Welcome beginners! Our Yoga for Beginners guide will give you all the tips, guidelines and recommendations you will need to start a successful yoga practice.
HOW TO START A YOGA PRACTICE
While there is a lot to learn, discover and explore in the tradition of yoga, it is best to start simply and not let yourself be overwhelmed. Our How to Start a Yoga Practice guide will give you the 4 basic steps to starting a yoga practice. Once you have worked through this list, continue on with our Yoga for Beginner’s section.
1. Learn how to breathe
The most important thing to do in yoga is to breathe, especially when holding the postures. Learn the basic Dirga pranayama breath to use during yoga. Most importantly, breathe in and out through the nose into the belly. Read our Breathing in Asana article for more advice on breathing while practicing yoga poses.
2. Start with a brief meditation and intention
Sit in easy pose or accomplished pose (or any comfortable seating position) and take a few minutes to ground, center and focus inwards with one of our meditations. You may also want to set an intention, goal or prayer for your practice at the beginning meditation.
3. Use basic and beginning level postures
Make sure you have read our General Practice Guidelines before attempting any yoga poses. Start with one of our warm-up sequences and then try one of our basic yoga pose sequences and/or these simple postures: seated twist, cat, dog, down dog, child, cobra, mountain, triangle, forward bend. Then explore our Yoga Pose section for other poses to practice.
4. End with Shavasana (relaxation pose)
Always end your yoga practice with Shavasana, resting on your back and consciously relaxing your body for 5-15 minutes. It is also recommended to practice a short seated meditation after Shavasana to integrate your yoga practice and transition back into the world.
Please note that it is common for the first couple of times practicing yoga to feel awkward and strange; this will pass with time and practice.
WHAT YOU NEED TO START YOGA
One of the great things about yoga is that you don’t really need anything to practice yoga. But we do recommend the following to support and enhance your practice.
1. Premium Membership
Our Premium Membership makes it easy to start a yoga practice! with 25 yoga sequences, streaming audio, bigger pictures and tons more.
Sign Up for a Yoga Basics Membership
2. Yoga Books
These are the best books we have found for beginning students:
Yoga For Beginners
Yoga, Mastering the Basics
Yoga Zone’s Introduction to Yoga
3. Yoga DVDs
These are the best videos we have found for beginning students:
Basic Yoga Workout for Dummies
A.M./P.M. Yoga for beginners
Kripalu Yoga: Gentle
Yoga For Beginners
Yoga Journal’s: Beginning Yoga Step by Step
4. Yoga CDs
These are the best audio instructional CDs for beginning students:
Drops of Nectar: Yoga Relaxation for Rejuvenation and Healing
5. Yoga Mat
A yoga mat provides padding as well as a non-slip surface to practice on. A classic yoga mat is best for beginners, but upgrading to a thicker mat is recommended if you are practicing on a wood floor.
6. Yoga Props
Yoga props are very helpful when starting yoga. Use a yoga block to stabilize standing poses, use a yoga strap to go stretch further in seated poses and use a bolster or a blanket for restorative poses.
7. Yoga Music CDs
Playing music during your yoga practice will help relax, focus and soothe. See our list of recommended music CDs here
8. Yoga Clothing
Wearing loose or stretchable clothing is best for practicing yoga poses. There are many clothing manufacturers that specialize in yoga clothes, but you will pay a premium for the fit and performance, so you might want to start with what you already might have in your closet.