so they can suggest modifications or alternatives to poses that may not be right for you to practice.
Make it your own
Instructors will often offer modifications or different versions of poses as they are teaching – make sure to find and practice the version of the pose that is appropriate for your body and your experience level – remember, it’s more important to make sure the alignment of the pose is correct rather than trying to do the deepest expression of the pose!
Incorporating yoga into your fitness routine offers many benefits as long as you listen to your body and make your practice right for you!
I’ll be following up this post with another including some specific resources for beginners, so if you have any questions about incorporating yoga into your regular fitness routine let me know and I’d be happy to address them!
Also, if you’re interested in learning more about specific yoga poses you can visit my Yoga for Runner’s section HERE!
Do you incorporate yoga into your training?
Any specific poses or muscles groups you’d like me to address?
Disclaimer: This post was originally published on the Mashpee Fitness Blog.
I am not able to get out and take classes, but I do try and do yoga at home at least once each week.
Sometimes it’s hard to fit in classes, it’s great that you’re still getting some yoga in though!
I’ve gotten much better at getting yoga into my training. I have to use DVDs but I’ve been doing at it least once a week and I’m happy that I’m staying consistent.
Do you have any DVD’s you particularly like? I don’t have any and wouldn’t mind finding 1 or 2 good ones to have for when I just feel like following someone else’s lead!
I’m still not getting to class as regularly as I’d like, and my hips and hamstrings are SO TIGHT. Maybe some good at home poses for those?
Yes, I always focus on hips and hamstrings! I have a few already posted in my Yoga for Runner’s section, but I’ll work on adding some more!
Good stuff! I think yoga is so flippin important for runners. It helps keep me healthy and I take lessons from it to my running – breathing, being in the moment, etc.
I agree, my recovery after running distances has really improved since I started doing yoga regularly!
This is really interesting! Thanks for sharing. As a runner, I definitely need to get involved!
Yoga is so great for runners! Let me know if you have any questions or need some more info on where to start!
Definitely! Thank you 🙂 just need to get into the habit of stretching & being good to my muscles hehe!
I love yoga! Just wanted to throw that out there 🙂
And I love that you love yoga : )
I held a forearm stand for like 6 seconds the other day and almost jumped up and down 🙂
Hi! I’m planning on writing a post about restorative yoga and would love to use your picture (and give you credit/link to your post). If you have any problem with this, please let me know!
Hi Katie, you are more than welcome to use the phone, thanks for asking!