Leaving your comfort zone is where you grow and yoga continues to remind me of this.
Despite having an interest in yoga for a while, it took me a few years to attend my first class. I had a lot of nerves and excuses. “I’ll do it next week” or “maybe the week after”
I was really apprehensive walking into a yoga studio for the first time as a beginner. Starting something new can always be a bit daunting, but once I took the plunge and attended my first class, I soon realised that there was no need for me to feel this way.
I try not to label myself as having anxiety, but it was definitely my anxious thoughts holding me back, and I still get these anxious thoughts when I practice, even three years on. I’m sure lots of us do, and that’s totally fine. My anxiety presents itself in an annoying way, which impacts my studio practice and although I will never be at peace with this, I am learning how to live in harmony with it. Every time I finish a class I feel a sense of achievement no matter how it went – and so should you!
My first yoga class was for those new to yoga, and it was so beneficial to gradually work through postures and stretches and introduce these new movements slowly to my body. When you first start yoga, you may be putting your body into shapes that it’s never been in before, but have fun with this and take your time – your body was made to move!
With the minimal bit of experience I had, I then threw myself into a 75-minute Ashtanga class. This was a lot more intense than an intro class, and I found it really hard! I was anxious and shy so I went to the back of the class and didn’t announce myself as a new student, even though I had no idea what Ashtanga yoga was. BIG mistake. I was baffled that everyone knew what they were doing and I had to work so hard to keep up. I soon learned that you practice the same sequence each time, no matter where you are in the world and it didn’t take long for me to pick it up.
Three years on I think I can firmly say my heart is set on Ashtanga. I gain so much from coming to the same set of postures each day and doing them over and over. Each pose sets your body up for the one that follows, and once you know the sequence you don’t have to wonder what’s coming next. You can just be present in your mind, or wherever you need it to be that day.
What I appreciate about yoga, especially in challenging times, is how much it can offer. It provides a sense of community, it provides space and freedom for your mind, it provides challenge and calm, all wrapped into one. Yoga is reliable and can be practiced in a way that works for you, not the person next to you.
I feel so lucky to have that space on my mat that I can come to. I try to practice daily, but if it’s not possible that’s also ok.
There is never the right time to start yoga, you could wait until you feel ‘ready’ but I’m not sure if that exists. You could wait until you feel experienced enough, but that’s all relative.
There is never the right time to start, so all I can say is just start!
We have a New to Yoga 2 Hour Workshop for Beginners this Sunday, 31st Jan, 1.30 - 3.30pm for those who want to find somewhere to begin! Perfect for beginners or those returning to yoga after a while, this session will give you the chance to explore the basics of a yoga practice, learn some of the postures you'll find in a yoga class, and practice some breathing techniques and relaxation postures to take home.
Expect a warm and safe space for you to relax and drop into yourself, exploring practices that will help you cope better with stress and improve your strength, flexibility and focus. Come away more confident to explore regular classes and workshops we have on our schedule.
Sign up here on our website or drop us an email on [email protected] for more info. The Workshop is £15, with a 7 day playback option for you to rewatch at your own time and leisure if you can't make the exact date and time.