Wanted to try yoga for a while now but never been able to pluck up the courage? Or have you dabbled in the odd class but found it all bit too strange and uncomfortable? Maybe you’re just really really stiff and found that none of the poses seem possible to you. If any of these statements sound like you, then signing up to a beginner’s yoga course may be your gateway to the practice.
So what makes a beginner’s yoga course different to just a drop in beginner’s class? In a beginner’s class, the level of poses taught is fairly constant. Poses are designed to be more accessible to those newer to yoga or with a more limited range of motion. A beginner’s course will share lots of similarities but there is a deliberate design to the classes with a sense of progression. These courses typically run for around six weeks and are often run by studios with the aim of “graduating” students to be able to try more classes at the end.
As a teacher, I can spot first-time yoga students as soon as I start to lead the sun salutations in my class. Having to thread together several poses, each with their own correct alignment as well as knowing when to breath is hard! In a drop-in session, this classic sequence can’t really be taught from scratch each class. However, a beginner’s course has the luxury of being to take time over setting up each pose individually. When it comes to attending a class outside of the course, you’ll be able to do the asanas that are called out with much more confidence and should be able to pick up threads of poses more quickly. This will not only make the positions more effective for you, but will help to avoid injury or discomfort from poor alignment.
Everyone’s body is different, which means no one is going to look exactly like the teacher in the same pose. In a beginner’s course, there is sufficient time to explore different options in asanas, as well as use of props. And whilst we’re on the subject of props, don’t think that you needing them means that you’re not good enough, or need the “easy” option. Their purpose is to facilitate practice so that you get the maximum benefit from each position. And in some cases, props can be used to take you deeper into a pose rather than making it “easier”. Take home message? Really don’t worry about them!
Whilst it can be tempting to hide in the back, being spotted by the teacher isn’t a bad thing! Classes are usually drop-in, so numbers can vary and a struggling or uncertain student might get missed. As beginner’s yoga courses have the same group each week a teacher will be able to make sure that a foot in the wrong place won’t get missed.
Courses are specifically designed to build upon the previous week’s practice rather than starting from the same level each time. Rather than being thrown into the deep end, you’ll be given the tools to begin your own yoga practice. Plus, you will get to learn new skills each week. Seeing your improvement every session can be a huge motivation, encouraging you to come back for more even after the course.
Feeling convinced? Head to your local studio, gym or leisure centre and enquire about courses available. If they don’t have a beginner’s yoga course on offer already, express your interest and you may just find that there’s a teacher more than happy to lead one.