I was so surprised and pleased by the amount of response I got to my first post about discovering yoga. I'm still happily yoga-ing away, as you can tell if you follow my Instagram account. I've found the yoga community to be so incredibly welcoming and encouraging, particularly to beginners like myself.
Several of you mentioned that you had thought about trying yoga but were intimidated or afraid to go to a class. Others have said they just don't know where to start. And while I'm certainly not an expert by any means, I thought it would be nice to put together a little link collection of places to go to check it out for people who are as new to it as I am.
The main thing I want to say is that it won't be for everyone and that's ok. I think the most significant thing I've gotten out of my yoga experience so far has been the realization that I needed to find what fit for me. That said, I'd encourage you to keep looking. I had lots of reasons not to try anything (I'm overweight, I'm clumsy, I'm not athletic, I'm taking medications that cause weight gain, I have motivation issues, etc, etc, etc). But I'm so glad that I took the very small risk in the great scheme of things and made my health a priority. I'm reaping the rewards every day.
Ok, so, where to start? My first suggestion is YouTube. It's a great place to get beginner-oriented information without the commitment of any money. Another benefit is that you can do it in the privacy of your own home, without anyone watching. No social or financial risks necessary.
I recommend starting with Yoga with Adriene. She has some great videos that include everything from short practices for complete beginners to a Foundations of Yoga playlist that includes detailed tutorials of all the basic poses. And her Bedtime Yoga video is an absolute dream. Absolutely anyone can do it and it feels amazing.
Some others I love are:
Yoga by Candace. If you're as new to yoga as I am, I recommend starting with her Gentle Yoga playlist. She posts a really good mix of pose-specific tutorials and full-length practices. I also love reading her blog.
Eckhart Yoga. This may sound silly, but there's just something about their voices that I find so completely soothing I can barely stand it. Most of these videos are shorter, which is great when you're just getting started or don't have time for a full length workout.
Cosmic Kids Yoga. If you've got kids, this is a must-watch. I want a kid for no other reason than to do these yoga videos with him/her. Each video uses yoga poses to tell a story and you get to pretend you're going on an adventure as you complete each sequence. It's super adorable.
If you've spent some time on YouTube or you've tried it out and think you're ready for more of a commitment, YogaGlo is where it's at. It costs $18 a month and it works like Netflix. You have access to hundreds of videos from teachers at various levels and with focuses ranging from runners and cyclists to complete beginners. It includes all the major styles and expressions of yoga and, my favorite, has a huge collection of Yin/Restorative (read: feel good) videos.
If you're ready to commit to something more social, I will always recommend checking out your local YMCA. I love that I'm supporting my community and feel like I'm giving back through my membership. It's also been less intimidating for me than going to a studio - I felt comfortable in a class populated with other absolute beginners and senior citizens. You also get to make use of all the other gym features, which has been nice for me. I get to keep swimming and have access to gym equipment as well. Plus, your membership can be used at any Y, which means I can still use my membership when I'm travelling.
That said, the options at the Y are certainly much more limited than they would be at a studio. If you're going to be devoted, or you want classes every day, or you're looking for a specific style then a studio would probably be the way to go.
I think I'll keep posting about my yoga journey here occasionally and I'd love to answer any questions you have about getting started or being a yoga newbie!