It’s not easy to change habits. Tools to use include surrounding yourself with positive people, music, and ideas; taking small steps; and accepting that trying over and over is part of the process. A regular yoga practice sets you on the right path. It takes some adjusting to make a yoga class part of your daily or weekly routine.
Over the years I have discovered that the most successful students start classes by themselves. At first it seems like a good idea to take your first class with a friend or relative, but I’ve noticed that it becomes a distraction.
If a newbie is brought in by someone more experienced, their well-meaning friend or spouse may slip into that helpful big sister role, making adjustments and suggestions while the instructor is leading the class.
With two newbies, “girlfriends” ordinarily, sitting next to each other becomes important. Since a lot of the techniques used to improve breathing and meditation can seem odd at first, it isn’t unusual for one new visitor to take a look in their friend’s direction and begin giggling uncontrollably. Not a problem for the regular practitioners; they won’t bat an eye. But another distraction for the two “trying it out”. Because people can often be self-conscious when something is new, people who come for a first visit won’t return.
Sometimes one of a pair of first-timers is the more determined to start a practice. For one or another reason it becomes important to try. But again, people being self-conscious, a partner-in- crime has to be enlisted. Fifty-fifty shot that the newcomer returns. A friend who doesn’t “get” it can put you off yoga because of her own self-doubts.
Sangha or yoga community quietly embraces the new student. There’s very little time for chatter before a class but in that space regular students will always introduce themselves and ask a little about your yoga experience. It’s not unusual for someone to share a little of what it was like to be new to yoga, class shortly begins, and everyone is a group unto himself on his mat.
It’s an unusual dynamic in the yoga studio. Sometimes you are shoulder to shoulder with virtual strangers but have all the privacy in the world on your mat. If you have never taken a yoga class in a studio, I urge you to try it if only for that experience.
In a yoga class, the only mistake you can make is not being true to yourself in that moment. If you want your socks on, leave them on. If there is chanting and you don’t feel comfortable simply sit and listen.
If there is a yoga posture that hurts when you try it, you stop, attempt to modify and then stop altogether if it doesn’t feel right for you.
If you are breathing you can “do” and should be practicing. If you are a raw beginner it helps to start in a class dedicated to teaching the basics. But soon after, you could go into any level class and simply work at your own level.
Come visit us soon and try yoga or return to practice. Remember that most of your vital organs are aligned along your spine and the daily twisting and bending backward and forwards mindfully will greatly improve your health.
You won’t find a nicer group of people here. All ages and abilities practice here so while some are standing on their heads, others are comfy on the floor doing restorative poses.
Getting to the studio is the easy step. We look forward to seeing you soon.