Whether you’re a complete yoga beginner or you just need to brush up on the basics, here are 6 simple tips that will ensure you get the most out of your first yoga classes
The beginning of any journey is laced with fear of the unknown and excitement for what’s to come. The same goes for the start of your yoga practice. But to get the most out of this special and memorable time in your yoga journey, it’s important to know a few yoga essentials.
- Begin With No Expectations
Your yoga journey is unique to you. One of the greatest gifts you can give yourself is to arrive in your first few classes without any expectations. Show up with an open heart and an open mind, and just observe what happens.
It’s easy to fall into the trap that your yoga postures have to look an exact way; that if you held a certain pose yesterday, you must do it exactly the same today. But if you surrender your expectations for what your practice should be, then you’ll find there is immense joy in being exactly where you are now.
Remember, no one is judging you. Your practice is personal, and wherever you are in the beginning of your yoga journey is right where you need to be.
Listen To Your Body
In the yoga world, it’s common to hear that yoga is for every body. And it’s true—no matter your shape, size, age, flexibility or fitness level, you can practice yoga and receive the same amazing effects as the most advanced yoga gurus. The key is to listen to your body and adjust the poses accordingly. Using props like blocks and straps can make a huge difference!
There are multiple different ways to do any yoga posture; most yoga teachers will respond to the needs of their students and offer modifications throughout the class. Your body knows what it does and does not need, so do not push it into any place that it intuitively does not want to go. That doesn’t mean you can’t find your ‘edge’ and challenge yourself to try new things. However, respect your body’s limits and know that you are still receiving the same energetic effects of the postures no matter how far you move into them.
Always Come Back To The Breath
Yoga is all about the breath. If at any point during your practice you feel you have lost control of your inhale or exhale, then it’s time to slow things down in a restorative posture (like Child’s Pose).
The breath is our life fuel, yet so very few of us are conscious of our breathing habits. We take short and shallow breaths, rather than deep breaths that completely fill each fiber of our body. Over time, this can have a serious effect on our nervous system and the way our body functions. Yoga is the perfect opportunity to tune-in to our breath and, as a result, rejuvenate the body, the nervous system and the mind.
Don’t Skip Savasana
Savasana, or Corpse Pose, is the signature pose that concludes every yoga practice. It’s a posture of ultimate relaxation, which is why many yoga students find it so difficult to quiet the mind and fully release into the posture.
Though it might appear like everyone is taking a nap, there is a lot going on in Savasana. By calming the mind and body, you allow the body to de-stress and return to its natural state as a human being—not a human doing. Your body cements the effects of your yoga practice, processing and remembering the information it needs. Savasana can also reduce headaches, relieve fatigue, and more. If you only learn how to do one yoga pose, make it Savasana.
Know You Will Make Progress
Yoga is called a practice for a reason. Though it might seem too overwhelming in the beginning, know that with time and dedication, you will make progress—mentally, physically and spiritually.
It’s not always easy, and you will have to commit to regularly showing up on your mat. But one day you’ll push back into Downward Dog and surprise yourself with the ease in which you can correctly hold the posture for minutes on end. After a few weeks, you might find certain aches and pains disappearing, or realize that you’re now less stressed and more energized. With patience and dedication, yoga has the power to transform lives—often in ways you could never have imagined.
Find A Community To Support You
While yoga is a very personal practice, it is also all about the community. Don’t underestimate the value of finding the right group of people who can love, support and challenge you both on and off the mat.
Not only will you get the support you need, a community will also offer you the opportunity to open your heart and pour out love and compassion to others. This mindful connection of love with ourselves and the world around us is in many ways the essence of yoga.
Now you’re ready to dive in to the wonderful world of yoga! Congratulations on beginning this exciting new journey—be sure to cherish each and every moment!
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