So, you are interested in taking up yoga, or you have taken the big step to become a yogi. First and foremost, congrats! You are moving one step closer to taking care of your body, mind and soul in the gentlest way possible.
Starting out with yoga can be overwhelming. Just like learning to surf, it requires patience, letting go of self-judgement, and gratitude. Learning to practice and understand yoga is not only healthy for you, but teaches you many fundamental life lessons that are often forgotten in our day-to-day routine. At first, it can be hard to navigate your first yoga class, but by incorporating these easy tips into your practice will ease your transition from a beginner into a confident yogi!
Based on popular belief, you do not need to be a walking, talking, rubber band to practice yoga! Inherent flexibility will not give you any advantage. In fact, many times, it is much more difficult for a flexible body to learn how to integrate all the appropriate muscles within a posture than it is for someone who is stiff to find more space. Flexibility, limber muscles and mobility are just some of many goals and results of a regular physical yoga practice, but everyone’s body is different. There will always be certain postures that some people can do easily and others take time to develop, regardless of however you define “flexibility.”
Let Go of Self-Judgment
Yoga requires the concentration of many moving parts. If you fall from a posture, forget to breathe, physically cannot perform the posture….no worries! Just do your best! The beautiful part of beginning yoga is the vulnerability that comes with it. Don’t worry about judgment.. no one is looking at you, comparing them selves to you, or concentrating on you! Concentrate on the most important person in the room – you!
Pay Attention to Your Body
It is very important to pay attention to what your body is telling you. You must become aware of each and every muscle and joint in your body. There are many sensations in each movement throughout your yoga practice, therefore, it is important to not push yourself to a point of pain, frustration or discomfort. Listen to your teacher, and always check in on your body, and take time to turn your attention inward to just yourself.
Everyone Mixes up Right and Left
No worries! There are just some days that you, your neighbor or your teacher cannot seem to delineate left from right. Just be sure to visit both sides for asymmetrical poses to keep your body in balance.
Don’t Force Yourself into a Pose
This goes along with Tip # 3. I know, it’s so easy to look around the studio and see someone else in a totally fabulous Eagle pose or sitting serenely in Lotus pose with both feet tucked up nicely. You start to think, my body should be able to do that! And then you try to force your poor arms and legs into a pose that they’re just not ready for.
Working your way into some of those advanced poses takes months or years or practice. So, take your time. Enjoy your practice. Let yourself feel good in every pose, no matter where you are. Forcing yourself into a pose is a prescription for injury.
Dedicate, Always Dedicate
If you feel frustrated (and you will!) with the limits of your physical form, then dedicate. Remember there is somebody out there in the greater world (you might even know them) who doesn’t today, or ever, get the privilege of unrolling a yoga mat. When you take a minute, you begin to understand the enormity of the privilege of being able to practice downward facing dog in a room with a bunch of other people in an upside down V. Does it really matter if you’re not perfect?
Chica Brava Operations Manager