Starting any new practise can be daunting .."Is this for me?", "Can I do it?", "What am I supposed to do?", "Can I talk?", "What if I breathe at the wrong time?" , "Can I laugh?", "What does Namaste mean?", "Am I too old, too short, too overweight, too stiff?" and "What the hell are my Bandhas?"... You may also be aware of old injuries, not sure if you will aggravate them or if its even right for them...
SO MANY QUESTIONS!
It is currently lock down and have recently started to do LIVE STREAM BEGINNERS YOGA CLASSES and the feedback and attendance is amazing. I am wondering if this is "for one" because of first time nerves and people being happy to start the practise they have wanted to do for so long from the comfort of their own home.
I THOUGHT I WOULD OUTLINE SOME BEGINNERS TIPS &
IN MY NEXT BLOG POST SOME BEGINNERS YOGA BASICS :
HOW HARD SHOULD I WORK?
To begin with and often moving forwards : Less is more.. don't go to deep too fast, back off. Work with your technique and alignment and focus on how it feels rather than how it looks.
I AM NOT FLEXIBLE
Yoga is not about being bendy contrary to instagram pretzel images. Yoga is amongst many other things about how you support your own personal flexibility with strength. Women often come to yoga to help with strength and men to help with flexibility. Work with one to support the other... it's about finding the balance of strength and stretch with effort and ease.
AM I THE WRONG SHAPE, THE WRONG AGE, TOO UNFIT ?
Yoga is for EVERYbody. You need embrace your strengths and work on your weaknesses without creating too much attachment to them. Be aware your mind can be your biggest obstacle. There is no one body that cannot do yoga. Yoga is many things. There are many styles and many teachers you simply need to find the right one for you. If yoga was just for the fit, young and beautiful yoga teachers would be about of a job... although I have to say yoga also helps you to detach from these values.
CAN I HURT MYSELF?
Yoga is a physical practise and the answer is YES you can hurt yourself. We all have unique bodies with unique physical and emotional histories. YOU need to work intelligently and listen to your teachers cues. Breath is a fabulous teacher .. if you breath too fast, too slow or stop breathing all together (eeek!) back off ... avoid poses that don't work for you or modify where you know how. Poses should not hurt if they hurt come out of them.. try to recognise a burn as a positive pain as opposed to a pain that is a bad pain. Also recognise your weaknesses and your boundaries. Your teacher is there to guide you but only you can truly recognise what is going on inside. Sometimes we don't know our edge until we have gone beyond it and injured ourself which is why going slowly to begin with is beneficial.
Also recognise a feeling in the body the following day where you have worked your body but not injured it. Sometimes post yoga there can be an awareness of back (core) tenderness this is generally not an injury but an indication you have worked weaker muscles in the same way that if you go for a run or do sit ups you notice the muscles one or two days later.
BE PREPARED TO WORK HARD
Don't be lazy, but do listen to your body. It's not about how a yoga pose looks its about how it feels. Work with courage and sensitivity ... be kind. In time you will be able to move deeper and deeper in to poses but with the strength to support them.. there is no hurry to get there.
MY TEACHER SEEMS A BIT DIFFERENT
Aren't we all ... remember most instructors become yoga teachers as they want to dedicate their lives to helping people heal and many have even chosen yoga to heal themselves. I for one love teaching more than anything else because it enables me to help people feel good or even GREAT about themselves.
WILL YOGA CHANGE MY BODY
Yes .. you will have more connection, you will be able to notice your whole body not your body as a whole. You can get a six pack, you can lengthen and strengthen muscles , you can tone your butt ... but more than anything this aspect of your being will become less of a burden as yoga helps you begin to realise that you are so much more than the skin you are in .
ONCE YOU FIND THE RIGHT YOGA FOR YOU - YOU WILL NEVER LOOK BACK - THIS IS A PRACTISE THAT YOU WILL HAVE WITH YOU FOR LIFE - WHERE EVER YOU GO