New to yoga? These yoga FAQs will help answer some of your most pressing questions about yoga and get you off to a great start!
If you’re brand new to yoga, you may have some questions. While you may have heard that yoga is very beneficial for physical health and stress relief, you may be wondering what other benefits yoga has in store for you. You may also be curious about some basics of yoga, what type of yoga to start with, and other practicalities such as eating before yoga and more.
Below, we have listed answers to 5 of the most frequently asked questions that those new to yoga may be wondering about. Once you have reviewed these yoga FAQs, you’ll be ready to get started with your new yoga practice!
1.) What type of yoga should I start with?
There are so many different styles of yoga – how do you know which is right for you?
Hatha yoga is one of the main forms of yoga and many other yoga styles derive from it, so it’s a great place to learn the foundations and names of the poses… You’ll learn how to move and flow with the breath, which will prepare you for other styles of yoga including Vinyasa flow and Ashtanga. These are often more energetic and strong so are good for people looking for a physical challenge. More relaxing forms of yoga include Yin yoga and Restorative.
Take our “What’s Your Yoga Type?” quiz to find out which style of yoga may suit you best!
2.) What are the benefits of yoga?
Practising yoga has loads of physical benefits: it creates a flexible, toned and strong body and improves breathing, energy and metabolism. Yoga improves circulatory and cardiac health, as well as fitness levels, pain and posture. It also has benefits for your mental health, making you happier, more balanced and emotionally calmer. It helps you relax so you can handle stress better. Yoga encourages self-confidence and helps you to focus your energy.
The spiritual benefits of yoga are also key: Yoga teaches you to be aware of what is going on inside and outside of you. Yoga teaches you to be present in your surroundings and open to what is all around – in other words, more mindful.
You will feel some benefits immediately, such as the release of physical tension, the body opening and muscles strengthening – the “feel good” factor that keeps people hooked on yoga. Other benefits depend on how much you practise and every person is different. But most people will feel a positive change after a few weeks, if not before.
3.) How often should I practice yoga?
Even if you practice once a week, you’ll feel the difference. If you can, try to practice two to three times a week but don’t let unrealistic expectations stop you from doing shorter practices. 10 or 20 minutes is better than doing nothing at all. In short, do what you can, when you can. Focus on, and be proud of what you do, rather than focusing on what you think you should be doing.
4.) What is the best time to do yoga?
Basically, it comes down to whenever you can fit yoga in. The morning is a great time to practice; you might wake up stiff, so opening up your body with some energizing yoga sets you up for the day. In the evening, a more relaxing yoga practice can be a nice way to unwind after work. Some of us are early birds while others are night owls, so experiment with finding your own yoga rhythm and what works for your schedule.
5.) Can I eat before yoga?
It’s better to have a more or less empty stomach during a yoga session, so leave at least two hours between a main meal and yoga. Digestion of food requires energy and when you do yoga straight after a meal, your energy goes to the muscles you’re exercising and the body can’t digest the food properly. Personally I might have half a banana or a handful of nuts if I feel I’m too hungry to practice, to give me the fuel I need.
Read here for more info on what to eat before & after yoga.