07/21/2016 12:09 EDT | Updated 07/21/2016 12:59 EDT

Yoga Tips Every Beginner Needs To Know

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Women practicing yoga during class in studio in reverse warrior pose

Yoga is one of the best fitness activities people can do to stay in shape. Most people know about its benefits for flexibility, but yoga is so much more. It can build strength and sharpen the mind. It helps boost the immune system and lower stress. It even helps fight depression. There is so much yoga does for practitioners. If you are a beginner looking to see what yoga has to offer, follow these tips to get started right away.

Don't Be Afraid

Many beginners get scared off by yoga before they even enter a studio. The unfamiliar terminology and super fit people they see coming out of yoga classes often intimidate neophytes. This is a shame because the truth is that yoga is one of the most welcoming activities imaginable. Instructors and fellow students will go out of their way to help welcome you and make you feel comfortable.

Try a Class

You don't need to head out and buy a bunch of yoga pants and a mat before you even take your first class. In fact, you should avoid doing this. Instead, you should take some introductory classes before you decide whether you want to keep doing yoga. Nearly every yoga studio offers discounted or even free introductory classes. Take advantage of these to sample different flavors of yoga around your town. You don't even have to bring your own mat as the studios provide them for beginners.

Select a Style

When you are taking introductory classes, make sure to try as many different types of yoga as you can find. The many different types of yoga all spring from the same basic source, which is hatha yoga. However, the variations among them can be extreme., an online yoga teaching site, nicely explains the several different types of yoga that are being taught today.

A Word About Savasana

Savasana is almost always the last pose of a yoga class. The translation into English for savasana is "corpse pose." For the final five minutes of an hour-long class, the entire class will be engaged in quiet meditation while in savasana. Do not be the person who gets out of this pose to leave class early. You will make yourself look like a total newbie if you disregard this rule. Savasana is a crucial part of yoga practice, and it is disrespectful to other students to disturb them by packing up during this time.

Get Your Mat

Once you have sampled some classes and decided on a yoga style and studio, you will be ready to get the equipment. The one piece of essential equipment that you need is a yoga mat. Mats can vary widely depending on the yoga practice and the practitioner. Some people like thicker mats for the cushioning they provide, while others want to feel the solidity of the studio floor beneath them. It is best to talk with your yoga instructor and do some online research to find the right mat for your yoga practice. POPSUGAR Fitness has a nice guide for first-time yoga mat buyers.

Wear the Right Clothing

While you can do yoga in any type of non-restrictive clothing, most yoga practitioners want to eventually get the clothing they see everyone else wearing. Not only does this yoga workout gear make you look good, it also is practically designed to be as unrestrictive as possible and to stay out of your way while you get into difficult poses. Quality yoga clothing from respected manufacturers like Alo Yoga, Soybu and Lily Lotus will last longer and feel more comfortable than bargain brands.

Practice at Home

While it is best to learn how to perform yoga poses with an instructor, you can certainly practice at home once you get the basics down. In fact, most people find that they are able to more conveniently fit yoga practice into their lives when they have a space at home to practice in. Set aside a corner of your home where you can practice yoga undisturbed. If you don't want to do it alone, there are loads of great online yoga instructors you can use to simulate being in a class. One of the best is Adriene Mishler, whose free YouTube videos and inspiring email newsletter are wonderful resources for beginners.

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