Everyone is talking about yoga. I’m embarrassed to admit, I still don’t really know what it is.
Yoga is so many things! Yoga is stretching, but it is also breathing, balancing, developing strength, relaxing, healing, and learning to focus our minds. The word yoga, means “to join,” or “to harness;” and it refers to the practice of learning to harness our own energy so we may place it in a direction that will serve and benefit us. Yoga has evolved over the years, today it most often looks like a physical modality used for exercise and stress reduction.
I’d like to try yoga, but I’m a bit embarrassed to go to a class, I’m so inflexible. What are my options?
You don’t need to be flexible to try yoga. In fact, that is one of the great benefits of the practice, to become more flexible, so it’s a great place to start. Best is to find an absolutely introductory class that focuses on teaching you safe alignment of the postures. If you still feel shy, USC has a partnership with Glo.com: a yoga and meditation app for you to practice on your own. Glo has over 4000 classes and many introductory programs, simply log in with your USC email for 3 free months and 50% discount. It’s suggested to do at least a few classes with a live instructor just to make sure you’re on track.
There seem to be so many styles of yoga. How do I know which one is right for me?
There ARE so many styles of yoga with varied benefits. Please see our Style Guide for basic descriptions, or email us for specific questions about which type of practice would best support your needs.
When I go to my first class what do I need to bring, anything I should know? Anything I should keep in mind that I may not know about?
Most classes on campus provide yoga mats and sanitary wipes, however, it’s nice to have your own mat and after a few classes you may consider investing in one. When you arrive at the class, take off your shoes and socks, turn off your phone, lay out your mat and head over to the instructor. Let him or her know that you are new to yoga and if you have any injuries, physical limitations, or anything else that they should know about. Instructors at USC are trained to help teach you modifications for any postures that might be too challenging for you. If anything feels too advanced, simply sit on your mat, rest, and wait for the next accessible pose. For your first several classes, move through the sequence very cautiously until you know are familiar with the flow of the class and how it affects your body.
I would really like to try yoga, but none of the classes on campus fit my schedule. I’m just too busy. Any suggestions?
Yes! While we encourage you to take time to keep yourself healthy and practicing with a live instructor is preferred, we also understand how busy you are. We’ve partnered up with Glo.com, a yoga and meditation app that has over 4000 classes of various durations, styles and levels. Try an active Vinyasa Class or a guided Yoga Nidra to help you unwind at night. All you need is your USC email address and you’ll receive 3 months free and a 50% discount at registration.
What should I wear?
Wear comfortable clothes that you can move in. Keep in mind you will be on your back with your legs stretching in the air, as well as hanging upside down quite a bit, so consider wearing a “skin layer.” Yoga is typically done in bare feet with both the shoes and socks off. If that presents a conflict, please see your instructor before class. Please note that yoga classes can get both extremely hot or extremely cold. Please bring layers to accommodate.