We all have a little yogi in us.
Something I commonly hear: "I'm not flexible. I can't do yoga!" Person proceeds to pull up a picture they saw on Instagram of a yoga posture that makes you feel like the tin man from The Wizard of Oz.
I want to reassure anyone with these thoughts that you're the perfect candidate for a yoga class.
Everyone is welcome to take yoga! No matter the range of motion you possess, you have every right to step onto the mat.
Yes! I'm sure you've seen the pictures with legs behind heads (looking like a straight pretzel) or in a split with the person smiling like nothing hurts. HOLD THE PHONE! Firstly, that's not a realistic example of what yoga is for everyone. Second, that didn't happen in the course of a day. Example numero uno: When I first started dance I never thought I would be able to kick my leg above 45 degrees or let alone do the splits, turns, jumps etc. But let me tell you, after years of working towards it, things started to happen. Example numero dos: If I were to start weight training today, I wouldn't strutt myself on over to the rack and expect to bench press 300lbs. That’s silly! (...and also very unsafe.) You take time to practice good form, slowly add on weight & practice patience. It’s a journey! Good things take time.
It makes me so sad that people miss out on the many benefits of yoga by saying they aren't good enough or flexible enough. You've got it! I promise!
Also, flexibility is only one aspect of yoga, despite what you may see. It involves breaking a mental sweat & focusing on yourself. Transforming the mind, finding your breath, healing, finding purpose, coping with anxiety/stress, meditation, strengthening & creating self awareness (and that’s just the tip of the iceberg.) The physical/mental benefits are endless!
TIPS AND TRICKS
"Sometimes when we leave our ego at the door, magic happens."
1. First class? Check out gentle yoga. Yoga basics. It allows you to break down postures at a slower pace. You don't have to know the Sanskrit names either. Studios will also recommend classes that fit your personal needs.
2. Use the blocks, straps, blankets & bolsters. They help you with form & support you. I use them every class no matter what.
3. Practice. Practice. Practice. In your living room, gym, watching yoga classes on Youtube. That way if you’re not feeling a big class room, you can feel comfortable with your surroundings in a secure space.
4. Try your best to not be your own worst enemy! Relax! Don't beat yourself up. Respect your body & forgive yourself.
5. Go with friends. Sometimes embarking on something new makes us feel vulnerable. Friends help ease our nerves.
6. You must BREATHE! I would forget to breathe in power yoga class and would hold my breath which took away from ability to move & relax. I would ignore my instructor. So when they say “find your breathe” there is a reason. Trust in the cues. If you don't understand, feel free to ask the teacher to break it down!
7. Explore what class/teachers work for you. Every teacher has a different style & speed.
8. Notify your teacher of any injures so they can work with you & give you modifications. My warrior 1 pose is going to look different then Susie’s warrior 1 pose. No need to be cookie cutter. Modifications are everything & they make poses accessible.
9. Realize that yoga is your practice. Everyone in the class is there for different reasons & is on their own journey. There is no judgment or test at the end. (Only Savasana, the best thing ever.)
10. HAVE FUN! LET LOOSE!
So the next time you’re asked to go to yoga, grab that darn mat and run, swim, fly, bike, walk, skip, crawl, drive, or snowboard to the closet class near you (you get the point.)
Your body will thank you for it.
Hope this cuts the nerves for some.
Let me know what scares you or makes you unsure about going to yoga?
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With a humble heart,