Close-up of attractive young woman folding blue yoga or fitness mat after working out at home in living room. Yoga and healthy lifestyle concept. Horizontal shot. white loft studio

Yoga for beginners: How should a beginner start yoga?

Starting yoga for the first time can be intimidating. Here is a quick yoga for beginners guide to help make your practice fun!


Close-up of attractive young woman folding blue yoga or fitness mat after working out at home in living room. Yoga and healthy lifestyle concept. Horizontal shot. white loft studio

Yoga is a beautiful mind-body practice with several physical and mental benefits. There are many different types of yoga for beginners. When you start your yoga practice, however, you may experience certain challenges, such as finding the time to practice regularly. It can also be difficult if you haven’t been active for a while. That’s okay – yoga is a journey and with these tips, you won’t want to leave your yoga mat!

Yoga for beginners: Tips to get started

With over 300 million practitioners worldwide (source), yoga is a growing form of movement. In South Africa, it is the fourth most popular exercise due to its many benefits, including helping to reduce stress, build strength, improve balance and help flexibility. If you are looking to reap the benefits of a regular yoga practice, here’s some tips to get started:

1. Choose a beginner-friendly yoga class

From fast-paced vinyasa flows to slow restorative yin yoga…there are so many styles to choose from. Where do you start? If you are practising yoga at home, you can find the different styles with a simple YouTube search, or you can sign up for online classes. Another option is to attend yoga classes near you. Either way, it is best to choose a beginner-friendly yoga session.

A good option for beginners is hatha yoga – here you can learn the fundamentals of yoga but at a gentler pace. There is also Iyengar yoga which mainly uses props (such as yoga blocks) to focus on alignment. Once you learn beginner poses, you can challenge yourself to faster-paced yoga styles or intermediate yoga poses.

2. Choose comfortable clothing

Although leggings are popular with yogi, it is not a must-have. The most important thing is to be comfortable while practising. Choose clothing that you can move freely in and doesn’t restrict your breathing. As it’s finally warmer in South Africa, choose cool clothing and don’t worry about shoes – yoga is done barefoot or with socks.

ALSO READ: Be happy every day: Top tips for doing it here!

3. Grab props

It is best to invest in a good yoga mat if you want to practice regularly. Avoid choosing exercise mats as they tend to be very thin. Choose a yoga mat that is thick enough to cushion your joints and has a good grip. If you are practising from home, you can also use a carpet or perhaps a towel. There is also yoga you can do with a chair (or even in bed!) until you get a yoga mat.

Other yoga props such as a block and yoga strap can be helpful if you are a beginner. Yoga blocks in particular help yogis to ease into physical postures that will otherwise be quite difficult. If you don’t have a yoga block, you can use a sturdy book, rolled-up blanket or a step stool.

4. Do your research

Yoga is low-impact. It is a generally safe practice but some poses may be difficult for those with previous injuries or pre-existing conditions. This is why it is important to learn about the postures before you begin. For example, some poses such as headstands may not be the best for people with neck or shoulder issues.

You don’t have to do a lengthy yoga course. There are many yoga books and online yoga sources to learn more about the practice. Attending a class with a certified yoga instructor is also a good way to find out which poses are best for your body.

ALSO READ: Gym lingo 101: Common gym terms newbies need to know

5. Always listen to your body

Don’t be disappointed if you have difficulty. Our bodies are all different and some yoga styles or poses may be more challenging than others. Never push your body into a pose. If something doesn’t feel right or causes you pain, modify or move on to another pose.

6. A little goes a long way

Learning yoga takes time. Don’t be discouraged if you don’t experience the benefits at first. With regular practice, you will build strength and flexibility. Try to do a little every day, rather than forcing yourself to do hour-long sessions. You can do a few minutes of yoga in the morning if you have a busy day, or perhaps learn a new pose at night. No matter what you choose, remember to go slow and be patient.

As with all exercises, always consult your doctor if you have medical conditions or injuries. With time and regular practice, you can see great improvements in your physical and mental health. Follow this yoga for beginner tips for a healthier and happier you!

ALSO READ: Just breathe: Six meditation styles for a peaceful mind