So, you've been thinking about taking up Yoga? YEY! That's great - just thinking about it is the first step.
With anything new, it starts off as a seed in our minds, consciously or otherwise. Perhaps you've read about the benefits of yoga somewhere or someone you know keeps banging on about how brilliant yoga has been for them. Sure, we hear all the time how it is good for us. But until you've had a felt experience and you've reaped those benefits for yourself, it's just a concept.
Sometimes, there isn't much time waiting around before we try something for the very first time, to experience that concept. And other times, it takes some time to get used to the idea, to summon the courage and muster the energy. However long your seed has been there, I'm here to give you a little nudge on your way and to help tend to that seed...
Who's yoga for? Everybody.
That's right; every body.
Despite what some yoga influencers may represent on their Instagram pages, yoga need not be a way of contorting your body into crazy shapes or to fit an image. That's just one tiny angle that we see of the huge and varied yoga spectrum.
Yoga is about taking the time to connect with your breath and body. It's as simple as that. Sure, by practicing yoga, over time your body will become stronger and more flexible - and while it's important to show up for our physical wellbeing, it's also important to remember yoga is so much more than that.
It's an exploration of body, mind and spirit. Of creating a union between them and finding harmony within them. A yoga practice is just that, something that we practice. Something that we can return to, time and time again as we evolve, adapt and grow throughout our lives.
When I've been that person above, (banging on about how good it is, not contorting), imploring...
'You ought to give it a try'
I've often received the reply,
'I want to do yoga, but I'm not flexible'
Which one of my teachers in India compared to saying 'I want to take a shower but I'm not clean'. I'd hope that whenever one's feeling unclean, they jump in the tub rather than continue to become dirtier.
So let's jump in!
Yoga at its core is an inclusive practice for all and it needs to be accessible for all, so that everybody has the opportunity to harness the incredible tools that yoga offers.
Are there different styles?
Yoga asana (postures) and pranyama (breath work) can be practiced in various ways and countless styles to ensure they work for you. Whether that be yoga on a chair, slow yoga, yoga close to the ground, restorative yoga, yoga with modifications and yoga with many, many props.
There are always options to make sure you feel good in your body while practicing yoga, and in turn, nourishing your mind and your soul too!
Why is it so beneficial?
Our bodies need to move and stretch, otherwise eventually our joints stiffen and muscles tighten and we may experience pain. Yoga serves as a beautiful therapy to feel our bodily sensations and experience the range of movement that is available, even if that's limited to start with.
Yoga is defined as non-competitive - be that with others and ourselves. There's no end goal or final finish - every posture has an infinite depth, that only you can tap into, each and every time you step on to your mat.
And it will be different each time too, which is totally okay - that's part of the process. For me, it's a way to come back to living in the moment - to notice, listen, accept and cultivate compassion for myself and others.
Is there anything I need to know before I start?
So! You've decided yoga you want to join a yoga class, for the first time!
This is exciting. I know it can feel nerve-wracking but I am here to assure you that you're not alone in that feeling. We are all beginners at some point, in every facet, in every activity we choose to partake in. It's humbling to be new at something and to feel out of our comfort zone; there can even be magic in those moments of growth.
But rest assured; your yoga teacher will do their best to ensure that you feel welcomed, by creating a safe and comfortable learning environment. If for any reason you don't feel comfortable or safe, it's okay to look for another yoga teacher. We don't always click straight away with our teachers, so it's okay to try it again with someone different if the first one you find didn't quite fit. And feel free to ask questions!! Give the teacher feedback and comments so they can assist you in your learning.
Isn't yoga really serious?
It's also worth mentioning; yoga doesn't need to be strict and it isn't always serious. More than anything, it's an opportunity to explore what feels good in your unique body. Among the calming vibes, the deep breaths, the energetic movements, the physical and emotional release, and the moments of peaceful meditation, there can also be lots of playfulness and fun to be had. Smiles, conversation, experimenting, falling and getting back up again, laughter, connection - there is space for all of this and more on your mat.
So don't take it so seriously! I invite you to have fun learning this new practice, where you can show up exactly as you are!
Ok great, what do I actually need for my first class?
Our 'New to Yoga' Workshops/Courses are specifically designed for beginners but as well as a yoga mat, you may want a few things nearby to make yourself more comfortable.
Here's a list of props we recommend for our beginners:
+ A bolster (or a couple of firm cushions)
+ Yoga bricks/blocks (or two thick hard back books)
+ A cosy blanket or two
+ A yoga strap (or tie/dressing gown tie)
You can expect our 'New to Yoga' class to help you feel more grounded, rested and balanced. And they're all things we can never have too much of, right?
Once you've experienced the Beginners Workshop/ Course hopefully you'll feel more confident in trying out other classes on the schedule. I'd recommend sampling any of the following regular Trika classes from the list below.
- Gentle Flow
- Yin Yang Flow
- Intuitive Slow Flow
- Flow and Meditation
- Calming Hatha
- Grounding Hatha
- Movement, Meditation and Mantra
- Grounding Vinyasa
- Gentle Restorative Flow
It's worth mentioning that all teachers bring different flavours to each style, so try a few and find what resonates for you.
I've been teaching beginners yoga for some years now, and it strikes me how common it is to hear the goal; 'I want to touch my toes'. That seems to be the marker to showcase flexibility and mobility for a lot of people. And while having relaxed hamstrings and an open posterior chain is beneficial for functional movement, remember;
"Yoga is not about touching your toes. It is what you learn on the way down"
– Jigar Gor
Enjoy the journey!
If you're reading this before 21st Feb 2021, then we have a New To Yoga Workshop running on this date, Sunday 1.30-3.30pm via Google Meet!
You also receive a 7 day playback option when you sign up, so don't worry if you can't join live, you can still try out this 2-hour beginners yoga workshop at a time that works for you!
Book your Beginners Workshop here.
To book any of our weekly classes, have a look at our schedule here.