Welcome to my site! I've decided to create this blog space to bring information to those who are beginning a yoga practice as well as those who are looking for a different perspective or more insight for their already cultivated practice. I will create posts with step by step "how to" tutorials as well as entries on the non-physical aspects of the yoga practice - all of which is life changing. One of the most common questions I receive across the social media platforms that I use is "How do I start yoga? Where do I begin?". I can understand how this thought can be a bit daunting and the desire to start a yoga practice and actually beginning can be two separate processes.
First things first - if you have access to a studio near by and it is financially available to you, I recommend starting in a beginner class at a studio where you will get "real-life" attention from a teacher who is able to guide you in to the poses with correct alignment. Nothing beats that in-person connection and teaching/learning. Thankfully, the internet has blessed us with a multitude of ways to learn about yoga from the comfort of our own home. There are plenty of amazing videos on YouTube as well as things like the CodyApp or websites like YogaGlo that bring us amazing teachers straight to our computer (or phone) screen.
The best advice I could give to someone who is just starting out is to have 0 expectations. Don't begin expecting or wanting to get into particular poses within a certain time frame. Don't expect the body to be a certain way and be hard on yourself or give up when it immediately doesn't live up to what you envision. Don't compare yourself to other people next to you when you're in class. Everyone's body is structurally different - some of us have more open hip sockets, some of us have shorter or longer hamstrings. These are things built into our DNA that we can't control. What we can control is how much we practice and the mindset we approach our practice with.
Here are my main tips for those who are beginning!
- Be patient. Being that this is a new practice for you, go slow.
- Remember yoga is NOT a competition. The best thing about being in a class with others is creating an energy in the room that you can feel. The worst thing about being in a class with others is if you were to compare your practice to theirs. Everyone is at different places and everyone’s body is different. Just because the person next to you can hold a handstand for a little, it doesn’t mean their practice any "better" than yours. Focus on why you’re there and what you want out of it. Allow others to be a positive influence but not something you compare yourself to.
- Start with a beginner’s mind. Be open to the practice and process. Don’t hold expectations, enjoy the journey and process. It is a life long journey!
- Take a beginner’s class first. Don’t try to go into a harder class thinking you’ll just try to keep up. Allow yourself to enjoy learning from the starting point! You’ll have a better practice because of it.
- Each practice will be different, right and left sides will be different, some days your balance will be off, some days you may be able to touch your toes and other days you won’t. Allow this to just be. No judgement, just observe.
- Cultivate a home practice in addition to studio time. You will progress at a faster rate!
- Explore different yoga styles to see which one resonates with you.
- If your studio offers a meditation class, try it!
- You will learn to listen to your body over time. This is important. Rest when your body says rest. Try harder when you have the energy. Your body will also begin to tell you where there is tension on a regular basis and you'll learn how to release it through different poses (Hips are often one of the tightest places on a regular basis!).
- Remember to breathe. This is probably one of the most important “tips” I can give. You might here a teacher say “it isn’t yoga if you aren’t breathing”… it makes it merely “stretching” otherwise.
- Have fun and don’t take yourself too seriously :] Yoga is about self discovery and it is an amazing process.
To end with one of my favorite yoga quotes:
"Practice and all is coming" - K. Pattabhi Jois