By Karey Goebel
These days it seems like everyone is talking about the benefits of yoga.
Yoga can soothe away stress and help you become fit, strong and flexible. Yoga has been scientifically proven to help lower blood pressure, relieve back pain and even improve memory and sleep!
If you are ready to give yoga a try, here are 6 pointers to overcome common mistakes new yogis make.
I own a yoga studio and nearly every day someone says to me, “I want to try yoga but I’m not flexible.”
Or they’ll say “I’d like to take a yoga class but I am too out of shape.” or “I’m too busy and stressed-out to add anything else to my life.”
These are exactly the reasons you SHOULD do yoga.
In yoga we recognize that each student is an individual. Regardless of your gender, age, size, flexibility or fitness level… truly, there is a yoga class that will be perfect for you. In fact, at our studio we teach everybody from professional athletes to great-grandmothers.
Students are not expected to have it all together on day 1 or even on day 1001! Through the practice of yoga, day-by-day, you’ll become more flexible, fit, calm, strong and balanced. Yoga is a practice. Just do it.
(Of course, talk with your physician before starting any new fitness activity.)
2) Build confidence by learning the basics.
When you are learning any new skill it’s important to learn the fundamentals. Go to a yoga studio and take a Beginner Class. In an intro-level classe, you’ll learn proper alignment, ways to adapt poses for your body, how to use props, names of postures, how to pace yourself and so much more.
Don’t jump right into more advanced classes right away. Higher level classes are not tailored to the Beginner student. The pace may be too fast. The poses may be too challenging and oftentimes a teacher will not be able to offer the assistance a beginner needs to practice safely.
3) Don’t compare yourself to others.
Yoga is not competitive. And no one is judging you.
Each of us is flexible and each of us is strong. And the way that these qualities show up in your body is unique to you. And your poses will not look exactly like your neighbors’ and that is OK.
4) Practice with consistency and be patient
The benefits of yoga …its beauty and grace unfold over time. Be patient. It took a lifetime for patterns of stiffness and pain to take root in your body and mind, and it will take time to change them.
In this world of rushing, pushing and striving yoga is an antidote. Its important to recognize that real, sustainable change is possible. Open up to the process and the practice. Show up for yourself. Ideally its best to practice two to three times a week. Many people around the world practice every day.
5) Try different classes, teachers and styles
Once you have a few Beginner classes under your belt, try some new classes, teachers and styles to see what you like. While there are classes for everyone, you may not love every class you attend. So sample a few to see which ones resonate with you.
6) Wear the right clothing.
You don’t need to drop hundreds of dollars on yoga gear. But you’ll soon find that loose-fitting, wide-legged shorts and baggy t-shirts can expose more than you’d like when you are in down-dog. So choose clothing that is comfortable and slightly snug so that it doesn’t fly-up when you are upside-down and there are no surprises when you bend-over.
Yoga can help you transform your life. And the most important step in your yoga practice is the first one that leads you to your mat.
Karey Goebel E-RYT 500 and her husband Matt Goebel own the one-of-a-kind yoga studio ONE Yoga Denver, in Denver’s DTC area. Together they teach a Beginner Class at Saturdays at NOON. Check out the ONE Yoga schedule here. They also own Inner Waves Organics an organic yoga clothing company.