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Choosing the Right Yoga Class Can Make or Break a Beginner's Practice. Here Are the 4 Types We Recommend

Plus, tips on how to select your first yoga class.

By Team PelotonUpdated April 25, 2024


New to yoga and not sure where to start? Before you can pop into Crow Pose (Kakasana) with ease or nail a Handstand (Adho Mukha Vrksasana), you have to learn the yoga basics, from asana to zen.

Although most yoga classes welcome practitioners of all abilities and experience levels, certain ones are more beginner-friendly than others. The key is knowing how to modify common poses and use props that allow you to feel more confident on the mat. Here, we break down everything beginners need to know ahead of selecting their first yoga class so they can calm any nerves and focus on their flow.

What Is the Best Yoga Class for Beginners?

You can modify most flows to meet you where you are, but some types of yoga are particularly well-suited for beginners. Here are the four best ones to try as you get started.

Slow Flow Yoga

Slow flow yoga is often listed as the best option for beginners, and for good reason: It moves at a manageable, deliberate pace, giving you plenty of time to sink into deeper poses. Your heart rate stays nice and low, and the instructor offers plenty of cues to help you tune into your positioning and muscles. That way, you’re able to get the most out of each asana, or pose, physically and mentally.

Hatha Yoga

A hatha yoga class is focused on balance, which practitioners use to transition from one pose to a counterbalancing pose immediately after. The slow-paced practice has you hold poses for several breaths at a time, emphasizing balance and breathwork as you maintain a steady, strong foundation. Between each pose, you’ll return to the top of your mat rather than flowing nonstop, giving beginners time to reset.

Restorative Yoga

Restorative yoga is the most gentle form of yoga, and it features poses you probably haven't seen in other classes. That’s because it incorporates props—such as bolsters, pillows, blankets, and straps—to achieve peak relaxation. You hold poses for up to 15 minutes (yes, really) to allow you to fully bliss out and remain on the ground for the duration of class. Expect to finish feeling supported and well-rested. If you happen to take a little catnap during class, that’s OK. In fact, restorative yoga can be a great addition to your bedtime routine.

Yin Yoga

Yin Yoga is slow-paced and uses props to deepen your stretches (think: a strap in a Seated Forward Fold, known as Pashchimottanasana in Sanskrit, and blocks during Pigeon Pose, or Kapotasana in Sanskrit). You hold each posture for around five minutes, which might feel unusual at first. However, your instructor will help you breathe through any temporary discomfort.

What to Look for in a Beginner Yoga Class

When it comes to choosing a yoga class, beginners can get a fairly good idea of what to expect based on the style alone, but there are other details to check for as well. Here’s how to decode class descriptions and labels to find the best beginner yoga class for you.

Class Level

First things first, look for classes labeled as “intro," “beginner,” or "for all levels." (The Peloton App offers a lot of options.) On the other hand, if a class title is labeled as "intermediate” or “advanced" or a description mentions inversions or tricky balances, you might consider shelving it for later in your practice.

Yoga Props

Yoga props can prove useful at all levels, but in general, beginner classes incorporate them more frequently than advanced classes. After all, they can make many postures more accessible. Take Standing Forward Fold Pose (Uttanasana), for example. Setting a pair of yoga blocks on the ground helps you get deeper into the posture if you don’t have much hamstring flexibility. 

Look for class descriptions that mention blocks, bolsters, straps, or pillows. If they do, they’re likely beginner-friendly and offer modifications. Remember: Using props isn’t a sign of weakness. Rather, it’s a way of respecting your body’s current abilities.


Before you commit to a class, check its duration. A long class (say, 60 to 90 minutes) may overwhelm you if you’re new to your practice. It may also require too much endurance for true yoga beginners. Short classes are typically a safer bet, as they give you a taste of the instructor’s style and the class' overall feel. The goal is to leave feeling pleasantly challenged but not drained—that way, you’ll be ready to come back ASAP.


Connecting with an instructor can be a huge motivator in the beginning of your yoga journey. Try classes led by a variety of instructors to see who you click with, and over time, you’ll notice which ones make a special point of welcoming beginners. Some may be particularly skilled at offering modifications, whereas others may be excellent at breaking down poses. The best yoga instructors for beginners make you feel welcome, confident, and deserving of your space on the mat.

How Often Should Beginners Do Yoga?

If you’re just starting your yoga practice, you may be tempted to dive right in, but how often should you really do yoga? Spoiler: It depends. Here’s what to know.

Finding Your Ideal Yoga Frequency

While there’s no “exact” right amount for beginners to do yoga, it’s important to commit to a regular practice if you want to improve. Peloton instructor Ross Rayburn recommends rolling out your mat as much as you want. Our advice? Start by taking a yoga class for beginners at least once a week and adapt your schedule from there.

Balancing Your Yoga Practice

No, we’re not talking about holding Tree Pose, a one-legged posture known as Vrikshasana in Sanskrit. We’re referring to building a yoga practice that aligns with your current schedule, lifestyle, and fitness goals. This way, you can enjoy a balanced exercise routine that’s full of variety, boosting your motivation levels and overall health. Plus, cross training (aka engaging in a variety of workout types instead of only doing one form of exercise) helps prevent overuse injuries.

You can also mix up the types of yoga you practice. “If you’re someone who doesn’t like to go slow, probably best to do at least one slow flow every few weeks, to force some balance into your routine,” Ross says. “If slow flow is your jam, enjoy it as much as you like, but don’t forget about the regular flow classes and the power classes since they provide other important elements to your full fitness regimen.”

Listening to Your Body and Adjusting Accordingly

As you gain confidence and experience on the mat, remember to regularly check in with yourself to evaluate how your practice feels for your body and mind. Reflect on the progress you’ve made so far in your beginner yoga classes. Asanas that felt difficult to you during your first class probably feel much more accessible to you months later. Ask yourself whether you’re enjoying your current beginner status or you’d like to challenge yourself a bit more (more on that below).

You might also experience muscle soreness, tightness, and other new sensations from moving your body in new ways. Remember: Certain asanas are challenging and uncomfortable, but they should never be painful. If you’re experiencing pain in your beginner yoga classes, pull back and take a gentler modification.

Advancing from Your Beginner Yoga Classes

How do you know when it’s time to advance your practice beyond yoga for beginners? Well, it’s different for everyone. Maybe you feel stronger and more balanced on the mat but slightly bored by your beginner classes. Or perhaps you look forward to your classes, but they don't quite challenge you the way they used to.

When to Move from Beginner to Intermediate Yoga Classes

It’s completely OK to stick with beginner yoga classes for as long as you want, however you may find yourself craving progression. Here are a few signs it’s time to explore intermediate yoga classes.

  • You’re curious about the more technical aspects of yoga, such as the biomechanics of certain positions or the history of certain flows

  • Your mind wanders during beginner yoga classes because you’re able to nail each asana with minimal effort or concentration

  • You feel uninspired (or even bored) when it’s time for your usual class

  • You want to try different poses and tricky variations, but you’re not sure how to start

  • Your muscles no longer feel challenged while holding asanas that used to feel difficult

If any of these scenarios resonate with you, it may be time to dabble in intermediate yoga classes for a deeper challenge.

Maintain a Mindset of Lifelong Learning

Your yoga practice isn’t always a linear progression. You may jump between class difficulties based on how you're feeling on a specific day. Who knows? Maybe you'll eventually use beginner yoga classes as recovery following more technical flows. 

The good news is that yoga comes with a mindset of lifelong learning. Even once you’ve mastered the basics, there’s always more opportunities for exploration, from trying variations to experimenting with different yoga styles. After all, your yoga journey is just beginning.


Featured Peloton Instructor

Headshot of Ross Rayburn, Peloton Instructor

Ross Rayburn

A scholar of physical healing, Ross has traveled to more than 30 countries to teach yoga and loves connecting people with diverse backgrounds through their practice.


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