Despite recent claims that yoga causes injury and a slowing of the metabolism (where did all these haters come from anyway?), we here at Zeel love to flow. A basic yoga practice is inherently good for your body and soul, and if you haven't already incorporated regular poses-if not a regular practice-into your personal fitness routine, then consider it now.
For those of you who have never up-dogged, down-dogged, or asana-ed in any other fashion, know that headstands and arm balances aren't a requisite part of the deal. Rather, when establishing your practice, focus on basic movements that offer a gentle introduction to the ancient routine. Ease in to it slowly, and play with different styles.
Here's what our Zeel Experts have to say about the best kinds of yoga for beginners.
Hatha and Restorative Yoga
Brooklyn-based yoga instructor Alexandra Moga says that the slower pace of hatha classes gives students the time to explore proper alignment and breathing, while developing an understanding of the postures. "A restorative class can be good if you are looking for a deeply relaxing experience, as restorative classes generally only explore three to five postures which are supportive and allow you to let go of tension over the course of five to 10 minutes per posture," she says.
Alexandra adds that some studios also have a 'basics' or 'fundamentals' class, which can be useful for newbies too. What to avoid? Power vinyasa and Bikram yoga.
Basic Vinyasa (with a seasoned instructor!)
Also based in Brooklyn, certified core strength vinyasa instructor Brian Williams loves to teach beginners. "I think vinyasa yoga is great for new students, as long as you find an instructor who focuses on alignment and precision in the poses, and can show you how to modify poses as you go," he says. "There are a lot of good level one vinyasa classes out there that teach the basic poses, and incorporate a little flow to keep things lively and interesting."
Brian explains that the main thing to remember is to not push your body too hard. "It is easy to see a posture and think you should look a certain way in it," he says, "and the truth is that people come to yoga with all types of differences: in their flexibility, their strength, and even in their skeletal anatomy. In other words, it's best to work with an instructor who is both willing and able to help you modify your poses, so that you can over time develop at a pace that is ideal for your body.