We all know that stepping into your first yoga class can be overwhelming, especially if the other class members seem to be twisting themselves into a pretzel with no problem.
I mean a pretzel. Come on.
But it’s important to remember that yoga is called a practice for a reason: you’re not meant to be perfect with it. Yoga is also by definition a really personal journey, and if you can begin to focus on yourself throughout the class, you’ll gain a lot. You can also learn about being more compassionate, both to yourself and to others, by facing your fears head-on. All of those hardcore yogis and instructors are also totally excited to have someone else come and join them in the practice they love so much. So we definitely think you should just get out of your comfort zone and give it a try.
Here are some ways to help you get over your feelings inadequacy in the flex department, and begin to allow yourself to honour your body, mind, and soul through yoga:
Focus On Yourself
One of the major themes of yoga is self-realization, or focusing on your own journey. Sure, you may not be able to get your heels on the mat in downward dog like your neighbour might, but if you begin to focus on your own progress, you’ll see that you’re making big strides. Remember that you are doing yoga for you, not for anyone else. You’ll also notice throughout class that modifications are encouraged, making it possible for any pose to work for you, no matter what your abilities might be.
Arriving 15 minutes early gives you a chance to chat with your instructor and let them know you are new to yoga. This will give them a chance to keep an eye on you during the class, and provide assistance by way of cues and help with body positioning. They might also be able to help you out before class with some terms that you may find helpful to know. Arriving early also gives you a chance to relax as you roll out your mat and get prepped before class begins.
Know Others Are Rooting For You
It’s easy to think that hardcore yogis might be judgmental when someone new to yoga steps into the class, but the reality is anything but. Your fellow students and the instructor are excited for you! They all remember what it was like to be the new kid in class, and are genuinely happy to share how much they love yoga with you. Open-mindedness is a big part of yoga, so this is a great first step.
Find a Class That’s Right For You
We all have different goals in mind when we decide to take up yoga. You may be looking for a more meditative type in order to relax and take some time for yourself. Or, you might be an athlete looking to cross-train with yoga in order to gain strength and flexibility. When you find the class that is right for you, and is the right combination of class type and instructor style, you’ll love it even more, which will help increase your comfort level.
Embrace the Nerves
In many ways, the time that you put in on the mat translates into everyday life. Chances are, you’ll encounter nerves and uncertainty again. But the time that you put in to overcome them by heading to a yoga class can help you gain confidence in your daily life and learn to work with the nerves, not against them.
So go on. Get out of your comfort zone and into Happy Baby. You know you want to, and at Parallel Yoga, we’re here to show you how.