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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! 

Healthy food

How to prepare for your yoga practice: Food as Fuel.

To eat or not to eat before and after yoga, that is the question. One thing that many yogis have in common, whether they’re a newbie, a seasoned vet, or anywhere in between, they wonder, “Should I eat food before yoga?” 

The short answer is, absolutely, but the types of food you eat and when you eat them are key. After all, many of us have experienced that awkward, audible moment during down-ward facing dog. So, listen up yogis everywhere, here’s what you need to know! You want to fuel your body both before and after class. While the yoga room is great for loosening up muscles, all that activity can take a toll on your body’s hydration and electrolyte balance. So, before you step on your mat, prepare to properly prime your tank before and after your yoga class. 

Though, the ideal is to practice yoga early in the morning on an empty stomach, considering today’s hectic lifestyle, people have to squeeze in their yoga practice whenever they find the time. Eating the right food and when to eat before and after yoga is key to feeling our best. 

Yoga in the morning
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What to eat before?

A healthy and balanced diet is preferable to get the best out of your yoga practice. In general, you want to eat each of the three macronutrients – protein, fat and carbohydrate. With that being said, try not to eat any heavy or large meals, and as a general rule, stop eating two hours before class. 

If your yoga practice is 1 – 2  hours after waking up it’s advisable to have easy to digest food like fresh fruits (bananas are a great source of potassium), or juice at least 45 minutes before the class. However, if you’re attending a later yoga class try eating a light meal or a small snack at least 1 hour before. This gives your digestive tract enough time to do some work to get the food out of your tummy. It’s also important to stay well hydrated before your practice, but don’t overdo it. Instead, try to take small sips throughout the hours before your class.

Here are some good options:

  • Apple slices dipped in peanut butter, or a banana
  • Healthy granola bars and energy bites
  • A handful of almonds and fresh fruit, like blueberries
  • Smoothies or protein shakes
  • A hard-boiled egg and some carrot sticks 
  • Toast with avocado

Snack suggestions before yoga
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As you become more acclimated to how your body responds to your eating schedule during yoga, you can modify your routine. For example, if you’re pregnant, or prone to get dizzy when practicing aerial yoga, be sure to eat a snack about 30 minutes before class. Do what feels best for your body so that you feel light and comfortable throughout the duration of class!

What to eat after?

Now let’s talk about what you can eat after a yoga class. The first thing you want to do after a yoga session is to drink water – keep yourself hydrated! After the class it’s time to refuel with a meal or snack that has a 3-to-1 ratio of carbohydrates to protein, which can help repair muscle tissues and restore energy levels. Preferably wait 30 minutes after your practice before eating so that your body can re-acclimate itself and won’t risk going into food coma 

Here are some other great options to eat after your yoga practice:

  • Turkey wrapped around cream cheese and asparagus spears
  • Chicken breast with some avocado and sweet potatoes
  • Greek yoghurt with fruits, nuts, and granola
  • Quinoa bowl with veggies, tofu, or legumes
  • Smoothie with frozen berries, banana and greek yoghurt

Balanced diet after yoga
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These are just suggestions. Remember the most important thing here is to experiment and listen to your body. You know your body best and can determine what works for you. One thing is for certain, you must come to yoga prepared, rested, nourished and in the right frame of mind. Yoga is an extremely rewarding practice but at the same time can be challenging.

Finally, after a day of yoga and healthy eating, a little dark chocolate is in order. Dark chocolate is loaded with potassium and some vitamin E, both of which are antioxidant. 

Dark chocolate after yoga
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Okay yogis, now you know what to eat before and after and also when to eat, so get in there and nama-slay!