How to be an Amazing Beginner at Yoga

Have you ever wondered what yoga is like?  Have you heard the”buzz” about yoga and thought, “could I do that”?  If the answer has been, “Nah”, then please read on!  Have you ever held back from a yoga class because you couldn’t see yourself as either strong enough, flexible enough, calm enough or you just plain didn’t want to wear those yoga pants?  This can happen even if you’re not a beginner.

There are many reasons NOT to do something new; especially something fairly different as yoga.  There are a LOT of reasons TO try yoga and I’d like to tell you just one.  After years of teaching and practicing yoga, studying the body and holistic healing, and just plain managing life, this one reason stands out.  Our world is not getting more complex and we have an epidemic of need for connection on a body, mind and soul level.  What the ancients knew was that going inside and practicing mindfness of our breath and body position is a great way to find balance.  We are experiencing a global trend of such rapid change that this ancient practice of yoga has become modern medicine for the isolation, inflammation and challenges we regularly experience.

But there’s one problem: you still have to try it.  Practice body awareness and it will work.  If your inner voice is curious and you think you’d like to try yoga, you just need to get past the reasons not to do it and consider the reasons to venture out.  You don’t have to wear those yoga pants if you don’t want to, and you don’t have to be flexible, calm or strong.  What you do need to do is give yourself complete permission to see yourself doing something new.  That’s hard to do; how do you imagine yourself doing something that you’ve never done?  It’s harder than ever to make time for something that seems so…. (fill in the blank with your perception).  The good news is that there are a lot of yoga opportunities around!

If you choose to try yoga, find a beginner friendly yoga class taught by an experienced teacher.  There are SO many types of yoga; what type is best for a beginner?  There’s no one best type.  This means that you need to ask around and find a referral for the teacher who will know how to adapt the practice to your individual needs no matter what style of yoga is being practiced.  The word Yoga means connection.  Connecting to the present moment, to your body – and to your breath most importantly.   There are different poses and breathing methods for different issues, times of day, ages, body types, injuries, etc.  Your journey will truly start with just a taste of asanas (or poses/positions).  Later you can progress to a full yoga dinner party.  You just have to be willing to be an asana appetizer for awhile.

If you are new to yoga, there is probably a part of you that longs to feel powerful, energized and is just plain hungry for a taste of what yoga medicine can feel like – you may want to skip right to dessert.    If, at first, you try yoga and feel uncoordinated, it’s hard to breathe like the teacher describes, or you aren’t sure if you’re doing it right, then it’s time to congratulate yourself; YOU ARE DOING JUST FINE!  Remember that part about being at the appetizer stage?  We all set incredible expectations on ourselves; if the mind wasn’t so tranced out with distractions and judgements, we wouldn’t need yoga in the first place to achieve the centering we need.

Stay tuned for the next installment of being an Amazing Beginner, and in the mean time: find an instructor that is well trained, caring and zeroes in on your particular needs.  Have fun and don’t forget to wear your favorite costume:)  After all, you don’t have to do anything special; just choose to start from where you are.

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