Starting new classes in Andover this week means there are quite a few yogis-to-be who will be attending their very first ever Yoga class. Although this can be exciting, it's natural to be a bit nervous when trying something new. With that in mind, I wanted to share some thoughts about starting your yoga journey.
Everyone starts somewhere! Don't worry about being able to do every pose or even ANY pose in your first week. We are asking your body to move in ways you probably haven't done since you were a child! Its going to take more than one hour to undo years and years of movement habits. Very few of us are 'naturally' flexible so be prepared to be frustrated... however one of the wonderful things about being a beginner-yogi is that you see progress with every class.
Nobody is judging you! Yoga is a self-development practice. There is no competition, no 'best downward-dog' medal and no judgement about what you do on your mat. One of the key philosophies of yoga is practicing with respect for your body - therefore I am more likely to be disappointed if you push your body past its safe limit and hurt yourself, than I will be if you respect your body and take a break when it asks for one. Everyone else in the room will be so busy trying to get THEIR bodies, breath and mind in the right place that they won't even notice what you are doing.
You can take what you want from your practice. Some people love the mindfulness that comes with breath practice, others find this helps control asthma or deal with stressful situations. Some people purely want to be come physically more flexible whilst others enjoy cultivating a spiritual practice. You can take what you want to take from your yoga practice. Many of us start yoga wanting one thing then discover a treasure trove of other benefits. Therefore the main thing is to keep your mind open in every class as you never know what you may find helpful!!
You may experience unexpected emotions. Yoga intentionally invites you out of your comfort zone. You may feel frustrated, angry, irritable, tearful or joyful. All of these things are totally normal! Practicing yoga gives you a safe space to explore what brings on these feelings, and with practice helps you manage them when they arise outside of your yoga practice. It’s hard to feel so vulnerable in public, but rest assured that getting rid of the negative energy is healthy and important and afterward, you will feel amazing.
Yoga is so much more than a 'fitness class' and this in itself can be daunting, but hopefully having an idea of what to expect, means can relax and enjoy your first class more.
What were you worried about when you began practicing yoga? Is there anything else you experienced in your first class that you were not expecting? Let me know in the comments section :-)