In my years of teaching and practicing yoga I have had numerous conversations on this topic. People want to do yoga, but don't. The number one thing that holds them back is FEAR. Now, yoga is far from a scary thing. The leap from thinking about practicing yoga to actually going to a studio to take class is a bigger jump than you may think. I get it. I get the fear of not knowing what it's going to be like. Is the class really suitable for "all levels?" Will you stand out or feel left behind because you can't keep up? Or are you waiting to lose weight, become more flexible and look better in your yoga pants before you go (yoga models you see online or in magazine are just that, models)? These are all of the popular reasons I hear of why that desire to start yoga lingers on the to-do list.
I encourage you to take the LEAP. Here are some tips I hope will help you on your path from thinking of to practicing yoga.
- Do your research. There are many forms of yoga out there and even more studios to choose from (I will post more about the various forms of yoga in an upcoming post). I suggest newbies begin with a gentle or beginner yoga class or series. Another option is to do private sessions with an instructor. I am wary of using a DVD as your first source of practice since there is no one watching you to ensure proper form and alignment. Try not to base your experience on the first class you try. With so many studios to choose from I encourage you to try different studios or teachers until you find your fit.
- Let go of your expectations. Yoga is about letting go. In it's purest form yoga is about finding awareness and connecting your body and mind through movement and breath. It's non-competitive so allow yourself to be childlike with exploration of your breath, your body and the poses. It may be helpful to look at others in class when getting into a pose however you should be mindful not to compare how you look to them. We are each on our own path, and it's not a race.
- Set your intentions. Intentions differ from expectations. With an intention you are looking at what is at the root of wanting to take yoga. Examples of intentions are to nurture yourself, relax, be fully present, learn something new about yourself, or to sweat and detox.
- Have fun! Yoga is something you are doing out of love for yourself. The many benefits of yoga are well known. Whether it's simply to bring movement back into your life, to calm your mind or to tone up, the benefits of yoga are plentiful. In your practice embrace this sense of abundance, health and vitality. You are nurturing your mind, body and soul.