One of the most popular questions/comments that I hear from people when they find out that I do yoga is that they would “like to do it, but the person is not flexible enough.” In today’s post I wanted to share five tips for people who are totally new to yoga and would like to explore this beautiful practice.
- Attitude – Be open to the practice and don’t force yourself to do poses that other yogis seem to have “mastered”. All bodies are different and we come to different poses at different times. You will discover that some poses speak to you more than others. For example, I really enjoy twists, binding and balancing, they remind me of complexities in our daily lives. Keep an open mind and open heart to the intentions that teachers share in class. Yoga is not only a physical practice, but one for the soul and the mind. Yoga is for all people, it’s not limited to one rate, one age group or gender. To fully grasp yoga is to understand that the practice of yoga is meant to enlighten or help people from different walks of lives. I believe that yoga is for all people, it’s supposed to unite us and allow us to let go of stereotypes and norms that other people put on us.
- Flexibility -Yoga is a practice, we all come to class with different challenges and different flexibility levels. Yogis understand that this is a journey, we practice with reverence, continuously without and attachment to the outcome. You don’t have to know your poses and don’t have to know how to do handstands or splits. Most teachers understand that students come to class with different fitness levels, health and abilities. Therefore, each class offers modifications to the more challenging poses, so even a beginner can enjoy their benefits.
- Studios– Check out different studios and even within the studio take different classes with different teachers. I believe that yoga practice is very personal, so different teachers give their own spin on how they teach the class, how they cue or even what poses they offer through the class. You might enjoy one teacher over another, so explore different studio offers.
- Apparel – don’t worry you are not expected to spend hundreds of dollars on your workout outfits. I’d recommend a good pair of leggings and a good sports bra. a comfortable t-shirt to start. You can purchase some really awesome and affordable pieces at Target. Most studios offer a mat that you can rent for a class. In some studios mat rental costs something, in others it’s offered free of charge. If you opt in to return to the studio, it will be a good idea to purchase your own mat. There are varieties of mats, I always look for thickness of my mat and ensure it has a good non-slipping surface. You can purchase your mat at Target, or discount retailers such as TJ Maxx or Marshalls. Mats can run around $20 and upwards, depending on the brand and quality.
- Etiquette – Some people shy away from studios as they don’t know what to expect. They think that a yoga studio is is a mystical place. There are a few rules that all practitioners should observe, such as not stepping on people’s mats, showing up a few minutes before the class starts to set up your mat, so you don’t disrupt the class once it starts. Classes run between an hour through 90 minutes. Classes should have a relaxation time towards the end called Shavsana. Do not get up to leave during that time, if you realize that you have to go, please do so before the rest of the class goes into Shavasana. This is a pose that helps people get into a relaxation state, so don’t disrupt while others are practicing.
Are you new to the practice or a long time practitioner? What tips did you find useful when you first started?