The first time with any new hobby, skill, or class is always the hardest. But once you start you’ll forever wonder why you didn’t do so earlier. As a newbie to the yoga world, the lingo and protocols and might appear confusing. Intimidating, even. What’s a ‘downward dog’? Should I wear tight or loose clothing? Which beginner yoga classes are right for me? Where can I find friendly a yoga class near where I live? Can I start right away? Do I need to meditate? Special diet? The list goes on. But don’t worry. We’re here to help with a mini-yoga guide for beginners.
Whether you’re a novice or even if you have some experience with Yoga, Sum Of Us Studio in Prahran will help you learn the ropes in a friendly, uncrowded environment. Our expert yoga teachers are here to help you. Everyone is welcome, regardless of skill level. Taking your first yoga class is a great step towards building a stronger body and mind.
How to Do Your First Yoga Class
Talk to the instructor before the class and let them know you’re a newbie. Your instructor will then take special care to guide you with the new yoga poses. Nobody is there to judge, as even advanced yoga teachers were students once.
• Yoga is performed barefoot. If you’re cold you can keep your socks on but most people will take the class without socks.
• Yoga poses happen on mats, not the bare floor. Check if your studio provides mats. At Sum Of Us, all equipment is provided so you won’t need to worry about that.
• Arrive a little early for the class so you can talk to the teacher, locate a mat (if you need to), find a space on the floor and get comfortable.
• Bring water and a towel – a small one, not a bath towel. This is not a CrossFit class but some sweating will happen.
• Depending on the yoga style, some blocks, bands, straps and bolsters might be used. These pieces of equipment help you to perform better stretching and poses. Your instructor will explain everything and might even recommend skipping the props for the first class.
• If you’re unsure of how to perform a pose, remain in the last pose or attempt an easy variation. Your instructor will notice and correct your positioning if required.
• Yoga is a calming and relaxing form of exercise. Save the chatting and jokes till after class. Try to contemplate your own abilities and strengths in the class and if you have questions, you can discuss the class with the yoga instructor afterwards.
• The class might end with a corpse pose, performed by simply resting on your back and closing your eyes. Feel free to relax and snooze but it’s much better to be self-aware and try to feel your body’s connection with the floor. But whatever you decide, try not to jump up and walk out of the room. Above all, respect the other yoga students and the teacher!
Beginner Yoga Poses
The Downward Dog is one of the most recognisable yoga poses. It’s a great yoga position for beginners to stretch out the shoulders, upper back, and hamstrings. It also builds strength in the arms and shoulders. This is one of our favourite poses and a great introductory yoga position for the novice yoga student.
The Child Pose is another pose that most people should be able to handle easily. With the knees wide apart sit back on your haunches and stretch your arms out in front. Rest your head on the floor. See? It’s an easy one.
Perform the Mountain Pose but standing with your feet together and stretching your arms overhead. Breathe in and hold. Maintain straight arms and keep the palms facing each other. After a few seconds breathe out and release your arms.
Try a few basic poses before class to get comfortable with positions, breathing and to help understand your own body’s strengths and weaknesses. You’ll be better prepared for your first class.
What to Wear to Your First Yoga Class
Loose fitting clothing is ideal but is probably more suitable for gents. Ladies will feel more comfortable with full-length leggings or fitted spandex shorts. Stretches and poses will more comfortable when you don’t have to worry about exposing more skin than you want. Gents, wear something under those basketball shorts and don’t go for heavy track pants as they will get sweaty fast.
Tank tops are ideal as they allow for unhindered shoulder and arm movement. Ladies, wear a sports bra. Guys, don’t take off your shirt at any stage. This isn’t the place to show off your six-pack.
You won’t need any special equipment as everything from blocks, bands, and mats will be provided.
How Yoga Makes You Stronger and Tones Your Muscles
Many people believe yoga is only about breathing and relaxing. It’s true that all forms of yoga focus on breathing and ultimately, yoga will help you relax and de-stress. But yoga is also a strength building exercise. The level of strength you want to build depends on your ambitions. Yoga integrates a lot of isometric strength exercises into the poses. Arnold Schwarzenegger wasn’t known for is yoga prowess but he was a firm believer in isometric strength, which yoga can help develop. In isometric strength training, your muscles remain the same length under tension. Instead of flexing and contracting, the joints remain static and strength is built through the act of holding positions against a force (gravity and your own body weight).
Yoga poses can build impressive strength in everyone from kids to seniors. In fact, yoga for seniors can help maintain levels of strength in older populations unable to perform traditional weight training exercises.
According to the Mayo Clinic, isometric exercises will not improve athletic performance but are great for stabilisation. For anyone recovering from injury, this can help with progress. Seniors can also enjoy the muscle stabilisation effects.
The benefits of yoga go beyond the increased flexibility enjoyed by students. Here are just two of the most important health benefits of regular yoga.
Injury can be one of the most depressing things to happen to active people. Not being able to move around, do sport, and healthy activities can really dampen your spirits. Nobody wants to be injured, so spending a couple of hours a week strengthening muscles, and lessening knots in your body can do wonders towards for maintaining a life free of injury.
Joint health is very important as we get older and performing yoga poses and positions is an excellent way of maintaining flexible joints and reducing joint pain.
Arthritis sufferers, in particular, can benefit from the increases in strength and flexibility. The advice is to not overdo it as this can lead to more inflammation. Talk to your yoga instructor and find a level that gives you the most benefits without negative effects.
Nobody wants that hunched-over sway back hips posture that’s so common with office workers and people that live sedentary lives. There’s nothing better than stretching out your body after a day hunched over the keyboard. Yoga not only helps you with your flexibility but it strengthens the muscles that improve posture. Yoga is all about bringing your body back to its natural state. As modern human beings, our bodies lose strength in the areas that help us stand and walk tall and upright. Yoga is the perfect antidote. Want more confidence, energy, and less shoulder and neck pain? You know where to go.
Yoga for Men
Guys, yoga is for men too! We know you love working those biceps and chest muscles at the gym but studies have shown that the advantages of yoga for men include increased strength, muscle tone, flexibility, and reduced joint pain. Yoga can also increase sex drive and improve reproductive health.
Yoga Classes in Melbourne
If you’re a Melbourne local can drop by to our Yoga Flow (Vinyasa yoga), Yoga slow, and Yoga restorative classes in our high street Prahran, Melbourne location. If you live near Prahran, why not come down to check out our beautiful studio where we perform all of our yoga training. Our Prahran Yoga Studio was recently voted one of the 12 most beautiful fitness studios on Instagram.
Chris graduated with honours from the University of Melbourne in 2005. His love of musculoskeletal assessment and diagnosis, and constant thirst for knowledge, saw him take on a great deal of further study after university. Chris has trained with a range of varied health professionals including chiropractors, homeopaths, exercise scientists and more, which helped give birth to the Sum Of Us wellness studio