so you want to try yoga
When it comes to yoga, I feel like there are two major misconceptions. The first is about yoga itself – about it being too slow, not enough of a challenge, or not a “real workout.” The second is about the kind of person you have to be to do yoga – many people worry about not being bendy enough, thin enough, or it being only for women.
If you’ve ever thought about trying yoga, I’m here to encourage you.
There are all kinds of yoga. Yes, there are slower forms of yoga, like yin yoga, that focus on stretching and relaxation. But there also really intense forms of yoga like power yoga, which anyone I know would consider an incredibly challenging workout. There are also a whole bunch of kinds in between, many of which I have yet to try.
The other thing is, yoga is for everyone. There is no one who couldn’t benefit from it. It doesn’t matter where you start – the point is to accept and honor where you are. It’s about challenging yourself but listening to your body and not pushing past your limits. Through practice, you become more flexible, still your mind, and build strength – you don’t have to start out that way.
What I love most about yoga is that it can be a workout, but it is far more than that. It’s a moving meditation that connects your body, mind, and spirit. As you practice more and more, calming your mind and being totally present becomes easier and easier.
W H A T Y O G A I S N O T
Yoga is not just a workout. Yoga is not a one and done experience. Yoga is not about pushing past your limits. Yoga is not conquerable. Yoga is not just for a certain type of person. Yoga is not a competition. Yoga is not about the poses. Yoga is not about how you look.
W H A T Y O G A I S
Yoga is a meditation. Yoga is the union of your mind, body, and spirit. Yoga is challenging. Yoga is easy. Yoga is presence. Yoga is for everyone. Yoga is a process and a practice. Yoga is about honoring your body. Yoga is acceptance. Yoga is fun. Yoga is you.
More advanced levels of yoga require great strength that you have to steadily build up to. The strength required in yoga, however, is not about powering through – it’s about control and stability. The ironic thing about it is the amount of patience, practice, and surrender it takes to build not just the physical strength, but also the mental. Through the physical training of your muscles and the mental practice of letting go, what you thought was impossible becomes possible.
Yoga also allows you to return to a state of play. You try new things. You fall down. You get up. You keep trying. And one day you find yourself in a pose you didn’t think was possible. You get to approach poses with curiosity and imagination. You get to play!
10 TIPS FOR NEWBIES:
1. Don’t compare yourself to others.
2. Accept and be where you are and realize it’s exactly where you’re supposed to be.
3. Be patient.
5. Focus on how you feel.
6. Be grateful to your body for serving you.
7. Know that having thoughts is okay and gently bring your focus back to your breath.
8. Don’t push. Allow.
9. Listen to your body and modify as needed.
10. Have fun.
Whether you’re just starting out or have been practicing yoga and are looking for some great resources, here are some of my favorites:
The best part about yoga is that all you ever need to practice is yourself!