Yoga: A Beginner's Guide

Updated: Aug 31

I'm getting a lot of questions recently asking what is needed to do beginners' yoga at Warrior Yoga. This blog post will hopefully serve as an easy reference for those having never done yoga to help begin their journey.

Yoga props are here to increase flexibility, stabilize joints, and create space where needed. Warrior yoga has mats, blocks, and straps for customers' use. I may be speaking a foreign language if you have never done yoga before, so I'm going to break this down just a little further. There are also a few etiquette items to review. You are welcome to bring your own mat, if you have one, and a refillable bottle, as we have a water cooler for the use of our customers. So let's begin.


Shoes: We ask that you refrain from wearing shoes once in the studio as yoga is practiced in bare feet.

  • Doing yoga barefoot helps to strengthen and stretch the feet while also eliminating any pain that may be present.

  • Being barefoot also helps us feel grounded and bring awareness to a part of ourselves that is often overlooked.

  • Removing our shoes helps keep our floors as clean as possible for the respect of others.

  • Yes, you may wear your shoes into the bathroom.

  • We have a dedicated space next to the front door where shoes can be removed and stored.

  • We have chairs available if you need them for putting on and removing shoes and socks.

  • If you don't like the idea of going barefoot, you are welcome to wear your socks, though you might find that your feet are more likely to slip on the mat.

The Mat: The yoga mat is meant to be a cushion between you and the floor.

  • Mats come in all sizes and thicknesses.

  • If you have delicate joints, you might prefer a thicker mat. Be cautious though as a thick mat may make balancing in some standing poses more difficult.

  • The mats at Warrior Yoga are an in-between thickness and are just firm enough to not feel the floor beneath you.

Blocks: Yoga blocks are one of the most commonly used props to make ásanas (poses) more accessible.

  • Blocks assist a student's range of motion reducing the distance between you and the floor. E.g. you might place your forehead on one while bending over (forward fold).

  • Helps establish proper alignment.

  • Helps when lack of flexibility is an issue.

  • Helps those who are experiencing an injury, issues from previous injury, and other physical limitations, so you may still stretch without pushing your body too far.

  • Increases range of motion.

  • Brings awareness to support and engage certain muscle groups.

  • Can be placed at the low, medium, and high positions to accommodate more or less support.

Yoga Straps: Straps (a cloth band) are mainly used for stretching so that users achieve wide range of motion.

  • Yoga Straps are extremely useful tools for increasing flexibility.

  • Assist finding length in a difficult yoga pose.

Clothing General: The first rule of clothing in yoga is that it must be comfortable. When you’re choosing your yoga outfit it needs to be:

  • Non-restrictive, so you can stretch easily.

  • Supportive, holding all those body parts in place.

  • Made from breathable fabric so you don’t get too hot (unless you are attending a hot or warm class).

  • Able to stay put in various poses and movements.

Women: (yes, I'm a man writing about what women should wear. This section specifically has been checked by a woman whom I trust and that regularly participates in a yoga class).

Tops:

  • You will most likely need a sports bra that is comfortable, supportive, and that has decent coverage.

  • You may be spending some time on the floor both on your back and on your stomach so try to wear one without clasps. (This same rule frequently applies to pony tails, too.)

  • It is highly likely you're top will flop or fall multiple directions depending on poses. With this knowledge, you may choose a top that is fitted and long enough to fully cover your torso when you stretch.

Bottoms:

  • The leggings you already have may be good enough for a yoga class. Have a friend you trust to help you check that the leggings stay opaque when you do a forward bend.

  • Make sure these leggings stay in place as you move. You don't want to have to worry about tugging on them throughout the class.

What not to wear:

  • Avoid short shorts

  • Transparent leggings

  • Loose tops which can flop over your head when you’re inverted.

  • Restrictive clothing

Men: Here I have first-hand knowledge vs. what women should wear. Your typical athletic clothing will work, but it may not be the best.

Tops:

  • Just about any t-shirt or tank top should work okay.

  • The shirt must allow you to easily lift your arms up without restricting your movement and without lifting too far up around your stomach (if that bothers you). Many men (and women) are wearing more crop tops these days.

  • Be sure the shirt you choose is fitted enough that it doesn't fall over your head in a forward fold (or downward facing dog).

  • I prefer a 100% lightweight cotton over synthetic materials or heavy weight tees, but that's a personal choice.

Bottoms: When it comes to bottoms guys have a choice between athletic shorts, 3/4 pants, and full-length pants. Most guys have a preference one way or another, and it really comes down to overall comfort and choice.

  • Regular athletic shorts will do just fine as long as they have a good amount of stretch. Some have very wide legs, and the fabric can get tucked under your legs seated positions, which could restrict movement. I only wear these during a warm/hot class due to amount of sweating.

  • 3/4 pants (capris) in a jogger style are becoming popular. They are fitted enough to not need adjusting, but you feel fully covered. I prefer these over athletic shorts.

  • Long pants or joggers are also a good choice. Again, you might opt for something a little more fitted just for ease of moment. I also prefer these over athletic shorts.

  • Tights/Leggings are another option for men, however not as popular due to snugness.

What not to wear:

  • clothes that are too loose

  • short shorts

  • restrictive clothing

Studio etiquette:

If you've spent any time at all in a fitness center, your first time in a yoga studio might be shocking. They are typically very open with little equipment. They tend to be more peaceful noise-free zones.

  • Leave all personal items with your shoes at the door.

  • Silence your cell phone.

  • Arrive 5-10 minutes before the scheduled class time. If you have never been to the studio before you may need to fill-out a waiver, which will take several extra minutes.

  • Let the instructor know of any injuries or limitations you may have.

  • Be conscious of personal space.

  • Don't try to impress anyone, yoga is not a competitive sport. Be your own tree.

  • The yoga studio is a safe zone for many. Refrain from unnecessary talking, grunts, and moans during the practice as this could make someone feel unsafe or distracted.

  • Honor you own limits and abilities. NEVER attend a class that may be beyond your skill level, so you don't injure yourself. Ask for modifications if needed. Be your own tree (more on this coming in a future blog post).

  • Don't skip Savasana (final resting pose).


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