Welcome to the second installment of our four part series: Yoga for Newbies
Today, we’ll help you take your first steps with yoga.
We know you’re busy, follow our tips and save yourself time, frustration and effort!
Today, we give our top tips for approaching yoga as a newbie.
Start Where You Are:
My best advice is to simply begin. Allow all of the nagging thoughts like I’m not flexible enough to do yoga, I won’t know what I’m doing, I’m afraid to look stupid, I should be doing x, y and z, to take a back seat to your own health and peace. You are worth the time of self-care. In fact, the more you charge your own physical, mental and spiritual battery, the more of a charge you’ll carry into the world, making everything you do eminently more effective. People will notice your peace, I promise! Just imagine how powerful you will feel as you walk into a room and have your very presence provide a measure of comfort and peace for your family and friends. You are a treasure, it’s your turn to shine!
My advice is just to do it! Pick a class and break the ice. Other than a couple small things, it is not essential to prepare yourself. You do not need to show up flexible and graceful. By practicing yoga, you will eventually achieve this. If you wait to attend a class until you have everything in order, you will never make it to a class! Don’t focus on being prepared because you do not know what you are preparing for until you begin taking classes and seeing how they make you feel. It probably will be a little awkward at first, because yoga is not a fitness class. There are components in yoga that can emit fear, such as being quiet and being present. There won’t be loud music and distractions to help you be anonymous, but the benefits of putting yourself out there greatly outweigh the initial discomfort.
Pick a buddy or fly solo
Look at how you have thrived in the past. Do you tend to follow through more when you have an accountability buddy? Does it make new things easier when you’re in the company of your bestie? Then find a friend, coworker or family member and find strength in numbers.
Or, are you an introvert? Do you like the anonymity of flying under the radar? Do you feel most comfortable when left to your own thoughts? Then simply attend a class by yourself. Simple!
Go alone or bring an entourage. Both have benefits: going alone helps you to fully embrace the class and if you have an awkward moment, you won’t have to relive it with others over and over again.
If you bring a friend, you may have a support system that may allow you to relax more and receive greater results from the class.
Gita: General rule of tummy, try not to eat for about two hours before your class. If this is a burden due to your eating habits, just start where you are and go to a class anyway. Yoga will teach you what is best for your body, it’s your job to simply observe.
Jessica: Lessons from Nutella Nirvana
First, don’t go to yoga on a full stomach-ever! Beginner or not, yoga is made to help your body detoxify itself. You may be lucky enough not to do anything embarrassing if you do eat, but you will not feel as well as the person next to you who chose to wait until after the class. I can speak from experience. At our training in NYC, I was so excited for lunch at a new place and went totally overboard ordering an iced mocha and a grilled Nutella and banana sandwich. Even though I made it through the afternoon practice without any unpleasantries, I definitely regretted it. I felt sluggish and heavy, but that was a mistake I had to learn, to feel the difference in my choices in my body, and that is what differentiates a beginner from a more experienced yogi. An experienced yogi is a person who learns from experiences-good and bad- during their yoga practice. It is not someone who never makes mistakes, so don’t fear anything because it has all been done already. Take comfort in knowing that you are not original in yoga, originality will come with your interpretation of your yoga practice.
What not to wear
Gita: My best advice, from twenty years of seeing all types of outfits show up to my classes:
Butt and tummy check all of your clothes:
Step one-lift your arms overhead and check if your shirt lifts up and shows skin you’d rather keep hidden.
Step two-stand up and bend forward. Is your shirt falling around your head, exposing your cute new bra to the world? Are your pants riding down and showing a little butt cleavage? Opt for a longer shirt, personally, I’m in love with tunics!
Step three-layer! It’s nice to have an outer layer that you take off easily as the class gets moving, then you can put it on again during the relaxation portion at the end of class.
Jessica: Make sure your looks are “for go, and not for show” . You may want to buy new sexy yoga clothes to help you feel good going to the mat. But truly feeling good will come when everything you want to stay hidden actually does. Looking good entering a class matters a lot less once you are on the mat. Looking good in a pose comes with comfort, and choosing something that you are comfortable in will make you feel a whole lot better than ones that just look great. So, try out some down dogs before you leave in those sexy clothes, to make sure that there won’t be any surprises at class. And if something decides to show, let it be.
Treat the class like an experiment
Gita: The best advice I give all of my students is to treat the class like an experiment. Be willing to try things the instructor suggests, releasing expectations about yoga, and take a benevolent and curious perspective to your practice. Just experiment, notice, and figure it out as you go along the way. Experimenting releases expectations and judgements, and sets you up to notice the effects of yoga, shaping a practice that will serve your unique needs and desires.
Jessica: Most of the time, I get anxious about things that are happening at another time either in the past or near future, and they tend to ruin time spent leading up to an event or whatever is stressing me out. I am learning to be present, yoga helps me to just let go of whatever has happened or will happen.
The thing you must bring to class
Gita: The biggest predictor of your experience of yoga is your own enthusiasm and curiosity. I’ve taught countless people over the years, and the ones who have skyrocketed into peace and health are the students that experiment willingly, are curious, and practice with zeal! This is what makes Jessica such a fantastic student, she’s a teacher’s dream!
It's your turn! Experience a step to a peaceful and healthy life right now!