As with everything in life, the first steps in Yoga are the hardest. All Yoga is Yoga for beginners because all Yoga is for everyone but there are ways to ensure that the start of your Yoga journey is a positive one.
Movement or stillness? Posture or meditation? Vinyasa and power-flow are probably the most well-known styles of Yoga in our Western world. But often, a dynamic and fast-paced class like Vinyasa can be intimidating and overwhelming and has the ability to leave newbies feeling like Yoga is too hard for them. It is not that Yoga is not for you but rather that, at this stage, Vinyasa or Power may not be the right fit for you (yet – if that is what you want form your practice). Often, these classes are not tailored to Yoga for beginners. Choose a slower, more gentle style such as Foundations, Hatha or Mellow Flow that suits your pace and gives you time to find your feet and learn how to breathe. At the same time, the stillness and intensity of a Yin class can be excruciating for someone just starting. Meditation might be the right entry point for you? Learn how to walk before trying to run.
Give yourself the time before your first few classes, to chat to the teacher and let them know you are a newbie. Ask anything you are unsure about and give yourself the space to figure out the lay of the land (or studio) rather than rushing in last minute and hoping for the best. You will also need to register before your first class so allow an extra few minutes there.
This might seem a little controversial – you’d think at first, being as close to the teacher as possible is best right? In reality, most teachers don’t really demonstrate much as they would rather connect with the peeps in class. So the easiest way to see what is going on is to see the other students doing it. And that is really hard from the front row. Also, the back row can feel safer and less exposed, leaving you to focus on learning and trying.
EVERYone is a beginner at some point. We all struggled, stumbled, felt like we were going to break. Your practice will keep changing and expanding but you have to start somewhere. The good thing is that in Yoga, there is no right or wrong and the only one judging you is yourself. Everyone else is busy focusing on their own Yoga. If you do nothing more than observing your breath for even a minute, you have already had a perfect Yoga class.
Every class is different, every teacher has a different style and some might suit you better than others. Allow yourself to find your Yoga.
The poses don’t matter. The only reason we practice them is to bring comfort to the body in order to be able to sit still and breathe, meditate, turn inwards. Make your breath your primary focus and the poses will eventually follow.