A decade ago, I didn’t know anyone who did yoga (at least not anyone who talked about it publicly). These days, it seems like everyone is doing it (and judging by the growing number of yoga studios in greater Portland alone, it seems there’s a whole lot of tree posing going on around here). And that’s good.
I finally gave yoga a try a few years ago and – whaddya know – I liked it. I still sometimes need to hold a wall when balancing on one foot, but I’ve seen how quickly my body strengthens and stretches when I stick to it (on those rare occasions I actually stick to it). I’ve also learned that when yoga studios say, “open to all levels,” they mean it. Yoga is wildly adaptive to beginners and those people you see with their bodies contoured in ways you never thought possible (or survivable). So I’m comfortable showing up to a class knowing I’ll probably be able to do most of the poses, sometimes with modifications, and ain’t nobody going to care if I take a break or have a tendency to tip over in Warrior.
But when you’ve never done anything resembling yoga before, showing up that first time can feel daunting. (What if you can’t do it? What if you look dumb? What if you bend in some weird way and find you’re never able to unbend again? How will you drive home?!) It’s cool, studios get it. And some offer classes and workshops just for the beginner, so you can try it out and learn the basics in good company.
Beginner yoga classes and workshops in Maine
Yoga Basics with Joy Sutera, PT
382 Cottage Rd, South Portland | 207-767-1857 | www.willardbeachstudio.com
One-time workshop: 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 9
Class description: “All are welcome, from those looking to start a yoga practice to seasoned yogis looking to ground into the essentials! This workshop will focus on foundational breath and movement techniques on the mat, including gentle warm-ups, a break-down of sun and moon salutes, and restorative poses. Bring any posture inquiries and we will dive into the exploration! The benefits of a regular yoga practice range from physical health to emotional well-being and beyond… come experience it for yourself!”
Absolute beginner workshop
OM Land Yoga, 6 State St., Bangor | 207-249-9180 | www.omlandyoga.com
3-week session: 8:30 to 10 a.m. Saturdays on Jan. 16, 23 and 30
$50 (register by Jan. 15), $60 at the door
Class description: “The Absolute Beginner Workshop with Peter Degraff is for those new to yoga, and meets once each Saturday for 3 weeks. These sessions will provide you with the tools to get started: yoga classes, fundamentals of yoga asana (poses), pranayama (breath work), and answers to your questions on the various forms of yoga or your personal practice.
We understand that each student is unique and comes to yoga with different goals and needs. Whether you are coming to get in better physical condition or simply stop the chaos of your mind, there is a style of yoga that is right for you. At the end of the three-week series, you will have the opportunity to consult with your instructor about your personal goals and choose the next yoga class(es) that will move you toward these goals.”
Basic Flow 101 Beginners Class
Yogave, 170 US Route 1 (Suite 135, Entrance J), Falmouth | www.yogave.com
Regularly-occurring classes: 6 to 7 p.m. Thursdays and 12 to 12:45 p.m. Saturdays
Classes are always by donation at Yogave
Class description: “A simpler vinyasa flow to our all levels class. Still a vigorous workout but with a basic flow. This flow will concentrate more on the alignment of the basic asanas (postures) used in an all levels vinyasa flow with more instruction to precise placement of the body in the poses and through the transitions of the flow. This class is for you if you are brand new to yoga or vinyasa flow and want to move! If you are an experienced yogi this class can deepen your postures and challenge you to create a higher level of prana and awareness while working through your journey.”
Beginner Yoga series with Julia Galbraith
The River Studio, 332 Water St., Hallowell | 207-217-0205 | the-river-studio.com
8-week session: 7 p.m. Mondays from Jan. 4 to Feb. 22
Class description: “In this 8-week series, learn the basic principles of essential yoga postures, breathing techniques and meditation practices. This class is great for beginners, or for anyone wanting to revisit the structure and foundation of their practice. (Requires 6 registered students to run.) Drop-ins also welcome. For more information or to register, please contact Julia at firstname.lastname@example.org or 207-217-0205.”
Beginner’s Yoga Workshop
Yoga on York, 250 York St., York | 207-363-9642 | yogaonyork.com
One-time workshop: 12:30 to 2:30 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 23
Class description: “Are you ready to start your yoga journey or know a friend or relative that is? This workshop is a great way to kick it off! Learn beside other people who are doing the same in this non-competitive, relaxed environment. We will explore: Basic postures, Breathing techniques for stress relief, Modifications for your body. All questions welcome! After completing this workshop, new yogis will receive a one-time special offer of 30 days of yoga for $30. Space is limited.”
(Feature image courtesy Willard Beach Studio)