Befriend yourself, experience yoga.
Say the word Yoga and there are two outcomes - eye-rolling in conjunction with an exacerbated breath or an interjected " I do Yoga" as soon as the word has fallen from your lips.
Why the polarity, while we do love polarity in yoga this draws upon a one of two camps scenario. You are either a yoga person or you are of the belief that yoga is for "those" people.
Who are those people and what do we know about them. Well let's start with the basics, they have a pulse, they have a mat, they regularly attend the same time class on a schedule that is fixed for them, they are learning because that's why they are going to "classes" they are looking for something else. That something else may well still remain for many undefined.
What do we know about our eye-rolling exacerbated breathers, they have either been to a yoga class previously and "HATED IT"... or they have not been at all yet have seen incredibly challenging inversion poses on some form of social media that has instantly blocked any self-belief that yoga for relaxation, depth of life experience or any other reason could at all be possible.
I instinctively want to tell you yoga is not a thing it is a vibe. Not my vibe, your vibe, your individual vibe yet I do think that if you are potentially in the latter camp then this may increase your potential eye-rolling expression. So let me try and explain it as if I would be reading the guide to a new destination I had yet traveled to.
Deciding on which type of Yoga you try is one of the most important steps in the whole experience. Do you want hyperphysical or do you want to break into a sparkle or do you want to calm your nervous system down in a very quiet class. Think of it in terms of Ibiza or Fiji?
Then you need to equip yourself with suitable clothing, I always want people to feel maximum comfort in their clothing. You are looking for clothing that you could wear like a second skin. That one outfit is going to be moving into shapes, yes regardless of the type of yoga you choose, all of them require you to be in certain shapes. With the exception of yoga Nidra which is incredibly beautiful yet completely still from the time the Nidra starts.
A mat, since covid my suggestion is that you take your own mat. A standard mat will be what you need. Unless you have been advised otherwise you may not need anything else - if you are doing hot yoga, take water.
Most importantly, most importantly be kind and be open to whats comes. This is an experience that you have chosen and the benefits yoga offers are really phenomenal so ride the wave of curiosity. Please park self-judgment. Please refrain from comparison it is just totally unnecessary. Befriend yourself enough to experience more than just the movement of yoga. Let go of the hold you have on what you think you can and can not do, that limitation is only related to movement, and movement is only a component of yoga, there is so much more to a class than just transitioning from pose to pose.
When you arrive at your class, find your space on the floor roll out your mat and then sit to find your breath, like anything else you try for the first or second time, you can feel a little unfamiliar in your surroundings. Be gentle with your beautiful heart and instead of looking around take the first few minutes to look for your breath. Slow it down and just reassure yourself this is for you and about you, nothing else.
For me I find two things happen in yoga, I notice how much my mind is racing from thought to thought to thought with nothing joining them. It gives me a chance to be incredibly intentional in my concentration. I filter quickly and then as my breathing slows I am able to slow down and dismiss the what feels like an endless to-do list. The other thing that happens in the yoga that I practice is I feel my body appreciate the nurturing I am offering it. As I move from pose to pose my body leans into the shapes almost being greedy in its seeking of comfort this movement brings. Slowly the rhythmic sensation of my breathing heightens my experience and I start to feel the world outside of myself fall away.
I know you know that there is no such thing as perfection, so don't shy away from yoga because it looks perfect on social media. In real life, there are very few classes that look like they do in social posts. Very few.
What there really is, what it really looks like is a group of humans, mums, dads, women, and men being kind to themselves and trying to learn how to appreciate the effort they are gifting themselves. Trying to learn how to create a tiny bit of space in between their thoughts so they too can claim a little more calm in their lives. e people like you and me are looking for freedom, space, kindness, and peace from the rigors of day-to-day life.
Be brave and be curious there are so many ways to explore a yoga experience. The best I have found is to explore it with an open mind and an open heart, from there anything is possible.
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