Starting yoga practice can be intimidating. Going to a class for the first time is not something that most people actually look forward to. And, getting started on a regular yoga practice routine can be even more involved for some people with very busy lives.
Today’s article is about how to get started with a yoga practice, developing a personal routine and how to make it work for you. You can find the original article here.
The First Time: Developing a Personal Yoga Practice
I’m about to tell you two things most yoga studios probably don’t want you to know: yoga is meant to be free and you can do it anywhere. That is not to diminish in any way the value of working with an experienced instructor in a designated sacred space, but rather to encourage a personal practice into your lifestyle.
Described are the benefits of self-practices, advice about how to perform them, and important things to keep in mind upon doing so.
Do it because it’s good for you.
Aside from the obvious perks of avoiding traffic, skipping parking lot fights, and missing a class due to an altered schedule, you have the opportunity to learn much about yourself. You’ll not only find confidence in autonomy, but you’ll also be able to practice in accordance with your body’s more specific needs. Besides, as charming as it can be to turn into your neighbor’s energetic aura, do you really need to brush her sweaty arm every time you take surya namaskar? Not necessarily.
Do it like this.
It can be scary the first time.
Building confidence is the key to mastering the art of self-practice. Before you decide to take on your first session, perhaps begin to deepen in-class attention paid to the patterns your body already knows. All those times you’ve anticipated your instructor’s directions — though sometimes too soon– or decided to practice a progression or regression of a pose without being told, are instances in which your body let you know it already has the intelligence of an independent practice within. Always listen to instructors and practice patience ardently, but take those passing moments as signs that you are ready to supplement your study of yoga with your own teachings.
Set the mood.
Do it outside, do it at home, and do it with the lights on or off. If done in a public space, either be brave enough to overcome curious stares, or set aside a chunk of time in which you can travel to a more secluded space. Select a setting that complements your personality, whether you are a tree or ocean kind of spirit, or both, and plan accordingly.
If at home, create a sacred space and a focused energy. Hide or move to another room all your electronic devices, close the doors, open the windows, turn up your heater to erase the room’s chill, and remove distractions such as clutter. Before you roll out your mat, perhaps light some candles, burn some incense, and set your desired lighting. Some enjoy practicing in silence while others enjoy the aid of a good playlist, so experiment with both forms and identify which works best for you.
Let it feel good.
Listen to what your body wants to do. If you feel particularly lethargic or active, honor that particular feeling and design your practice around such. Never force your body to do anything too strenuous for your current mental state, but if you feel appropriately, by all means give yourself a challenging workout. Typically, warmer days and seasons entail more cooling practices, while chillier ones necessitate heating ones. Keep in mind, then, how different poses affect your body, engaging more effort and energy when necessary, and also more inward focus and expansion when appropriate.
Play with yourself.
Spice up your practice by throwing yourself some challenges here and there. Explore variations you may not try in class, and consider focusing intent on the thing that most challenges you, whether that is adductor muscle flexibility or finding stillness. You may accomplish something you haven’t dared to attempt in a room full of other people.
Rest well afterwards.
Leave a surplus of time for savasana and consider the option of taking that energy into a meditation. Set a gentle sounding timer for about seven minutes and allow your entire being to sink into this still and satiated meditative state. When you blink open your eyes, you will feel reborn.
Do it regularly.
Just as you would develop a consistent pattern of attending classes, you should consistently practice yoga on your own. Consider scheduling personal practices in your agenda so you are more likely to commit to them, and be patient with your ability to guide yourself through a session.
Do it like a pro.
One of the most wonderful things about yoga is that is does not function hierarchically. Though students certainly respect teachers and teachers have much to offer to students, teachers learn significant lessons from their students, as do students from other students. Opting to pick up a book, then, or deciding to take class from an instructor, marks not a regression, but a positively regarded step closer to enlightenment. A true yogi constantly learns and grows from all others, and should always seek further guidance.
Starting a yoga routine can be very fulfilling, especially if you take the advice of this article. Starting yoga on your own can be even more fulfilling than taking a class. However, classes with good instructors will help you improve your postures. Be sure to take to heart what the instructor says in the class and especially what they say to you personally.
If you’d like to get started with yoga at home you might like to check out this yoga video.
Be sure to add this article to your Facebook page so your friends can gain the same benefit with starting yoga on their own. It’s based on one of the strongest styles of yoga practice, but designed for beginners.