These 10 simple “things” submitted by Erica Rodefer, a writer, editor and avid yogi, are just begging to be posted!
In fact, I really couldn’t have said it better myself, so I decided to copy/paste. Which to me is totally fine as long as I give credit where credit is due….with Erica.
Every single item holds true at Self Awakening Yoga Studio where we are all beginners….even those who have been doing yoga for many years. And the reason we continue to think of ourselves as beginners is because every time we come to our mat, the experience is completely 180 of the time before. One of my regulars put it this way: “It’s like going into Boston, or any large city I suppose, there are many different routes that all take you to the same place.”
I loved this description and natch wished I had thought it up myself! I loved it because every single time I rise up to Warrior I, the experience is 180 of the time before. True, to the naked eye I might look the same, but from the inside out….totally different connection to mind, body, breath, and soul.
So no matter how many times I step on my mat, I am always beginning…because more than anything, the experience is about getting to know myself better! And no matter how many different teachers you have at Self Awakening; no matter how many different styles you experience, we will always speak to the beginning student in you!
Read on and then get to know yourself through yoga!! Go on…what are you waiting for??
10 Things Every Beginning Yoga Student Should Know
1. It doesn’t matter how flexible or inflexible you are. Really. Being flexible won’t make you happier. There’s no prize. Stop suffering and learn to love the body you have!
2. Don’t get hung up on how you look in a pose. Everyone else in class is focusing on their own pose. They don’t care how you look (unless you’re wearing a thong). Let this be your first lesson in ego management.
3. It’s OK if you don’t know what the Sanskrit words mean. The only people in the room who do are teachers or big yoga dorks.
4. It’s not religious—unless you want it to be. Your practice should be unique to you. You’re allowed to make it as spiritual, religious, fitness oriented (or not) as you want. (If someone tells you otherwise, please have them call me.)
5. Yoga is an art form, a science, a lifestyle and a philosophy. But more than anything, it’s a way to get to know yourself better. And that’s something that benefits us all.
6. Everyone gets the left and right sides mixed up sometimes. Don’t be embarrassed when this happens. If your teacher corrects you, just smile. There’s a good chance she’ll say “left” when she means “right” later in the class.
7. It’s cool to fall down. The first time I fell on my face while attempting an arm balance, I was mortified. Now, when I get a big red mark on my forehead from diving head-first into my mat, I consider it a badge of honor. It’s how you learn. Laugh at yourself and move on!
8. No one cares if you can do a Handstand in the middle of the room, or touch your foot to the back of your head, or some other advanced pose. Just start where you are, and your practice will build over time. You’ve got the rest of your life to master the poses — for now, just breathe.
9. Your teacher wants you to ask for help. No one understands the temptation to hide in the back row and pretend to be invisible more than I do. But believe me when I say yoga teachers LOVE to answer your questions. Your teacher really wants to help you with your pose, answer your question about philosophy or explain what that Sanskrit word means. So if you don’t understand what’s going on, ask!
10. Keep coming back. When you’re new to anything there will be moments of frustration and discomfort. Despite what you might see on TV commercials, hatha yoga is usually not the same as going to a spa to get pampered. It’s hard work. It can be exhausting — physically, mentally and emotionally. At times you will want to throw up your hands and quit (or at least curse out your teacher for making you hold that pose you hate). Don’t. This is where the healing happens. Breathe into it, and come back tomorrow. You’ll be glad you did.