Thinking of starting yoga? What I want all new students to know.
I was a new yoga student not all that long ago, I wasn't flexible, I wasn't comfortable in my own skin, I had no idea what to expect and what was really going to be happening. I was nervous and all I could think is I do not fit in here. This is what I would have told my beginner self and want to tell every new student brave enough to walk through the yoga studio doors. Welcome, you are welcome and invited to the mat. Any instructor worth working with will welcome you to their class. They may not overtly welcome you but you are seen. When I see new students in my class it reminds me of when I was new, it is nostalgic and know your teacher is rooting for you for get out of your own way, to allow yourself to fall in love with yourself, and enjoy your yoga practice.
Let it be, let yourself simply be in the class. In my first yoga teacher training I had a motto. take what you can and leave the rest. I signed up for a YTT very early on in my yoga journey and was in over my head for a lot of it, but I soaked up everything I could and left the rest. Over time I have refined through other teacher trainings and workshops, I will forever be learning and so will you; take what you can and leave the rest.
You are perfect the way you are. We don’t hear that enough, so much so I bet many of you will laugh at that. Still the truth is you are perfect the way you are. Practice from that place and it will all go well, where I see my students going wrong is when they try to deny where they are and force something else. So you have tight hamstrings or a stiff back or you are easily tired, co-create your practice with your body, you are not there to dominate. See it, watch it, and be receptive to the feedback. My teacher Nicki Doane would say it is always going to be something, so it might as well be this. Let the perfection of you being you be your guide.
Lastly, no one is watching you, well other than the instructor. The little voice in our head is often trying to persuade us that there is something wrong with us, it is lying to you. Yoga can help you tame that voice and over time it will be for the most part silenced, however in the beginning it can be working to convince you of all sorts of things. The truth is everyone else there is either in their own practice, focused and centered, or new like you and only looking around to see if they are doing it “right”. So here it is; no one is watching you, there is no right or wrong there is just you the way you are. Let yourself really be there in the moment take yourself out of the conversation with yourself about yourself drop a piece of your guard and just be.
If you are thinking about attending a yoga class, go for it. If you are not comfortable ask yourself why, if it is not the right studio or teacher move on there are many, if it is that it brings things out of you that are new to you, dig deeper.