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Experience Life Magazine

3 Tips for Yoga Newbies

by Jason Wachob
Whether you read about Shiva Rea’s inspirational yoga journey on the cover of Experience Life’s Jan/Feb 2011 issue, or you saw Jennifer Aniston credit yoga for her “Decade of Hotness” award that Spike TV awarded her (yes, this is true), there’s no denying that more and more people are embracing yoga.

Yoga’s great for toning your body, healing injuries, winding down, and overcoming stress. If you’re thinking about walking into your first yoga class, here’s what you need to know.

1. Anyone can do yoga. If you can breathe, you can do yoga. It doesn’t matter if you’re nine years old or 90-years old (my grandmother started when she was 90!), as long as you can move and you can breathe, then you can practice yoga. This is one of the great things about yoga — you can start wherever you are, and go at whatever pace you want, and there’s no one-size fits all practice. As yogi Seane Corn says, “Yoga is about becoming together and becoming whole” — and this all starts with the breath! So if you can breathe, you qualify!

2. Check out the poses. If you decide that you want to go to your first class, it’s a good idea to check out a yoga poses for beginners library so you can become somewhat familiar with the many different poses. This way you won’t find yourself continually looking at the person in front of you or next to you as you move through class. You might find yourself doing this anyway (which is more than fine), but becoming more familiar with the poses will make you feel more comfortable.

3. Find what styles and teachers are a fit for you. There are many different styles of yoga — in some you’ll move more and in others you’ll hold poses for a longer period of time. It’s pretty safe to say, though, that there’s a style (and a teacher) that will be just right for you. It may mean taking a number of classes from different instructors at different studios, but sooner or later you’ll find the right teacher and the right style. When you find it, you’ll know. When you’re researching studios in your area makes sure to ask which teachers and classes are beginner-friendly.

So if you’re sitting on the yoga “fence,” realize that anyone can do yoga – all you need to do is be able to breath and move. Once you’ve made the decision to give yoga a try get familiar with the poses, shop around for styles and teachers, and take your practice wherever you want to go!

Jason Wachob is one of the founders of MindBodyGreen.