We are all beginners at something. Throughout life, we’re always learning how to do something, whether it’s driving or playing a sport. Yoga is very different than these activities, but that nervous feeling we get when we start out is the same.
When I starting driving, I was really afraid of making left turns. The thought of driving and turning into oncoming traffic was so frightening to me. I just wanted to avoid them. I soon realized that to get where I needed to go, I was going to have to learn how to safely turn left. To this day, I still remember how I felt as a new driver. My fear of left turns has transformed into me being cautious and making careful decisions.
When I first started attending all levels yoga classes, I was intimidated. I would often look around the room and I felt like I had no idea what I was doing. The fears of beginning something new came back to me. And so I did what I normally do when I get nervous – I avoided the situation! For about a year, I stayed home and practiced yoga on YouTube. I felt comfortable in my home where no one could see me. I learned the names of poses at my own pace and I certainly wasn’t distracted by what was going on around me. After this year, I started attending all levels and intermediate yoga classes in my community.
There are many ways to begin a yoga practice. That said, it’s often hard to know where to get started because there are so many choices. Below is my advice on how you can begin a consistent yoga practice!
In yoga, props such as bolsters, blocks, blankets, and straps are your friends. Even after 6 years of practicing yoga, I still use props. They are everybody’s friends. Props will help you to reach the ground, open up in your chest, and improve your flexibility and mobility. Props will support you throughout your practice and help you to safely access new poses in your body.
Start with shorter flows.
One great aspect of yoga is how many different ways in which you can practice! Most studios have classes ranging from 60-90 minutes, but online classes are much more varied. If you’re just getting started, try out a 20-30 minute flow. This will help you to familiarize yourself with the poses and the practice before jumping into a longer length class.
The more often you practice yoga, the more accustomed your body will become to the practice! I try to practice yoga daily, even if it is only for 10 minutes. A consistent practice will allow you to maintain your flexibility and help you to improve.
Grab a friend!
It’s such a great feeling when you’re in yoga class and you have a friend to practice with! Your friend can serve as your accountability buddy. This will make it easier for the both of you to maintain a regular practice routine.
Don’t worry about what’s going on in the room.
It’s hard not to get distracted and look around the room in a yoga class. I would encourage you to stop looking at what other people are doing unless you are learning a pose. There is no reason to compare your yoga journey to anyone else’s. We are all in different places and that’s ok. Comparison has no place, and it can lead to feelings of dissatisfaction.
Explore more than asana.
Asana is the physical practice of yoga. During my yoga training, I was introduced to much more than this element of the practice. Yoga also encourages breath work, meditation, and self-study. Combining these elements with a physical practice will help you round out your experience with yoga.
I hope that these tips make it a bit easier for you to get started. I’d love to hear more about your journeys with yoga in the comments!