If you are looking to get started on your yoga journey there are an abundance of choices to choose from today. I started out teaching myself from a book as there were no other options at the time, the Internet had just become available to the general public and yoga was still in its infant days of growing in the West.
Today, you can start your yoga journey by:
Which option works for you is going to be dependent on a number of factors, let us take a dive into some of them and explore them.
Figure out how often and how much time you can dedicate to doing yoga. It may be 3 times a week for an hour or once a week. Maybe all you can spare is 15 minutes first thing in the morning or just before going to bed. Someone who can set aside an hour will want to consider joining a yoga studio be it online, at a physical location or a local yoga community that offers classes. Someone that only has 15/30 minutes would probably consider pre-recorded yoga videos like those on Youtube or online yoga studios.
Think about your lifestyle, working hours and daily responsibilities. We all have different working schedules, life commitments, families or not, but regardless it’s still important to make time for yourself. If your lifestyle consists of a daily routine that is set then consider checking out your local yoga studio or gym and see what hours they offer classes. Generally, the classes are before and after normal conventional working hours. If those hours don’t work for you then an online yoga studio might work better as you’ll have access to pre-recorded classes or find a favourite yoga Youtube channel that would work for you.
Most of the yoga classes offered at local studios and gyms try to cater to all levels in one class. If you are not at all fit you may struggle to keep up with the class and get frustrated. In that case I would recommend rather seeking out classes that offer beginner specific sessions that introduce you to yoga be it online or physical studios. If you are keen to learn on your own then Youtube has a lot of beginner friendly videos. For those that are fit all options will work for you dependent on whether you just want to get in and do the asanas or whether you want more introduction to the full yoga practice including breathing and meditation.
If you are disciplined and can motivate yourself to stick with something then you have all options available to you from Youtube videos to online studios. If you the type that easily is swayed out of doing something then sign up to a studio so you know you have to be there at a certain time or get a friend or family member to join you.
This is very personal and different for everyone. For those who are just looking for a form of physical exercise then your local gym and yoga studio would offer more Power Yoga and Vinyasa Yoga styles. If you looking to destress and bring movement into your life then a yoga studio or online classes would offer sessions focused on more than just building heat through asanas. You would want to search for Hatha Yoga, Restorative Yoga and Yin Yoga type of classes. If you want to start living the yoga lifestyle and incorporate more of the yoga principles into your life then see if you can find some local yoga communities, but the other aspects of yoga like philosophy, breathing and meditation are not often touched on in our Western yoga classes. I tend to seek out online workshops or Youtube videos for more on these topics.
Don’t think you need to spend money to start your yoga journey. If your finances allow then look at signing up for classes, if not then seek out some yoga videos on Youtube or even your local yoga community. The teachers often offer classes based on donation so only if you can spare something you can support them but at the same time if you can’t that’s okay you can still attend.
I am still a student on my journey seeking guidance and learnings from others. Here are some of the resources I have used in my own personal yoga journey:
I used to attend the yoga classes held at my local gym, however as my practice evolved and I started doing less gym style workouts and more yoga I naturally stopped attending the gym and eventually found it was more of a mission to get to a class on time.
My very first yoga book that I taught myself from was called Yogacise by Vimla Lalvani. Over the years I’ve acquired other books on yoga philosophy and its practice with Light on Yoga by BKS Iyengar being the last one I purchased, which details each of the asanas and the pranayama techniques, but this book is for those that seriously want to dive into it and have some knowledge of yoga.
I’ve used Insight Timer a number of times for meditations specifically before bed time.
I believe it’s important to do a variety of styles of yoga, keeping yourself balanced and realizing your body does not always want the same thing.
When I’m feeling like I need a Power Yoga type of session then I usually go with Travis Elliot he really makes you work.
I recently stumbled onto a channel by Michael Bijker - YogaLap he focuses a lot on breathing and meditation.
For philosophy and seeking more understanding of life I’ve found myself watching Sadhguru a lot and recently Saraswathi Vasudevan.
My yoga teacher has a local yoga community and does pop up yoga classes as well as yoga workshops and yoga retreats, so I’ve attended as many of those as I can. See if there are any yoga communities in your area, maybe even on Meetup.com.
Whatever your circumstances, work within your means and what your lifestyle allows for. Yoga is more than just physical exercise and if that’s where you are starting great please do there are a lot of options. I hope with time as your physical practice evolves you will begin to peel back the layers and find you want to seek more within yourself. For those looking to incorporate the other aspects of yoga into their journey, it may just require a bit of online research to find studios and communities that focus on breathing, meditation and philosophy.