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Yoga For Beginners – The Best Way To Learn Yoga

Shanti Yoga Teacher Training - Yoga For Beginners - The Best Way To Learn Yoga

Yoga For Beginners

New to yoga? You want to know how to do yoga for beginners. And you want to know the best way to learn yoga. They say an ounce of practice is worth a pound of theory. So, let’s dive in and get you doing yoga.

What is the best way to learn yoga for beginners? There are many ways. Let’s break it down.

Live Instruction

The most effective format for learning yoga is live instruction. Hands down. No question. For example, attend an in-person class or schedule a private, 1-on-1 lesson.

Here’s a guide to finding a yoga teacher.

Yoga Videos For Beginners

If in-person instruction is not available to you the next best thing is video. Firstly, there are tons of yoga DVDs and other at-home media options. Secondly, you can even find free workouts online. Check out this yoga for beginners video and follow along as best you can. Do not worry about being perfect. Just follow along. And, if you get lost, take a break. Breathe. Don’t stress out. And don’t beat yourself up. Just keep at it and with time you’ll eventually get more comfortable. Finally, it’s better to do something – anything – than nothing.

Yoga Books For Beginners

If you prefer self-guided learning – and video is not for you – try one of these books:

Light on Yoga by B.K.S. Iyengar

Iyengar was a disciple of Krishnamacharya, considered the father of modern yoga. You’ll be blown away by the poses he demonstrates, the detail he provides, and the love he put in. What makes Iyengar great is his focus on adapting yoga poses to every body. Perfect for the beginner, especially Westerners.

The Heart of Yoga, Developing a Personal Practice by T.K.V. Desikachar

Another classic. Desikachar is the son of Krishnamacharya. The son’s wisdom as learned from his father shines through. This book is deeper than just the poses as it includes pranayama, philosophy, and a translation of the Yoga Sutras – ancient yogic texts. 

Online Articles, or Pictures

Check out these great sources for learning yoga online:

And here is an article with yoga poses we recommend, including instructions for getting into the poses.

Online Challenges

There are many yogis who offer online challenges. And, they’re often geared towards beginners. In addition, often they send a daily reminder email with instructions for that days’ challenge. Choose this option if you are trying to create a new yoga habit or routine. The daily reminder will reinforce your commitment. 

Online Courses

Online courses for yoga beginners are comprehensive and often costly. However, there are tons of free resources. So, you don’t need to pay if you can teach yourself. However, these are a good option if you’re looking for something more robust. And, an online course might be better for people who need a little more encouragement. For example, some programs even offer a way of keeping tabs to make sure you’re progressing. So, if you know you need that extra nudge, try my online course.

Yoga Teacher Training

Yoga teacher trainings are not typically for beginners. However, if you’re seriously committed to living a yogic lifestyle – and have the time and money – a yoga teacher training is a great way to learn yoga. In addition, teacher trainings are not just for those who want to teach yoga. They are set programs designed to teach you how to live a yogic life. So, be sure to double check with the specific retreat that beginners are welcome.

Yoga Teacher Training – Schedule

Firstly, be aware that yoga teacher trainings are intense. Often you’re practicing yoga asanas (postures, the physical aspect of yoga) for 3 or more hours per day, every day. Few programs run for 3 weeks, most for 4 or more. These tend to give one day off per week, but not always. You will be busy from sunrise to sunset with little free time.

Further, if you can’t commit to that but still want a more immersive experience there are trainings that run on weekends only. Often these type of trainings conclude with a week-long offsite.

Yoga Teacher Training – Experience

Yoga trainings are meant to be immersive. And, it’s not a vacation. As such, you may be asked to change just about everything: What you eat, drink, what you say, how you react to thoughts, how you breath, if you’re allowed to kill mosquitos, to smoke, etc. And, you can’t take anything for granted. Further, you will have to be prepared to humble yourself and surrender to the will of your instructors. It’s all part of the process.

There are many types of teacher trainings. Click here for an article on how to find the right training for you. You can also search for great trainings on


If you think yoga teacher trainings sound intense, ashrams are on another level. Ashrams are not typically for beginners but it’s still an option. Ashrams are similar to yoga teacher trainings with one big difference: zero luxury. Not all teacher trainings are luxurious but most provide good accommodations, comfort, and tasty food. However, ashrams provide the most basic accommodations, little if any comfort, and nutritious – but not always tasty – food. And, by “little if any comfort” I mean your mattress might be as thin as a deck of cards and you won’t be able to sit in a chair – ever. Of course, there are exceptions. But, in general, ashrams provide the bare minimum. You go to an ashram not to just work on your body but on your soul and mind as well. However, on the plus side, costs are very low, and they are even sometimes donation-based.

There’s no one perfect ashram for everybody. So, if you want to join an ashram but aren’t sure which one you’ll need to research options, compare, and make the right choice for you.


Whereas teacher trainings and ashrams provide varying levels of comfort – retreats are often very luxurious. And, they’re often seen as vacations rather than trainings. The tradeoff, then, is cost – as retreats are often more expensive than teacher trainings or ashrams.

There are some yoga retreats that specialize in teaching beginners. You can search for them on

So what’s the best way to learn yoga for beginners?

We are all individuals. We have different needs, preferences, experiences, injuries, and circumstances. There is no one best way to learn yoga for beginners. There is, however, a best way for you. The important thing is to try. Pick a way. Any way. Just get started. Test. Experiment. Change it up. Try something else. Eventually you’ll find what works best for you.

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