There are many different styles, teachings and teachers when it comes to Yoga. From classes with a physical emphasis on movement such as power yoga to those with a greater emphasis on breathwork or mantra such as Kundalini, to restorative practices such as Yin and Nidra – there’s a lot to choose from. While all yoga offers a way to practice mind-body connection through breath and movement, it can be overwhelming to figure out where to begin if you’re new to the practice.
Whether you're brand new to yoga or are simply feeling stuck, we’ve rounded up a few tips to help you in your yoga journey.
Pay Attention To What Resonates For You
Your body, mind, emotions and past experiences are entirely unique to you. Each of us arrives at the mat with a unique set of experiences - whether it be an old sports injury, stressful day at the office or juggling family commitments. That means not everything will necessarily resonate with you in a group class - from the way a posture feels to the style or pace of teaching.
A good teacher will offer options, suggestions and modifications so that everyone participating feels included. Pay attention to what works for you and your body and remember you always have the agency not to participate in a posture that isn’t working for you. Your practice is there to support you - so take what you need on any given day. Feeling fatigued, take the child’s pose or book the restorative class. Need to move through sluggishness, book a dynamic session. When you begin to tune into how you feel and what you need, you can tailor your practice accordingly and truly reap the benefits from time spent on the mat.
Listen To Your Gut
There are lots of studios offering yoga. When trying out new venues or classes, listen to your instincts. Is the space welcoming and friendly? Does it feel inclusive? Is there an opportunity to speak to your teacher before or after class? Were boundaries respected? Did the teacher weave in elements of yoga philosophy or other aspects of yoga such as pranayama into the class? Your class should feel like a safe and supportive environment, if it doesn’t it’s time to check other other local studios or spaces.
Take The Support
Let go of the idea that yoga needs to look or be a certain way. Sure, it can be fun to work towards certain things like arm balances or increased flexibility, but as cliche as it sounds, the benefits really do lie in the process - and the process is continuous. In fact, if you can let go of the idea you may never ‘achieve’ certain postures and just be present with where you are each time you step onto the mat; that’s where the real yoga begins - in being totally present with body, mind and breath. When we cling too much to ‘achieving’ a posture - it can lead to frustration and a lack of presence.
Take the modifications, use the yoga blocks and straps, release the need to control any outcomes or meet any expectations and begin to see how your practice transforms.