When I try to encourage someone to get into yoga, usually one of the first things they say to me is “I’m not flexible enough." I always find that to be a funny reason not to practice. I mean, can you think of anything in your life that you were “good at” from the get-go? I can’t.
As yogis, we don’t practice yoga because we’re flexible. Flexibility might be something we found along the way, but in most cases, it didn’t begin that way and it might not even end that way. We may have begun our practice in order to get more flexible, or stronger, or to lose weight but most people I know continue to practice yoga because it offers them something beyond the physical realm. Yoga offers us a practice in mindful awareness and the opportunity to discover the happiest, healthiest expression of ourselves.
Sounds like something you’d want to get into, right? But sometimes just getting started can be overwhelming when all you know of yoga is what pervades the media—beautiful women who can twist themselves into pretzels.
I can talk all day about the physical, spiritual and emotional benefits of yoga, but how about something you can put into practice immediately? Here are five steps to getting started with yoga.
1. Begin with a video or podcast at home. You’ll be ahead of the game if you practice to a video before you ever step foot into a studio. It will probably make you feel a little more comfortable practicing from the comfort of your own home and getting to know a few of the poses before jumping right into a class. You can always try the beginner’s videos on My Yoga Online.
2. Take advantage of new student specials at a local studio. Most studios offer specials for new students to make yoga available to them without making a big financial commitment. Take advantage of these specials so you can try out several different types of classes and different teachers and see if the studio is the right place for you.
3. Bring a friend! Everything is a little less scary when you have someone by your side. Bringing a friend to a new studio that neither of you have been to will give you some familiarity in a new situation. Bonus: you and your friend can revel in post-yoga bliss together!
4. Try all different types of classes. There is not a one-size-fits-all when it comes to yoga—different things speak to different people. One teacher might be your favorite and someone else might not like her. You might like the challenge of Ashtanga yoga while others prefer a more restorative class. Go to as many different types of classes so you can figure out what works for you.
5. Memorize Surya Namaskar A & B. When all else fails, practice yoga at home. You can turn sun salutations into a whole class if you want to, or you can just do them for 10 minutes. No drop in fees, no specific class times–just you and your mat. So, get out there. Try something new!
Becca Kocher is an engineer turned yoga teacher who blends her experience in engineering with her yoga practice to create a therapeutic yoga experience that offers both spiritual and physical alignment.
Website: Becca Kocher Yoga
Facebook: Becca Kocher Yoga