Here are 10 things you need to know about yoga for beginners
1. You absolutely do NOT need to be flexible to practice – yoga for beginners
Most commonly I hear this one: I can’t do yoga because I am not flexible. Other versions of this include: ‘I can’t even touch my toes!’ or ‘I am embarrassed because I am so stiff.’ Guess what, these are all excuses and do not have much to do with reality because yoga is not about touching your toes. If that is your main worry- you are in the right place because yoga is about body awareness, breathing and developing your sense of well-being, balance, and overall health. If you touch your toes after a few classes, that is a great bonus….but not the goal when you start yoga for beginners.
2. Don’t expect to be ‘good’ at it right away
There are very few people who are naturally gifted at yoga, especially after a certain age. Like most things, it does take time to learn the foundational poses, develop body awareness, breath control, and strength. Think of running: If you are starting to run, you most likely would not be advised to run a marathon straight away. You would start running short distances and gradually build over time as your body becomes stronger and able to handle more. The same is true of yoga for beginners: choose a beginner class and learn the basics before you throw yourself into a more challenging class and leave feeling defeated or discouraged. After all, there is no rush when doing yoga for beginners.
3. Try a few different class styles and teachers
Because teachers are human beings like the rest of us, they vary in style and you are likely to prefer one teaching style to another- and that’s okay. Teachers these days come from a variety of training backgrounds, and one may be to you liking more than others. Some teachers are highly trained and offer many variations or information as they teach. Others may stick to one specific style and stray very little from that class format. It’s a good idea to be open to trying a few different teachers and types of classes before you make your mind up about yoga for beginners. Most of all, a teacher should never make you feel pressured or shamed, and you are always your greatest teacher, and listening to your instincts is always crucial.
4. Do not push through PAIN, rather find an edge of slight discomfort or good feeling stretch, and relax. Yoga should not hurt- sure, it may be challenging and you may be pushed out of your comfort zone. This does not mean you need to experience any pains- you may wake up some muscles you haven’t worked in a long time, but you should still be able to walk after your yoga for beginners class!
5. Breathing is as important or even more than the physical poses
Yoga, for beginners, is not just physical movements. This is what differentiates it from other forms of workouts. Yes, you strengthen your body, improve stamina, balance, health…but you also regulate your nervous system and hormones in your body, and this is achieved through focused breath and movement together.
6. Worrying about that other people are doing, or even looking at their mats is a WASTE of time
Everyone thinks they are being watched or that other yogis in the room will judge them for being new or unable to do some of the poses. This is almost always not true. Most people are so focused on their own bodies, breath, and balance that they are not really even seeing you. And if they are- who cares?! Anywhere you go there will be someone there who may be more experienced or gifted in a sport or activity- but they too started somewhere and had to be a beginner at some time. Embrace the unknown and yoga for beginners, and don’t worry about what others are doing, it won’t make a difference.
7. It’s not about headstands or fancy poses – yoga for beginners
We have all seen the countless Facebook and Instagram pics of people standing on their heads in interesting places. It’s become so common that it’s almost laughable. The true essence of yoga is to achieve a balanced, healthy mind and body, and state of well-being that carries over into all parts of your life. If you master some cool poses along the way, that’s an awesome bonus, but not the goal of a true yogi, and a skilled teacher knows this, and will know when to push you, and when not to.
8. Not all yoga teachers are perfect, and they are people just like you- they cannot read minds!
Your yoga practice is just that: yours. Teachers will help you to discover yourself more deeply, but they cannot know when you are hurting when you are injured, or when you may need to take it easy. You must take responsibility for your practice and let a teacher know when you are suffering from any kind of special challenge such as a recent surgery, health condition, injury or muscle ache BEFORE you start the class. When the teacher asks if you have any injuries or special conditions, speak up, or get to class early and let him/her know so they can offer adjustments or options that will help you feel better, not worse.
9. Leave you cell phone and distractions at the door – respect the practice and you will get so much more out of it
This has become more and more an issue in recent years as so many of us are attached to our cell phones all hours of the day. Yoga is the one hour or so that you can detach from email, social media, and text messages, allow your brain to relax, and clear away distractions. Sounds nerve racking?? At first it may be, but that is even more a reason you need this time to disconnect. And if you are waiting on some kind of emergency call, let the front desk staff know, and they will help out. After all, there is nothing worse than a cell phone going off in the middle of a relaxing class…I have seen this happen and it’s not nice for anyone involved. Hiding your phone under your mat is silly – leave it outside.
10. Give it some time, it’s called a yoga ‘practice’ after all…and over time you will be amazed!
The practice of yoga for beginners is a lifelong endeavor. Rushing to ‘get good at it’ will take you out of the true experience, and you will be missing out. Like most things that are really worth waiting for, learning patience in yoga will carry over to all parts of your life, and your will be happier for it, no doubt about that.
Bonus: RELAX…it’s only yoga…you will be ok :). Yoga for beginners is for everyone!
If you want to know more information about our yoga for beginners classes, then get in contact with the Thanyapura Gym.