If you’ve been intimidated by the twisty, bendy poses sometimes spotted in yoga classes; you’re not alone. However, everyone has to begin somewhere—and there’s no requirement that you become a guru to benefit from yoga. Even “amateur” yoga, such as those beginning Hatha classes, have fantastic benefits. Remember that learning the foundations of yoga is often where you’ll get the most benefits. It doesn’t matter if you never move beyond beginner courses, especially because it’s in these classes where instructors often spend more time on form and helping you build a solid practice.
Also remember that every yoga studio, teacher, class, and style will be different. If you don’t care for a particular style, such as vinyasa, try a gentle class or even an aerial class. There’s the right yoga fit out there for you, but it will take a little sampling to find your stride. Once you do? You’ll quickly be able to enjoy these health boosters from a beginner yoga class:
- Treat mental health along with spiritual and physical. Whether you’re looking for a healthy way to assist with encroaching depression or aid in anxiety-soothing, yoga is one of the few fitness options that blend mental and physical health. It’s the pranayamas (breath control) as well as the guided savasana (final resting pose) that really assist with mental health.
- Yoga complements every other type of workout. The asana (poses) aspect of yoga are designed to optimize your strength, balance, and flexibility—these are a natural complement to every type of cardio and strength training. You’ll notice an improvement in everything else from cycling to free weight training.
- You’ll dramatically improve your posture. The vast majority of westerners have poor posture due to a lack of movement, always being bent over a screen, and a lot of time spent sitting. Yoga teaches you what proper, healthy posture looks and feels like and you can take those lessons into your daily life. “Yoga” can be practiced anywhere, such as standing in line for coffee.
- You become more aware of your body. Posture isn’t the only thing that will benefit from beginner yoga. You’ll learn how your body should feel when it’s in balance, such as working towards untucking your tailbone (a common and harmful western standing position). As you discover the correct ways your body is supposed to move and feel, you’ll find lessons that you can apply throughout your activities of daily living.
- Learn new ways to breathe. The majority of people are shallow breathers and never fill their lungs entirely. Poor breathing can be linked to numerous ailments, particularly if you’re a shallow breather and only breathe into your shoulder area. Did you know you can actually “breathe into your back,” or that full breathes stretch and nourish the intercostal muscles between your ribs? Learning how to breathe offers physical, mental, and spiritual health benefits.
- Nourish your social health needs. Social health is the idea that humans are social creatures, and we need a positive, healthy environment surrounded by like-minded people to thrive. A yoga class offers this in spades.
If you’re on the fence about trying yoga, commit to testing out one new studio or teacher per week for a month. You’ll be surprised by what you find.