Yoga For Beginners: Basics You Should Know

Watching well-practiced yogis complete a Sayanasana (Scorpion pose), can be daunting when starting yoga for beginners. But, even the pros began somewhere.

yoga for beginners advice from jim harrington

Yogi Jim Harrington doing what he does best

Jim Harrington, Virgin Active’s Yoga Ambassador, believes that there are core basics everyone should know in order to properly benefit from yoga and enjoy it! Once you understand these, you could be a pro yogi in the future too.

So, here are Jim’s top 7 basics to know before you take that yoga for beginners class:

Start somewhere

For first-timers, stop thinking about it and just do it. Don’t be intimidated by what anyone else can do or a mistaken perception that you have to be really flexible.

Go slow

Don’t dive into an advanced class – start with the basics and let your skills develop organically over time.

Comfort is key

Clothing is really not important when it comes to yoga. You can wear anything as long as you are comfortable.

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Get a grip

Getting a good grip is vital. The ground shouldn’t be too soft as you might end up hurting your wrists. A wooden floor or a good mat will do the trick.


Good breathing is the foundation of yoga. Many people feel that they need to breathe loudly in yoga but that is actually a panic breath – breathe long instead of loud. Healthy, natural and calm breathing involves the use of your diaphragm.

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Time it right

Yoga is good for you no matter the time of day but morning is probably best because the mind and the air are clearer and it sets you up for the day ahead.

Gut feel

Ideally, practise yoga on an empty stomach. Your diaphragm becomes restricted with a full stomach or even with too much water. Yoga can help you lose weight as certain breathing exercises will act as an appetite suppressant.

By Jim Harrington, Virgin Active’s Yoga Ambassador

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