I often tell my yoga classes, if you have ever read a ’10 things you need to know before stating yoga’ list its all subjective to the person writing it. One day I will write an article called, ’10 things you need to know about reading an article entitled 10 things you need to know before starting yoga.’ So, maybe this is my way of beginning that…but either way, its a start. And you should know these things!
I truly believe my job as a yoga teacher, is to help empower my students to make the right decisions for their body. Period. So how do you teach someone what feels unsafe or safe? Its really hard! Helping the student understand that everything they experience is a spectrum is a great way to support them on their journey.
- The words ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ are meant to facilitate feelings of comparison. The charm of yoga, and why its taken such a prominent hold in the wellness/fitness industry is because its adaptable. Individuals with a variety of physical ability can have their practice adapted to them-so much so, niche yoga is where a lot of long-term teachers go. So if you feel like you’re working with everything or nothing, the best place to start is contact the facility and ask questions. Allow yourself to be selfish with finding the best fit for you.
- Pain is sign that something is WRONG! I’ve said this so many times and sometimes I have to say it to myself. Pain is the body communicating with you, its trying to help you ‘see’ inside yourself better and understand the many dynamics of how you function. Our bodies do not develop the same way, so listen to the cues of pain, just like you would listen to external direction. The one things pain doesn’t say is, ‘push harder’. So please listen to the body when its trying to communicate with you and ask questions if you’re not sure.
- Not all teachers have the same background or level of experience. And while its unfair to ask you to learn all about yoga education, your best bet is initially to trust your gut. Most studios have an introductory package that gives you some opportunity to try different classes and teachers. Take advantage of that! If you don’t, its like going to a really good buffet and only getting the sad dried chicken because you know you wont hate it. Try the blueberry cheesecake! And if you’re worried about the class being too hard, ask! Many teachers can adapt their classes to all levels of ability in the moment, but best practice is to ask, just in case or look for details in the class description to help guide your decision. Who do you ask? The studio owner is the best place to start or the lead email through the newsletter or website (info @ [studio name] dot com).
- Beginning a new studio? Start with a gentle or beginnings class. Even if you have some experience, the gentle or beginners classes are a great barometer for what the rest of the levels are like and you can use them to gauge what class might be the best fit for you.
- Allow yourself to be introduced to the studio culture. Every family is different, and studios are intimate spaces much like a family. Its very difficult to take the rules from one space and apply them to the other. Use the introduction period to also get a sense of the flow of the space you’re trying out. And only going to one class, isn’t the best way to get to know a studio. Depending on the length of time you signed up for, try to go 2 times/week or a minimum of 3-5 classes to get a sense of the space. That gives the instructors some time to learn your name and some time for you to relax into the space for a time (hopefully a long time!).