For people who are just starting yoga, it can be intimidating. Below are some tips for anyone just starting out.
It’s understandable that when people start new goals they may want to move at full force. For someone just getting into yoga, they may want to practice every day. Going to the nearest studio or popping that DVD in everyday may feel great. However, realistically, drastic changes are not able to be sustained for long periods of time. Start infrequently, once a week or twice a week max. You may even want to start out with every other week if your schedule is packed. Make those commitments a must though. Once it is a true habit or part of your routine then try to pick it up more if desired.
Determine your intention then visualize it
Why exactly are you in yoga? For a lot of people, the answer is to be healthy. Being healthy means a lot of things. Determine what this means to you and then visualize it. For example, if being healthy means being less stressed, imagine how that will look, how that will feel, and how that will change your interactions with others. If being healthy means decreasing pain when you run, imagine running without having the restriction of the knee brace or running longer distance without pain. You may even want to create a Vision Board to remind yourself. The reason to do this is to give yourself a clear goal that you can work towards and help motivate you to keep going to class.
Try to get into a studio on occasion
With today’s economy, getting into a class on a regular basis may not always be feasible. It can be expensive. There are great resources online and DVDs that can assist with your practice. However, try to get into a class here and there. As a beginner especially, it is important to learn proper alignment to avoid injury. A good instructor will be able to assist in the correction of improper form. If money is a concern, search for free or donation based classes in your area; simply go to Google and type “Free yoga <insert city>”. Also try sites such as Living Social or Groupon that may offer packages at deeply discounted prices. Some studios may offer a work/exchange program that you can ask the owner about.
Ignore the other people on other mats.
Open classes are typically going to have a variety of levels. One of the biggest life lessons from yoga is its okay to be where you are right now and it is always a practice and a journey. People often say they feel intimidated or ridiculous in classes where there are more advanced yogis. Here’s the secret: no one is judging you and if they are it is questionable if they are a true yogi as opposed to a jackass who just happens to be flexible or strong. Stop paying attention to them and focus on yourself.
On that note….avoid advanced classes
There are certain classes that are designed for more advanced yogis. The classes tend to move fast, there is an expectation that you know the names of the poses without seeing the instructor, and some of the more basic poses are not explained. Avoid these classes. These classes are designed for more advanced yogis and can increase intimidation factors. It’s not you, it’s the class. Many studios will indicate what level their classes are (i.e, beginner, intermediate, or advanced), opt for the beginner classes at first then work your way up. Classes that are indicated as “open” are fine too just make sure to do the easier modifications while you are still starting out.
Laugh at yourself
You are going to fall. You might fart maybe even queef if you’re a lady. You might be on the other side of the pose. You might slide off your mat. Don’t worry, even the most advanced yogis are experiencing these things. It’s natural, it’s a part of yoga and sometimes it’s pretty damn funny. You have the choice to either add laughter into your day or beat yourself up.