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Beginners Yoga

Posted by Gina M.

I am not flexible at all! I would consider myself anti-flexible. I also have no clue about the different kinds of yoga. Where should I start? Is there a better type of yoga than others for a beginner? How often should I go during the week? Thanks!
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I would seek out a beginners class or a gentle yoga class. As for type of yoga, that is really your preferance. As you try out different styles and teachers, you will find something that seems appropriate to you. The same with finguring out how often to go. At first, you may only go here and there, or maybe you throw yourself headlong into a daily practice. In my experience, each student begins in his or her own way according to their availability, ability and preferance. But as a guidline, so you know what you're looking at when choosing a class:

vinyasa and ashtanga are flow-based, moving yoga classes. They vary in intensity, but focus on connecting movement to the breath.

Iyengar and Yin yoga, are more static in nature. Poses are held longer and refined. There may or may not be vinyasa included. Yin tends to be a bit gentler, and Iyengar will vary with the teacher, of course, but is highly interested in alignment and body awareness within the pose.

Anusara, an offshoot of Iyengar yoga, is alignment based, but will vary with the teacher and tends to involve more varied elements than Iyengar. Expect a "heart centered" approach and lots of backbends.

Other classes are less describable and will be influenced by the individual teacher. Any class labeled Hatha will fall under this category.

Restorative Yoga is calming and resting. Not focused on building flexibility per se, but rather evoking calm.

Good luck!

One thing I forgot: Hot yoga or Bikram yoga is exactly that! a Series of 26 poses done in a (very) heated room.
I have been doing Ashtanga off and on for over fifteen years and I recently attended a Bikram class and I was very impressed by the immediate effects it had in my alignment and flexibility. I live in Norman Oklahoma and I am interested in finding a studio close to my home. Any suggestions? My name is Rick Dane and my email is INFCABUFFALO@gmail .com. I would appreciate any info. Thanx

Rick, to find local yoga studios and classes near your area, you can search on the Local Resources page or Classes & Events. Here are the local studios in your area.


Hi Gina,

Candice provided some good advice, and I'll just add to that - since you are over 40 and not flexible (yet), definitely shoot for classes that are more gentle in nature. A vinyasa flow class would probably be too challenging - or in the least, it would focus too much on strength and not enough on building the flexibility you need. However, since you are in Oklahoma I'm presuminng (can't say for sure) that most of the classes near you won't be as challenging as they are where I am (Los Angeles). Iyengar would be good for you. Anusara is probably too much to start with - they don't just focus on backbends, but arm balancing poses. As in, handstands. Fun fun!

Focus on building flexibility first...the strength will build naturally as you get better at the poses and can hold them longer. But to build strength before flexibility won't help your flexibility at all. In fact, it could make it worse.

I also agree that bikrams is a good place to start. It can feel very intense at first, but with the heat and some dedication, you will find yourself progressing very quickly.
Hatha Yoga is usually the recommended beginners. It's slower paced. I'm not sure where you are located but as far as I can tell most places offer free first classes or have 1-2wk special rates at larger studios. This way you can find out what yoga and yoga instructors suit your personality.
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