So, you want to try yoga but don’t know where to begin? The simple answer is, anywhere! I bet your gym has yoga classes, if you google map “yoga” you’ll find at least 5 studios within a few miles of you, or simply google “online yoga classes” and get started right in the comfort of your own home. Yoga is everywhere. That being said, it may be a little overwhelming, and you still may have no idea where to start. Here are some tips for you if you’re nervous or confused by the amount of options out there.
Tip 1: Pick out a couple studios near you and give them a try! Look for ones with lots of class times that fit your schedule, one with a new student special deal (For example, Zen Yoga Garage in Bucktown offers the whole first week free! FREE!) or one with free parking (Yogaview in Lincoln Park has a parking lot that you can park in after 5:30pm and all day on the weekends-there’s also street parking for other class times, and YogaSix Lincoln Park has plenty of free street parking any time of day). Check out Groupon for nearby deals for 10-class passes or super cheap monthly unlimited options. This is how I found YogaSix and I teach there now! Class Pass is also a great option for checking out a bunch of different studios all at once.
Tip 2: Go to as many classes as you can in your free/intro week. This is IMPORTANT because you may not like the first class you go to, the first teacher’s style, the first studio’s vibe. That’s okay! The main thing is to keep trying. Yoga is not one size fits all. It is a different experience every single time you go. Don’t rule out an entire studio because you didn’t like the very first class or teacher you went to. However, if you go there for two weeks straight and maybe only like 1 or 2 classes, then also do not commit to any monthly memberships (duh). If you like a specific teacher, ask them where else they teach or look them up online and follow them there! That’s what I did and how I found some awesome studios in the city, like Nature Yoga in Wicker Park (Check out Wade’s classes there, I almost guarantee you’ll have a blast).
Tip 3: Ask a Yogi. If you have a friend that does a lot of yoga (read: me), ask them for their advice! Tell them what you’re looking for and usually they can recommend studios or teachers that would work well for you. If you’re a typical athlete or runner, some teachers/classes will be good at focusing on those muscles that get tight (i.e, hamstrings and hips). If you’re a brand new beginner and have no clue what even a downward facing dog is, there are often beginner or foundational class options at studios, and there are teachers that are excellent at explaining proper pose alignment in their cues as they flow through class (if you’re into this, check out Sara Strother’s level 1/2 classes at Yogaview). If you’re looking to work up a sweat, some teachers work more vigorous and fast paced flows, whereas other’s will warm you up and then workshop a specific pose (i.e. handstands, deep backbends). If you like workshop style, try Rich’s classes at Yogaview or OhmCulture, an awesome new studio in the West Loop (doesn’t hurt that you can bop right over to Au Cheval afterwards). If you’re looking for some fun flows, awesome playlists, and plenty of upside-down time, or want some online inspiration, check out Cass (@cassyoga) on Instagram, and her classes at ZYG, Moksha Yoga, or Ahimsa Studio in Oak Park.
Tip 4: Try a private lesson. If being in a studio surrounded by “amazing yogis” and looking like a fool scares you (it shouldn’t, by the way), then try out a private first! Private lessons will be at your own pace, at your own level, and work on exactly what YOU want. It can help give you the confidence and tools to go into a studio class prepared to flow (ever have a teacher tell you “Okay warm up do 5 sun salutations on your own” and look around totally clueless? Well after a private lesson you’d be a pro). Privates are also a great way to expand your current knowledge, helping set you up for a home practice. Or if there’s one tricky pose you just can’t seem to get in class, the private attention of a yoga teacher is sometimes all you need to help you break through and rock that headstand in the middle of the room.
Yoga is for everybody and every body. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard people say “Oh I can’t do yoga, I’m not flexible enough.” This is a lie! If you wake up in the morning and are a breathing human, you can do yoga. I encourage you to try it out, and give it more than just one class! Try it for a week, or two, or a month, or however long it takes for you to believe me. Need an encouraging buddy to drag your butt to a class? Give me a call.