You have friends that practice yoga, you’ve read about it and like the sound of it, but you think you’re not flexible enough, you tried it once and didn’t enjoy it, you’ve heard there’s lots of chanting and you’re not into that, you don’t think you could meditate. Sound familiar?
I hear these statements all the time.
Let me assure you…
People who practice yoga are flexible because they practice yoga. They did not start off that way. I once read “Saying you’re not flexible enough to do yoga is like saying you’re too dirty to have a bath” or words to that effect. I wish I knew who wrote that so I could quote them. Makes me smile each time I think of it, it’s so true!
There is a teacher and style of yoga suitable for everyone. Some classes focus on relaxation, some the physical practice, some meditation and breath work, some a combination of all of these. Enquire about the class before you turn up. Know why you want to practice yoga, to help you relax, sleep better, to improve your overall fitness etc. That will help guide you to the right class for you.
My advice if you’re a beginner; book onto a beginners course rather than attend an all levels class. While an all levels class is suitable for all levels of experience, they will not cover the fundamentals of yoga, although it will be safe for you to practice, the instruction won’t necessarily be as detailed as it would be in a class designed specifically for beginners.
It can take time to find the right class for you. Keep going. Try different classes with different teachers at different yoga studios. The rewards are worth the effort trust, me on this one.
As for meditation, you don’t have to meditate right away, one step at a time; yoga will guide you towards meditation at your own pace. There is no rush and if you never sit to meditate, that is ok. The breath work and yoga poses together can have a meditative effect, breathing practices may lead you in to a meditative state and have you meditating before you know it.
You don’t have to chant to practice yoga. Some classes include chanting some don’t. Be open, if the teacher starts and ends their class with chanting and you want to run for the door, sit, breathe deeply through your discomfort, notice the tension forming in your body, and focus on relaxing it. Go back to class and repeat! Soon it will not feel so unusual, uncomfortable, weird (whatever sensation it brings up for you). You may find yourself joining in and you may even relax enough to feel the benefits of chanting. Like a good sing song? Feels good doesn’t it? So does chanting. If it’s really not for you, don’t do it. If that makes you feel uncomfortable find a class where the teacher doesn’t dig chanting either! Like I say, there’s a teacher and class out there for everyone. Know that a lot of people have this reaction to chanting at first, but with time and a little practice the fear can be released and the benefits experienced.
It’s up to you what you choose to embrace, that’s what yoga is all about – learning more about you.
Go along to class and take your curiosity, an open mind, and an open heart.
We’re all a little uncomfortable when we try something new for the first time you’re not alone.
If you’re nervous about going to a class, but want to explore more about Yoga, or you have an injury or health condition why not book private sessions to receive a practice tailored to your requirements? You can find more information here.
Be open, stay curious.
Does this sound like someone you know? Send this post on to them, we all need a little encouragement from time to time :-)
I’d love to hear your thoughts, drop me a note below.