There's a lot of buzz in the air regarding the health benefits of doing yoga. A number of sources, both anecdotal and peer reviewed, discuss the increases in circulation, strength, balance, and peace of mind, as well as the help it can provide in losing weight. However, it can be daunting to try and begin a practice without the proper guidance.
Before signing up for a year membership at your local studio, do some research on the Internet about different poses and styles of yoga. The two main schools of yoga are ashtanga and hatha yoga. Ashtanga is a more fast paced, flow yoga. Hatha is a slower yoga that goes deep into each pose. However, there are many other variations, such as Bikram, which is done in an almost sauna-like room. It's good to get an idea of what the studios in your area offer before committing to any one style.
You may also want to try out a few poses before attending your first class. A cheap yoga mat can be bought at many stores, but even just a carpeted area or rug will suffice. Many poses are not nearly as complicated as they first seem, but reading articles about specific poses can deepen your understanding. Even after taking some classes, continuing to research the best ways to enter poses and the parts of the body each pose is designed for will allow you to get the most out of your practice.
When you're ready to start taking classes, proper attire is a must. You want lose but form-fitting clothing that is flexible but not baggy. Tight clothing will restrict your flexibility but too-loose clothing can get in the way while stretching. There are special clothes designed just for yoga, just as bamboo yoga pants or bamboo yoga shorts, but a good pair of bamboo sweatpants and a well-fit t-shirt do just fine. Most people prefer to do yoga with bare feet, but yoga socks can also be found that expose the heel and toes for grip while still warming the rest of your foot.
Don't get bogged down by one class that doesn't fit you. There are many trainers out there with a wide array of approaches to teaching class, so experimenting with different class styles can help you hone your personal favorite. Even if you think a class instructor is okay, consider still trying many different ones just in case there's something more appropriate for you available. Even the same studio can offer classes by drastically different teachers.
Once you find the type of yoga and class that fits you, stick with it. Building a solid routine will help you see much more of the benefits than practicing only sporadically. Daily yoga is best, even if you just go the studio a few times a week and practice at home otherwise. If time allows, doing 10-20 minutes before every meal is an excellent way to get used to yoga a little bit at a time.