Whether you’re new to yoga or have recently started a yoga practice, the tips below can help you gain your confidence in a class:
1. Don’t worry about what you look like
You may be worried about looking silly because you don’t feel that you are flexible enough. Don’t be. Yoga is not about looking like the teacher or anyone else in the class, it’s about looking like you. Our bodies are unique and it may not seem so at the time, but everyone looks and feels different in a yoga posture. Just focus on accepting yourself as you are, listen to your body and work towards the shapes of the postures.
2. Take your time
It’s especially important to start slowly if you are taking up a new exercise regime, to give your body time to get used to a new routine and way of moving. Avoid injury by using your breath to help you move in and out of postures and slow things down.
3. Listen to your body
Rest when you need to, especially if your energy levels are low or you are working with illness or injury. Your body knows what it can and can’t do and won’t hesitate to tell you. If something doesn’t feel right or causes you sharp pain, stop immediately. It’s normal to feel muscles pulling gently as they are moved into different positions, but sharp pain can be an indicator that certain movements are not right for your body. It’s important to learn the difference between the two sensations to avoid injury.
When you start your practice, your body is likely to already be holding a lot of tension and stress in it’s tissues. This may show up as tightness when you start to move the body. Breathe more fully and deeply when you practice yoga and you will start to notice both the body and the mind relax. You’ll be surprised how many people hold their breath in yoga.
5. Use props
If props are available, use them to help you. Props can be a valuable resource not only for beginners but for experienced yogis as well. They can lessen the effort needed to achieve a yoga posture and give you the support and space to understand what is happening to your body. They can also help you to isolate different muscles, adapting the postures to suit your body.
6. Ask questions
If you’re unsure of anything you are doing or feeling, ask questions. The teacher is there to help you and if you don’t ask, they may not know that you need help. Asking questions is one of the best learning tools and you may be educating others as well as yourself in doing so.
7. Don’t take yourself too seriously
There is a level of seriousness in anything that we do, but there are times when we just need to smile and laugh – often at ourselves. Laughter is contagious and at the same time releases tension which will benefit your frame of mind as well as your physical body.