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Natural Awakenings NYC & Long Island

Yoga is for Everyone

How to Start a Practice

by Dana Costantino

For thousands of years people have been enjoying the physical and mental benefits of yoga. No matter one’s age or fitness level, yoga can help calm the mind and strengthen the body. Yet, with so many styles of yoga and studios to choose from, it can be challenging to know where to begin. Follow the tips below to make it easier to get a regular yoga practice started. 

  • Think about what is wanted out of a yoga practice. Perhaps it’s flexibility, relaxation, healing, a workout or some combination of these elements.

  • Different styles provide a distinct class experience. Some forms of yoga are hatha, vinyasa, hot yoga (Bikram), ashtanga, restorative and yin. Research various styles to find one or more that matches how you hope to benefit yoga.

  • Research studios in the area. Take some time to read teacher bios and get familiar with their backgrounds and style of teaching.

  • Talk to friends and colleagues for recommendations. Many studios offer a free first class, so it is always nice to tag along with someone already practicing at a studio. 

  • Ask the studio about teacher certifications. While certifications for yoga teachers vary and the rules are not as defined as some other modalities and specialties, many yoga teachers in New York have obtained a 200-hour teacher training. Others have trained more with 500-hour or 800-hour certifications. 

  • There are a variety of classes and studios that cater to particular lifestyles, such as vegan or vegetarian, and can help people on that path. For anyone in recovery, safe and confidential classes specifically geared towards the 12-Step program are offered throughout New York and online on a donation basis. Teachers with a Y12SR certification are trained in this type of yoga class. 

  • When trying a new studio or taking a class with a new teacher, be sure to let them know about any existing injuries or health concerns. Many postures can be modified for various needs.

  • Do not be hard on yourself. Yoga is an evolving practice, and we learn more about our body and mind each time we take a class. Simply showing up is a positive step in the right direction.

Regardless of the studio visited or type of yoga class taken, remember to breathe. Step into the studio, release the tension of the day, and inhale and exhale. This is personal time, so let go, lean in, and enjoy it. 

Dana Constantino is wellness director for Natural Awakenings New York and certified to teach yoga, meditation and aromatherapy. Reach her at [email protected]

Where to experience these yoga styles in NYC & Long Island:

Kundalini Yoga

An ancient yoga practice that focuses on breath and asanas (physical postures) along with chanting, meditation and singing.

Hari NYC is a cozy space, online and in person, to study and create. Dedicated to providing holistic endurance training for mind and body, Hari NYC is a space for self-inquiry, creativity and rejuvenation.

140 W. 30th St., NYC (between 6th and 7th Aves.) 


Hatha Yoga

In the U.S., hatha describes a particular type of yoga class that's typically slow-paced with a focus on proper alignment.

Integral Yoga’s goal is to promote peace in the individual and in the world. It promotes yoga for personal and spiritual development. 

227 W. 13th St., NYC (between 7th and 8th Aves.)


Vinyasa Yoga

A dynamic, flowing style with movements coordinated with the breath. Poses flow from one to another without rest in between. 

Stanton Street Yoga is a healing sanctuary and yoga community in the Lower East Side of Manhattan. Placing emphasis on personal growth and empowerment, its classes, workshops and trainings facilitate students waking up to their true self, soul purpose and an inner happiness that isn’t swayed by the external circumstance.

196A Stanton St., NYC 


Hot Yoga (Bikram)

This style features a sequence of set poses that do not change in a sauna-like room—typically set to 105 degrees and 40 percent humidity. 

Hot Yoga Chelsea Bikram-inspired classes are taught in a clean and spacious yoga studio in Midtown Manhattan, near Flatiron District/NOMAD area. Certified Yoga instructors are experienced in guiding practitioners of all experience levels.

115 W. 27th St., NYC



Yoga for 12 Step Recovery. Classes are by donation, and all are welcome. To find an online or in person class in your area, visit

Restorative Yoga

Gentler than many of the other yoga types, restorative yoga typically includes props to help perform poses for long periods of time. Its focus is complete body relaxation. 

The Bhakti Center is a center of authentic learning and a great place to meet new people, make lasting relationships and find inspiration and support on one’s spiritual path.

25 First Ave., NYC


"Yoga is a light which once lit will never dim, the better your practice the brighter your flame"
- B.K.S Iyengar


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