Well, before we even get started it’s worth noting that this ^^ is probably harder than it looks! If you’re thinking of getting your yoga on, teacher and writer Emma-Louise Newlyn shares 10 things you need to know…
1 It’s not about touching your toes….
One of the most common responses I get when I tell someone I’m a yoga teacher is: “Oh, you must be really flexible, I can’t even touch my toes!”
2 There are a lot of different classes to try…..
Vinyasa, Hatha, Kundalini, Sivananda, Ashtanga, Iyengar, Restorative, Yin – if these words are all new to you, then a little bit of research before you head to your first class.
There are now so many different styles of yoga to choose from, that each class has the potential to offer your body and mind something completely different. If you’re looking for something active and strengthening, then vinyasa flow or power yoga is likely to feel good to you, and if you need to deeply relax and unwind for the entire time, a restorative or yin class will serve you better.
3 It’s not as easy as it looks….
If all of this bending and breathing looks way too relaxing for you, then give it a try for yourself….
4 Take your socks off…
Just trust me on this one.
5 Move with your breath, and at your own pace….
Mixed levels classes are growing in popularity. It doesn’t mean you need to do exactly what the person next to you does.
6 You’ll discover a lot of things about yourself: the good, the bad and the ugly
One of the most important aspects of yoga is svadhyaya or ‘self study’, in which we’re encouraged to acknowledge and reflect upon ourselves and the way we act in the world. If we’ve been too busy to notice certain things about ourselves, this can be pretty shocking when we’re given the opportunity to spend just a few moments with our minds and their crazy ways of working.
You’ll be confronted time and time again with things that make you realise how amazing you are, but also with things you might not have anticipated. A yoga practice reveals to us whether we have a tendency to push ourselves way too far, whether we have the courage to try something we’re unsure of, and how we handle ourselves when we meet a challenge. Be willing to discover parts of yourself you didn’t know you had – physically and mentally.
7 It takes time
Maybe you’ve heard how celebrities got their amazing ‘new’ bodies through practicing yoga, or how athletes have found it to be an amazing tool to totally focus the mind. Of course, yoga offers all of this, but it might not all happen in your first class. We live in a ‘McDonalds’ society, in which we tend to expect everything to be instantly available to us.
8 Resting is as much a part of the practice as everything else
When someone decides to rest in Balasana or ‘child’s pose’ in class, this doesn’t mean they’re weak at all, it means they understand their body and actually listen to it.
9 If you attend a Vinyasa Flow class, it’s very useful to know what a ‘Vinyasa’ is….
It’s ‘a method of yoga in which vinyasa movements form a flowing sequence in coordination with the breath’ – in case you were wondering…
OK, so this is the real reason the class even exists in the first place: to teach us how to breathe better, and how to sit with ourselves for more than 2 minutes without feeling dreadfully uncomfortable.