If you’re a yoga newbie feeling a bit dazed and confused, this article is for you. I will go over the basic materials needed for yoga, as well as the different styles of yoga you can try out based on your current fitness level.
- The yoga mat: If you don’t already have a yoga mat, you should probably invest in one. A portable, roll-up mat is best, and they average around $10. Pick a foam one around 1/4″ -1/2″ thick.
- Shoes, or lack thereof: One of the best things about yoga is that it is a shoe-less activity. Bare feet or socks are the preferred method. If you are uncomfortable with the idea of bare feet, invest in some non-slip, athletic socks.
- Form-fitting clothes: Because yoga requires you to bend in all sorts of positions, comfortable, form-fitting clothes are best. Your instructor needs to be able to see that you are doing a pose correctly, and you also don’t want to face the awkward problem of the person next to you seeing up your shorts.
- A towel: While yoga is non-aerobic, you will still find yourself sweating. Dripping on your mat and sliding around when you’re trying to hold a pose is no fun, so always bring a towel with you.
- A water bottle: This holds true for any form of exercise. Stay hydrated!
Common styles of yoga:
- Hatha: The most common and general style of yoga, perfect for beginners. A Hatha yoga class with be slow-paced, gentle, and covers basic yoga poses.
- Vinyasa: A more vigorous style which flows from one pose to the next in what is called “Sun Salutations“. Vinyasa emphasizes breath-synchronized movement and the instructor typically repeats a series of poses multiple times per class.
- Bikram/Hot Yoga: This style is practiced in a 105 degree room with 40% humidity, so be prepared to sweat. The heat is meant to loosen the muscles, increase flexibility, and will also help you cleanse and detoxify the body. There are 26 Bikram poses, so an adventurous beginner can quickly pick up on the routine.
- Power Yoga: As the name implies, this style is much more intense, requiring constant movement and is physically demanding. Power yoga will help sculpt and tone the body, as well as give you a cardio workout.
Hopefully you are feeling prepared and ready to dive into the wonderful world of yoga. Good luck!