Are you trying to transition from beginner yogi to an advanced yogi? If your answer is yes, the first thing you need to focus on is increasing your yoga practice.
I was going to yoga once a week if that when I realized how much I really loved it. I knew that I needed yoga in my life on a daily basis. But I wanted to avoid getting injured from increasing too quickly. Keep reading to find out how I went from doing yoga once a week to six times a week without getting injured.
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Yoga is challenging. While it would be nice to become an expert yogi in a week, that’s not realistic. You need to start slowly; gain strength, get a good mat, learn what types of yoga best suit you, find an instructor or two that you connect with and then build your practice. Yoga is about the journey. Make sure you are building a strong foundation so that you can have a strong practice.
This post focuses on attending yoga classes. I plan on writing a post on building your home practice in the near future, so make sure you check back!
Step one: collect all the schedules of the yoga classes that are available to you
I have three different venues that I can take classes at in my town; the free yoga type classes at the gym that I belong to, the paid yoga classes at my gym with a certified yoga instructor, and a local yoga studio. I live in a small town, so my options aren’t huge. If you live in a place that has a ton of options, I would choose 3-4 venues to start with. Now, find a way to have all the schedules out in front of you at once; grab flyers, print them out, or bookmark the websites.
Step two: make a schedule of all the classes that you are able to attend
Grab a piece of paper and some markers or pens. My schedule includes classes before and after work during the week and any classes available on the weekends. I color coat the classes on my schedule; free classes at my gym (green), paid classes at my gym (pink), and the $5 drop in classes at my local yoga studio (purple).
Step three: commit to two classes for the next week
Every Sunday I put post-it flags on my schedule to mark the classes I am going to attend the following week. I started with two classes my first week. The last thing I wanted was to injure myself. Trust me, if you aren’t used to doing yoga and even if you are, you will be sore. After each class, I make a note on my schedule (a check if I liked it and an X if it wasn’t my thing.)
Step four: Invest in a good mat
Practicing yoga on a good mat can make a huge difference and is a really important part in avoiding injury. If you have sweaty feet and hands like I do, you will want a mat that is sticky. I used to slide horrible, especially in down dog. I would dread any time that the teacher would lead us into this pose. Now that I have a Jade yoga mat that isn’t a problem anymore. Seriously, my mat is really grippy and I love it. I am constantly recommending it to all my yoga students and friends. If you have trouble with your knees you will want a thicker mat. I don’t have experience with them personally but the Manduka PRO Yoga and Pilates Mat has great reviews for people with knee problems. If you aren’t ready to take the plunge with a nice mat a yoga knee pad might be a good option for you. I know that a good mat can be a little pricey, but if you want to stay injury free it really is a must. Plus they last a lot longer than a cheap mat, so in the long run, you might actually save money.
Step five: increase your practice each week
Every week I increased my yoga. The second week, I took three classes, the third four classes, and so on. Not all of the classes I take are strenuous. I take lots of gentle and restorative classes. Again, this is a time to explore different types of yoga and instructors. If you want to get serious about yoga, I would suggest finding a regular class or two and attending them each week. Listen to your body. If you move up to 4 classes a week and it’s too much, go back to 3 classes a week and stay there for a while. For me, 6 classes a week feels good right now. But, I will move up or down in that number to best fit my needs. (You can see what my practice has looked like over time on my yoga timeline.)
Remember to listen to your body. What works for me may not work for you. But hopefully, by sharing my journey I can inspire your practice. Get a mat that you love and works for your body, find a teacher that can guide you, increase slowly, try different types of yoga, and above all enjoy the journey! If you are a beginner, you might also want to check out “Little Improvements You Can Make as a Beginner Yogi” or hop on over to my most popular posts. Let me know if you have any questions about your yoga practice. You can contact me through my contact page, comment below, or subscribe to my newsletter. I love it when people respond to my newsletter with questions about their yoga practice. I will do my very best to answer your questions!