It is an incredibly courageous act to walk into a studio of unfamiliar faces, lay down a yoga mat, and start practicing for the first time. Congratulations on making that commitment to yourself! To help you on this amazing new journey, here are my top tips.
1 – Be Kind To Yourself
We each come to yoga with a different body; we’re born with some natural abilities and others that have to be cultivated over time. It may be that in your very first forward fold you find your hands planted firmly into the ground. Or you may barely be able to get them to your kneecaps. Either way, it doesn’t matter! What is important is that you not judge either circumstance as good or bad. It’s just the place from which you are starting. The physical expression of the pose has no bearing on what kind of yogi you are or will be. What really matters in the pose is happening on a much deeper level. If you can keep a cheerful attitude about where you are today, commit to practicing regularly, and then let the mind become still and quiet as you breathe deeply then you are truly practicing yoga.
2 – Ask Questions
Never fear asking a question! If you don’t know what it means to firm the triceps into the midline in downward facing dog pose, then ask the teacher to clarify. Chances are that you are not the only one in the room who would benefit from additional information. Your question is a learning opportunity for everyone in the room. It helps to strengthen your practice and the teaching.
3 – Don’t Be in a Hurry
Resist the urge to rush through the beginner classes to get to the next level. After seven years of practice, I still think of myself as a beginner. Whenever I think I know quite a bit about a pose, layers peel away to offer a new perspective and insight. If I were just pushing to get the next pose checked off my list I might not be learning as much as I could. I like that kind of growth. It’s slow and steady and just what I need when I need it.
Bonus tip – these apply to everyone, not just beginners! No matter where you are in your journey these tips just might make a difference in your practice, too!