As with anything, starting something new can be completely uncomfortable, and totally out of your comfort zone. As much as you want to do it, there's still that voice that says you're not ready. LUCKILY, you've jumped into the right place! You might think yoga is about being the most flexible in the class, or the girl/guy who can do the coolest headstand. You couldn't have been more wrong (in the least patronising way). Now, of course, the more advance you get with your yoga, can achieve some pretty bad ass moves and postures, and your own practice may become about that, and that's entirely up to you, because that's your practice, ad comes with practice. Yes, practice. That's the key here...
You have to remember yoga in it's purest form is a practice, and a self practice. Note the word "Self". In this day, there is yoga flying around everywhere, with new school styles, loud music, weights and the rest of it. But if we're talking about attending a traditional style yoga class, remember this is about YOU, and SELF practice, bringing yourself to that mat, to have time with yourself.
5 top tips to building your confidence as a beginner yogi
1) FIND YOUR FIRST CLASS BY REACHING OUT
Don't feel embarrassed, even the most expert of teachers remember their first yoga class and not knowing where to start. Sometimes it's nerve wracking to come alone, or you're just not sure if you're going to end up booking a class way to advance for you! Just drop your local studio or teacher a line and mention it's your first ever class, you'll be coming alone, you're not sure where to start and you'd love some guidance with which class to choose. This will always help you to feel you're making some great choices to begin with. Not only this, you will also get a sense of your teacher or studio. Are they kind and welcoming? If you're contacting a few people, you can then make a decision what feels best for you to try out first.
2) "SELF" PRACTICE
Remember that yoga is your "SELF" practice. It's not "Compare yourself to everyone else on their mat" practice. Your session is about YOU. Your progress. Your emotions. Your life. Your journey. If you find your eyes wandering around the room seeing if everyone else is 'more flexible than you', just come back to your mat and focus on YOU. If you feel inspired by other peoples progress that is awesome, but let go of the comparison aspect! You're showing up for yourself.
3) ASK YOUR TEACHER
We've all been there. The one where you feel like your kinda making up what your doing, because to be honest you really have no idea, and your teaching is helping someone else or the move gets swiftly brushed under as you continue through the class. Stay behind and ask your teacher. If you have teacher who really cares about their students, they will offer you their time to assist with your question! If they really don't have the moment to spare, the kind of teacher who wants to see their students progress will rearrange a better time to spare 5-10mins, or would definitely point you in the right direction for reliable sources to help you progress with your practice in the meantime.
4) ATTEND A WORKSHOP
There are plenty of "Intro to yoga" workshops around, specifically for people in the same boat as you! You're not the only one. These workshops tend to have different criteria, but they generally fit under the brackets of building your confidence in teaching you key postures, helping you understand what it's all about and easing you into your first yoga class!
5) BE A BEGINNER
My best piece of advice is to be the beginner you are, and absolutely own it, you won't be there for long if you do! As a teacher sharing this blog post, I can tell you that I always give options in my practices. Some more advance, some more appropriate for those just starting out, or alternatives for those who would like a different option to suit their body and mind for that day. The most common thing you will see is those just starting out not wanting to be the only one taking what seems to be the 'easier option', meaning they aren't preparing themselves with strong foundations. As a teacher I will always encourage and take care of my students in this position to encourage them to go back to basics. However if you are in a busy studio, you may not receive this type of 1:1 teaching. With all above said, remember this is your practice, and yours only. If you don't take the necessary steps to build upon postures you will find yourself in the same position until you start setting the foundations. Own where you've started, honour your journey and be patience with your progress. After all, there really is no thing as beginner level, yoga is for everyone, it's just a journey after all...
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