No matter what new skill or interest we decide to begin, we always feel that bit of regret once some time has gone by — we always wish we knew certain things before starting but of course, hindsight is 20/20.
We decided to save you the trouble and list some things you should know before beginning yoga. Hopefully, these tips will help you navigate the beginning stages of practicing this ancient art and guide you through safely.
Pain is Not Okay
Even the slightest pain is not normal in yoga. If you experience a sharp pain while in a pose, be sure to stop and tell your yoga instructor. Yoga is not supposed to be painful, no matter what you may have seen regarding the art. Mild muscle pain is okay when stretching, as it is only natural, but shooting pain? Not okay. Make sure you do not push yourself too hard — take your yoga slow and learn the art at your body’s own pace and you will be a lot less likely to injure yourself.
It is Okay to Modify Poses and Use Props
You are not weak or inflexible if you must modify a pose or use props for balance or aid in guiding your body. Yoga is not a destination, it is a life-long journey and you will get better and better – trust us.
Sometimes we believe that the only way to do an asana is the way we see in a yoga journal — this isn’t true – every pose has several variations and you always should do what your body is able to do before challenging yourself or straining to do something more advanced.
There are ways deepen your pose and make it less challenging — a good teacher will offer a few variations of the same asana, and the variation that takes into account your needs is the one that will actually work for you.
Even a Bit of Yoga a Day May be Enough — Don’t Overdo it
If you begin yoga, don’t be too concerned with how long you are able to practice per day and if you only have 10 minutes or so. Even a 10 minute session can be enough to unwind after work, clear the mind, or get tuned for the day ahead of you. Short, but regular, yoga breaks are the key and can really help you build a regular yoga habit.
No One is Watching You
You know what we’re talking about — seriously, don’t be concerned about what others think about the way you practice yoga once you are in a class. Believe us, everyone is way too concerned with their own poses, learning, and likely worrying about the same thing to notice what you are doing, much less judging you.
There is a lot to focus on in yoga class — one’s breath, alignment of the body, balance, meditation, and the way one’s body reacts to movements. Just focus on yourself and enjoy the journey!