BY EMILLIE CLOSS
Beginning a yoga practice can be intimidating and it can be difficult to know where to start. There are so many varieties of yoga available, Hatha, Iyengar, Ashtanga, Bikram, and it can be daunting.
If you are an active person you may like something at a quicker pace, like Ashtanga Yoga, or maybe you’re someone who has never really enjoyed physical activity, so a Hatha or a Yin Yoga class may suit you. Start with researching the various styles of yoga and decide based on your physical capabilities as well as what you might be hoping to get from this practice of yoga. Will you be doing yoga as a physical exercise or are you looking to yoga as a meditative practice? Perhaps a combination of both mind and body relaxation is your goal.
Once you have decided on what style of yoga and level, you now have the next question. Will I practice at home, alone? Or will I go to a gym or yoga studio?
Another option is creating a home yoga practice, being guided by a book, DVD or online yoga classes. There is currently a great variety for practicing yoga at home. Paying $20 a month for hundreds of yoga classes’ right at your fingertips. This is certainly budget friendly and you get to partake in yoga classes’ lead by some famous yogi’s, but there is something wonderful and soul-filling about walking into a yoga studio, being greeted by burning incense, sipping herbal tea post yoga, that feeds the soul. Being surrounded by fellow yogis creates a great energy in a room. It is a wonderful feeling of community and total bliss. Many yoga studios offer new student introductory specials such as one week for $20 or your first class free. This is a great way to try out different classes, discover your style of yoga and have the opportunity to be adjusted and corrected in class to be sure your asanas (poses) are in proper alignment. Unlimited packages, class packages and drop in options are the norm for the yoga studio setting.
Your next option is the gym. This can be hit or miss. Surrounded by weights and other equipment, outside the door dance music can be heard, so this experience might not be as serene as you are hoping. In some cases though gyms offer a yoga studio experience in a beautiful room and talented yoga teachers. Gym yoga classes are usually at a monthly fee or class sessions/pay as you go. If you work out and are very active then the gym option may work best for you.
Wherever you choose to go I still recommend a home yoga practice. Whether daily or several times a week your body will thank you. The asanas will become a little more comfortable and when you reach those toes for the first time in twenty years you will smile to yourself and take a moment to celebrate. It is because of that feeling of joy and utter bliss that you will continue to do yoga and not just because you can touch your toes but because you are practicing the act of self-love and that truly is the best practice to take part in.