I’ve recently realized how intimidating the practice of yoga is. It’s been more than a few years since I started regularly practicing, and I feel as though the practice of yoga has boomed even more in that time into what is now a very popular hobby and way of life.
Living in Southern California, it’s especially apparent how the practice has become somewhat trendy. The lifestyle of yoga seems to sell more than the actual practice. Yoga is more widely seen as a “workout” in many studios rather than a personal practice focusing on breath and alignment.
It’s almost rare to find studios that offer classes for “absolute” beginners to the practice. Yoga can be intimidating AND expensive to attend classes! Not to mention frustrating if you’re not receiving one on one corrections and adjustments.
Everyone was a beginner at some point! I’ve compiled a few basic pointers for those who are curious about the practice, but don’t have a clue about where to start.
1. You don’t have to go to a class: there are many fabulous Yoga DVD’s and also free Yoga on YouTube (I use Yoga With Adriene a LOT). If you’re conscious about doing yoga in front of people, you don’t have to!
Enjoy the practice in the comfort of your own home. Create a home yoga space that you look forward to stepping into every day, and make it a routine!
2. Yoga isn’t a competition: this is the key to Yoga. There’s no right or wrong way to practice – as long as you’re sensible with the stretches and don’t hurt yourself, you can make up moves as you go along.
There are so many creative options in yoga – once you find a few sequences that you enjoy and can safely and comfortably do on a regular basis, incorporate those poses into your own “flow”.
3. You don’t have to get hot and sweaty: Hot Yoga seems to be a “thing” right now. I have recently explored some warmer classes, however I still personally am not as intrigued by any temperature above 95 degrees. I find that it’s much harder to breathe in these hot classes, and being able to breath is the ultimate goal!
4. Don’t take it too seriously: the physical practice of yoga isn’t like running or working out where you need to have goals. Yoga teaches you to be present and to focus on how you’re feeling.
So relax with it, don’t push yourself into a pose if you can’t do it yet. Move around your mat, breathe, and enjoy whatever feels best for you that day.
5. Sensation over appearance: Can’t touch your toes? Who cares. Do what you can and enjoy the poses that you can breathe into comfortably. Why wouldn’t you want to do a work out that feels good but is also healthy?
You’re the only one who benefits from the practice, so you might as well reap the benefits that the poses have to offer instead of straining to get into a pose that isn’t accessible for your body to get into.
The Traveling Yogi