It is pretty easy to get started with your yoga study. You’ll need some basic materials, clothes that are comfortable and allow movement and an understanding of the different kinds of yoga that are out there.
Mats, Blocks, Straps, Blankets
While most studios will offer yoga mats and supplies, I recommend owning your own. Part of singing successfully means staying healthy and sharing germs on a community yoga mat won’t help you on that front!. Plus, once you have a mat and some accessories that you own, you can practice at home whenever you want.
Mats can be purchased at your local sporting goods store, places like TJMaxx and Marshalls or ordered online. One affordable online option is Yoga Accessories. There are also other online options like Amazon or Gaiam. For the purposes of showing you examples of what you’ll need, I’m going to link to Yoga Accessories, but I encourage you to shop around to find the right materials and prices for you. A standard yoga mat is 1/8 inch thick, but you can also use a 1/4 inch thick if you want more padding under you. You can also buy eco-friendly mats. New mats can sometimes be slippery, but washing it in a bathtub with a gentle soap helps it to become stickier.
It is likely you will want some props to help with your yoga study. Almost everyone will benefit from having a yoga strap that can facilitate poses that involve hamstring stretches or opening the shoulders. A pair of foam blocks can also help you if you are in need of a lift in a pose where your hands are supposed to touch the ground, but they don’t quite get there, or your knees could use support in a seated pose.
Other props include things like a blanket to give you either a helpful lift in seated poses or rolled up into a bolster for gentle back bends. Honestly, though you could use a good sized towel or a blanket from your bed. If sitting in a chair or directly on the floor for meditation for you doesn’t work, a meditation pillow can make things more comfortable. If you are doing hot yoga you’ll want a towel or use a bath towel!
One final note on props: if you are a singer who travels but wants to keep up your practice, you can purchase a pair of yoga socks with grippers to do yoga in your hotel room because your yoga mat isn’t likely to fit in your travel bag. With a smart phone you can access an app like Mindbody or use YogaFinder.com to find yoga classes.
Dressed for success
I am not a yogi who believes you need to spend $100 on a pair of pants and $80 on a top from a name brand store to do yoga. You will want to dress appropriately, but yoga is not about having a perfect body fit into perfect clothes. Clothes that move with you and cover you appropriately are just fine. You may want to invest in a shirt that is close fitting so when you are in a pose that inverts your body your shirt doesn’t fall over your head. If you are doing hot yoga you aren’t going to want to wear a pair of sweatpants that will make you overheat.
Types of Yoga
If you look around for a yoga class or a DVD you’ll quickly find that there are a lot of different styles of yoga: iyengar, hatha, power, ashtanga, svaroopa, viniyoga, bikram, yin, parayoga, to name just a few. Yoga Journal offers a good article with an overview of the different styles.
To take a class at a yoga studio it would be a good idea to read any descriptions of classes and if no descriptions are available, call to ask some questions. You’ll want to know if the teacher’s background is in a specific style or a blend of styles, if the class is heated, if poses are held for a long time or if you’ll move rapidly from one pose to another. Sometimes teachers indicate levels in their classes and sometimes classes are open to all levels. Don’t exclude a class if it sounds interesting but isn’t labeled for beginners, just use your common sense about your own fitness level and tell the teacher you are new.
For a DVD read the summary and any customer reviews. In the coming year I am planning to start to release some videos both for free and for pay that you can watch to begin and enhance your practice.
Hopefully you are feeling empowered to begin your yoga practice. Please let me know if you have any questions about getting started!