The start of a yoga journey is a beautiful and special time. You begin to explore and understand your many layers, so you can discover your unique rhythm and dance to your own beat. However, there are still a lot of misconceptions about yoga, such that a certain stereotype is required for yoga to be of any use (which is untrue!). Thus, we put together some of the things we want you to know about yoga in this article.
1. You don’t get to be a beginner forever.
This is your chance to embrace being a total novice! The more you practice, the more experience you gain, so you should fully enjoy your time at the beginner’s stage. Take this opportunity to learn more about your body, your heart and your mind. Explore who you are, and have the courage to show your authentic unique awesome self to the world.
2. Avoid comparing yourself to others in the room.
We are all attracted to yoga for our own reasons. When you practice, you’re in your body, on your mat and in your own experience. Glancing up at other people to check if you’re in the right pose is different from comparing yourself to others and judging your expression of a pose. Instead, listen to the teacher, check your alignment, and then be in your own experience.
3. Being able to do an advanced pose is not necessary.
People are often intimidated by yoga because they aren’t flexible and can’t do all the advanced poses. That said, you should realize that yoga is not all about knowing how to do a vigorous, powerful and challenging pose. Choose a style (or multiple styles) that resonates with you. Always do what you can and love your body for what it allows you to do.
4. It’s more than just stretching.
As noted, yoga has many different schools, styles and forms. Some are exceptionally powerful physical workouts. Some are more restorative and slow-paced. Some are solely meditative. Whether you’re stretching, strengthening or reflecting in a yoga practice, your scope is definitely expanding far beyond just lengthening muscles and fascia.
5. Your breath is important.
If you’ve pushed yourself to get into a pose and your breath is restricted, you’ve lost the yoga. As such, always remember to breathe as it tells you what’s going on in your body. In your practice, when poses get difficult and your body starts to shake you must focus on your breath. This idea can be applied to daily life too.
6. It’s for everyone.
Yes, everyone. Though it may seem to be a physical activity—and it is—it is very much an inward moving practice. It’s about union and the relief of suffering. Everyone has something they need to let go of. Everyone needs a time out from life to self-reflect and everyone needs self-love. Therefore, yoga is the way to go.
7. It’s a lifelong practice.
There is no end to yoga. You do not suddenly become enlightened for nailing a handstand. Not even when you nail one-handed handstand. Sorry. Yoga is a practice. And it is just that: forever continuing, forever improving, and forever advancing.
8. Presence is key.
Yoga is meaningless if you are not present on your mat. If you are simply “running through the motions” of the physical practice, you lose all of the benefits. Similarly, you are not practicing yoga if you are not present in life. If you do not take your practice off your mat then you have lost the essence and the teachings of the practice. Presence is everything.
9. Always make time for Savasana.
We can’t stress this enough. People always seem to skip Savasana just because they think it’s just a bit of laying down at the end of class, but it’s actually crucial. It’s a meditative pose where your mind and body are most relaxed that you remember all the awesomeness of the entire yoga class. If you skip Savasana, you’re cutting out such a vital part of the yoga process. So at the end of your practice, take a load off even if it’s just for a minute or two.
10. It’s okay to have fun!
While yoga is about moving into one’s self and finding inner peace, having fun is another very serious element of yoga. It’s essential because life is precious and we must treasure every moment of it. Why not show appreciation by having fun, laughing, and enjoying ourselves? It’s always okay to giggle when you fall out of tree pose. It’s quite acceptable to smile when your mind is screaming at your body to get out of pigeon pose.
In a nutshell, yoga is a style of movement that helps improve your physical and emotional well-being through improved strength, stability, stamina, balance, coordination and posture. It is also a discipline that improves your mental wellness through de-stressing, relaxation and clarity of thought. So, what are you waiting for? Start showing yourself some love by embracing yoga today!