Suffice it to say, I kind of like yoga. If you're interested in knowing more about why, I talk more about that here.
Yet, this wasn’t always the case.
The first time I took yoga, I hated it. It was slow. It was meditative. I was bored.
And, I know I'm not alone.
I teach yoga for a local community college as a one-unit PE course. At the beginning of each semester I ask my students what they want to learn or, what they’re hoping to get from the course.
Ninety- nine percent of my students are beginners and come to class expecting some light stretching and a lot of chanting.
However, by the end of class, when we check in to see if they met their goals, they accredit yoga for lowering their stress, helping their energy levels, helping them to feel happier, improving their quality of life and increasing strength and flexibility.
I find yoga especially helpful for moms, new or seasoned. The practice can bring a bit of stress release and meditation to their lives when they need it most. Yoga allows mamas to focus internally and move without impact.
But, if you’ve never done yoga, you might be a bit intimidated or perhaps even afraid.
I want to change that. Yoga is not one size fits all.
Here are my tips to friends, families and clients who are eager to start a yoga practice but don't know WHERE or HOW to start:
Take a few different styles
There many styles of yoga, some that focus solely on movement and touch very little on the “spiritual” aspect and some that are heavy on spirituality and lighter on movement. Classes also range from hot and sweaty to slow and intentional and everything in between. And, while the yoga community doesn’t acknowledge many of them as being legitimate styles of yoga, I would have to disagree. I would say that any style that gets you connected to your body on a deeper level and makes you cognizant of your internal systems is in fact yoga. Try different styles until you find one that makes you feel better when you leave than when you entered and you’ve found your match.
Find a teacher you connect with
A teacher can make it or break it for a newbie. Case in point- the first time I ever took Bikram, the teacher was a traditionalist- shoved towels under the doors and yelled like a drill sergeant. His class was packed. I thought it was horrible. We did not jive. But, I went back. I wanted to give the studio and the style a fair shake and I found it more enjoyable with a different teacher.
Keep showing up
The first time trying any new exercise can be horrible- too slow, too fast, too hot, too cold, to granola, too… you name it. Consistency, repetition, and allowing yourself to be open to the practice are key. If however, you continue to hate what you're doing, that is likely a sign that a different style or teacher may be necessary.
You don’t have to buy into the granola stuff (at least not right off the bat). Look at it as a challenge. Set goals in the class- even if it’s just to make it through a full class.
One of the biggest complaints I get is that it’s too slow. You know what I say? Slow down. Not everything in life needs to be full speed. Allow yoga to be meditative and allow it to bring some awareness into your life- Aware of your surroundings, your breath and your space.
Interested in trying yoga but afraid of being on display in class? Check out my YouTube channel here where I have several free short videos that address a variety of problems mamas face.
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