A Beginner’s Guide to Start Yoga: Upward-Facing What?

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What  really happens in a yoga class? What if I’m not flexible? Will I be forced into a human pretzel? Pictures drown health-based websites telling us what yoga should look like. Drop the ”should” and let’s start talking. No matter the reasons leading you to yoga in the first place, this beginner’s checklist will remain the same. Luckily, we’re here to help guide you through the process.

Choosing a Type

There are dozens of types and yes, some even seem absurd! F or starters, take a moment and list your reasons for trying yoga in the first place. Are you looking to build strength and flexibility? Do you have injuries and need a more therapeutic practice? Maybe you want something with a more “spiritual” focus? These are just a few examples of questions to ask yourself in order to find your individual fit. What may be right for you one day, may not be the next. We encourage experimenting with a few different styles before sticking to one. Have fun, keep an open mind and most importantly, listen to your body.

Choosing a Time, Place and Teacher

Cairo is growing where yoga is concerned, and that is a wonderful thing. It can also make it difficult to choose when a variety of studios, classes and teachers exist! Luckily, with the exception of a few neighborhoods, you should find at least one studio or gym in yours. We recommend choosing something close to either home or work. Do your research and ask around. Yoga Trail and 3ash App are two resources to check out yoga in Cairo. Most places have a Facebook page, too.

Apparel

Oh yes, the endless array of beautiful athletic clothing we see on Instagram that looks both sexy and comfortable. Truth be told, the sexy factor just doesn’t matter on the mat. Instead of spending a silly amount of hard-earned cash on something you’re buying to sweat in, stick with the basics. The only requirements are that your clothing choices don’t require a lot of adjusting and are easy to move in. My personal preference is that go-to pair of cotton leggings and softest t-shirt ever that you dream of wearing the minute you get home from work.

Supplies

The most important prop you’ll ever need is the mat. Most, if not all, studios provide mats to use. If you’re looking to buy your own, find something durable, with a good grip, that’s easy to carry. Some individuals prefer towels or rugs even, but to each their own. See what suits you best and what is feasible for your budget. Along with the influx of yoga styles today, other props have been invented to help with each individual’s unique abilities and restrictions. These props can come to the rescue when you’re just not ready for that deep backbend or intense forward fold. They come in the form of blocks, cushions, adjustable straps and blankets. Once again, most studios should have these on hand, but if you prefer using your own then check out your closest sports retailer.

This concludes our beginner’s checklist to getting started with yoga! Watch for our next feature giving you a breakdown of different styles of yoga to try.

After completing her B.A. at the American University in Cairo, Hannah settled into the city and has now been a resident for around 9 years. She has worked in the fields of writing and education and is now pursuing another passion, which is yoga. Her other areas of interest include drawing, cooking, alternative forms of health and healing and, last but not least, spending as much time as possible with mother nature. Hannah teaches Ashtanga and Yin/Restorative yoga privately with SoHum Yoga Cairo, and at Tula yoga studio in Mohandeseen.

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