tree women practicing yoga

Top 10 tips for beginner yogis!

The practice of yoga is intriguing to people all across the world, but most don’t know how to go about starting a yoga practice. Many may abandon the idea of starting a practice, simply because they don’t know what to expect. The beauty of yoga is that you don’t have to be a yogi to reap the benefits. Whether you are young or old, overweight or fit, yoga has the power to calm the mind and strengthen the body. 

Beginner yogis practicing vinyasa karma at Yoga Roots
Vinyasa Yoga class at Yoga Roots

However, it can be challenging and a bit scary to be beginner yogis. To help you feel a little more comfortable before you say your first “om” or “namaste”, here are 10 tips to help make the experience “love at first breath.”

1. Begin where you are

We start from where we are – right now. There’s no where else to begin! No matter your level of fitness, or experience with yoga or similar practices – you can find a class that feels right for you. Ideally, start in a class specifically designed for beginners—where you’ll learn foundation poses, alignment, and breathing fundamentals.

At Yoga Roots, all of our classes are open for all-levels. Meaning, you can join any class that suits your schedule, and during class listen to your body and your own pace of practice (see tip no. 9 below). If you are still hesitant to jump into a class, we have courses just for beginners about once a quarter.

If you’d like a tip in the right direction for a beginner friendly weekday class, a vinyasa or yin yoga class is a good place to start. You can also join any of the aerial yoga classes as a brand new beginner too! The teachers will adapt the class to be accessible for anyone. In these classes you have the opportunity to explore the postures and fundamental principles of yoga. 

2. Arrive early

When you are going to a new studio for the first time, give yourself about 15 minutes before the class starts. This will give you time to get settled, locate the changing room and bathroom, acclimate to the energy of the space and also meet your teacher. You can ask them questions or express any hesitations you may have as a new student. This is also the perfect time to let the teacher know of any injuries you may have, so that they can properly cue you to avoid any further strain.

3. Take your time

Yoga is not a race—your yoga practice is YOUR time to slow down, breathe, move into your body, and connect. 

It’s ironic, really. We spend all day rushing around from place to place, moving through tasks at what feels like a whirlwind pace, only to get in the car (or on your bike or on the train) and zoom to yoga class. Then we change our clothes, roll out our mat, and move right into our practice. Phew! This is where we need to practice that mindfulness thing, right? Take a few deep breaths, don’t worry so much about keeping up with the rest of the class. Let yourself flow into your practice at your own pace, and most importantly, enjoy it!

Beginner yogis sitting by the water and practicing yoga
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4. Don’t force yourself into a pose

I know, it’s so easy to look around the studio and see someone else in a totally fabulous Eagle pose or sitting serenely in a Lotus pose with both feet tucked up nicely. You start to think, my body should be able to do that! And then you try to force your poor arms and legs into a pose that they’re just not ready for.

Working your way into some of those advanced poses takes months or years or practice. Remember what I said before about taking your time? Take your time yogis. Enjoy your practice. Let yourself feel good in every pose, no matter where you are. Forcing yourself into a pose is a prescription for injury.

5. Don’t be afraid to use props

Avoiding injury is paramount for beginner yogis. An injury can set you back weeks, months, or make you give up yoga altogether. Using yoga props is one of the best ways to avoid injury and learn the poses of yoga. Yoga props like blocks, straps, blankets, and hammocks give our bodies much-needed support as we’re building strength and developing flexibility. 

Yoga props
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6. Wear comfortable clothes

Wear something stretchy and comfortable. For women, leggings, a sports bra, and a t-shirt is a great option for many. For men, athletic pants, leggings or lined shorts, paired with a breathable t-shirt are perfect options to stay comfortable in class. Make sure your clothes allow for free movement. Also, you’ll likely remove your socks and shoes for the practice. Bare feet help you connect to the ground and balance and help prevent slipping. In colder weather don’t forget warm socks and a sweater for shavasana!

7. Look into online classes

If starting your practice at the studio is a bit too intimidating, online classes are a great option. Online streaming platforms have grown immensely over the past few years. So you’ll have a wealth of options to choose from. Why not check out the free online classes that Yoga Roots offer! Or get unlimited access to their digital platform of over 50 classes for just 295 sek.

Tips for beginner yogis - Woman doing online yoga at home infront of her TV.
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8. Set an intention

One of the most challenging aspects for beginner yogis is quieting the mind and focusing on the present moment. It is easy for our minds to wander and to be only practicing in a physical sense, rather than connecting the mind and body to the practice. 

To help center in on your practice, come to your mat with an intention in mind. Often the teacher will share an intention they have for the class—you can choose to follow this if it speaks to you, or to use your own. Intentions are personal and can be just about anything that works for you. For example, you may decide to focus on breathing deeply throughout the class, or to practice not judging yourself or others. Offering gratitude for the opportunity to use yoga to care for your body is another way to ground your practice. Whatever your intention, call it to mind anytime you need some inspiration or could simply use a reminder of your reason for coming to yoga class.

Woman practicing yoga sitting down.
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9. Listen to your body

Let the teacher be your guide, but only you know what your body truly needs. If a pose has become too tiring for you, take a moment to rest in Child’s Pose. If you move into a pose and it doesn’t feel right, move out of it and ask the teacher to offer you an alternative. Remember that most yoga poses have different versions. In the meantime, just remember that yoga shouldn’t hurt. If something makes you feel a sharp pain, don’t do it. 

Listen to your body, calm down your ambition and stay in the first variation if that’s where your breath is steady. Do whatever is necessary to take care of your body and listen to any signals it’s giving you throughout the practice.

10. Be patient

It is easy to get frustrated and feel like your practice isn’t progressing as quickly as it should be. Many beginner yogis want to immediately jump into fun and challenging poses. However, it takes time and dedication to build up the strength and balance to perform more advanced postures. Trust that you are exactly where you need to be in your process of learning yoga. Be patient with yourself as you explore new poses and build up both your physical and mental strength. Over time, you’ll begin to see just how much your yoga practice has grown and evolved. You just need to put in the time to get there.

Four people laying in hammocks at Yoga Roots.
Aerial Yoga Class at Yoga Roots

Remember that every beginner yogis have their challenges. If something doesn’t work out, try it later. And while yoga can be intimidating at first, you should be having fun while exploring and learning about the practice. 

Make sure to manage your motivation smartly, and don’t listen to anybody but your inner voice. Yoga is a very rewarding and worthwhile practice. It surely is worth your time and effort. And if you want some more tips, check out this page.

Have fun yogis! 

history of yoga

A newbies journey to yoga

What is vinyasa yoga?

I often thought about how it would feel like mastering the art of yoga. To be able to move from one pose to another with ease and grace and not have my arms and legs trembling with each move. As a person who knows very little about yoga and very much about crossfit, I decided to broaden my knowledge and dive into the “yoga world”, starting with vinyasa yoga. 

One of the first things I discovered on my yoga quest was the many different types of yoga. And as a newbie to Yoga Roots I noticed the many Vinyasa classes on the schedule. So I set out to find out more on what makes this type of yoga so special. Therefore, this week we will dive into Vinyasa yoga, which comes from the Sanskrit root words meaning “to place in a special way”.

It is not a surprise that yoga has many benefits. This bendy ancient practice has health benefits that extend beyond the physical. However, there are many different types of yoga and it can be a little hard to know which style is best suitable for your needs and wants. Vinyasa is an approach to yoga in which you move from one pose directly into the next with the movement of your breath. The classes are often rhythmic, with a focus on transitions and movements, and connecting the body movements with the rhythm of the breath.

The history of Vinyasa yoga

Shaiva ascetics performing tapas via British Museum Source: British Museum.
Shaiva ascetics performing tapas via British Museum

Vinyasa yoga is a modern style of yoga, born out of the Ashtanga Vinyasa yoga tradition. The Ashtanga school was developed by a yogi named Sri Krishnamacharya. Krishnamacharya taught that the movements between each asana should be considered just as important as the postures themselves. His idea behind this was to deepen concentration and body consciousness throughout the entire practice. Rather than focusing on “getting into the posture” and then breathing, the aim is to keep the deep breathing and body consciousness consistent throughout all movements during the practice.

The benefits

So what are the benefits of Vinyasa yoga? For starters, it improves your energy levels while simultaneously promoting relaxation and lowering stress levels. It also offers several other benefits, including:

  • Endurance and strength training. Because the challenging poses are done in quick succession, Vinyasa yoga helps build muscle strength while improving your fitness.
  • Stability and balance. While improved balance is a benefit of yoga in general, a 2015 study in the journal PLoS One found that for people with low vision, a course of Ashtanga-based yoga significantly improved their sense of balance and reduced their fall risk.
  • Cardio workout. According to a 2013 study in the Journal of Yoga & Physical Therapy, the fast-paced movements and physical challenge of Vinyasa yoga make it an ideal light-intensity cardiovascular workout. 
  • Lower stress, less anxiety. In a 2012 study of women going through cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT) to quit smoking, researchers found that practicing Vinyasa yoga helped lower stress and anxiety levels. It also helped the participants quit smoking.

What do you love about Vinyasa?

Lina W. Walldén is one of the Vinyasa teachers at Yoga Roots. So, I sat down with her to get to the “root” of what makes Vinyasa yoga so special to her. Lina discovered yoga when she was 13 years old, thanks to her mother. Since then she has practiced many different types of yoga, but the Vinyasa is what she really is passionate about. In 2020 she decided to take her passion for yoga to the next step and began her Vinyasa teachers training.

Lina W. Walldén enjoying the nature
Lina W. Walldén enjoying the nature

“My favourite thing about Vinyasa yoga is the feeling of being totally connected to your body…

– Lina W. Walldén

When asked what she loves about Vinyasa, Lina replied:

“My favourite thing about Vinyasa yoga is the feeling of being totally connected to your body and not being able to think about anything else at that moment. I also love the playfulness and the creativity in the sequencing, and the fact that a Vinyasa class gives a good workout for both body and mind. This is what I aim to pass on in my teaching, combined with a feeling of calmness and stability.”

Practice with Lina weekly at Yoga Roots on Tuesdays and Sundays!

Who am I?

My name is Shirin and I’m a happy and energetic student who’s studying “communication and social media” at Medieinstitutet. I’m originally from Stockholm but have lived in Malmö for about 5 years now and I have no plans on leaving this wonderful city, which I call home. As part of my education program each semester has an internship period which stretches for 10 weeks. This semester I was lucky enough to get an internship at Yoga Roots. I knew immediately that this internship would be packed with fun and amazing experiences as I read the first sentence of Bethany’s reply to my internship request. And sure enough, it’s already week 4 and I’ve had a blast! 

So yogis, I really hope you enjoyed this week’s reading about Vinyasa yoga, Lina’s story and also appreciate getting to know a bit about me. Each week I will touch upon a yoga related subject and next week the blog is about “the 3 most important aspects of yoga”, which you don’t want to miss!

Shirin Bakhti
Me being happy, as usual 🙂