Originally written for Fit940, I think these are always worth reading for anyone interested in yoga //
DO let go of your ego
And while you're at it let go of any preconceived notions you might have about who and what and how yoga is practiced. Yoga is ultimately free of gender, body type, race and all those other stereotypes Americanized yogic society might have mislead you by.
Yoga is a journey to the most authentic version of yourself. The term yoga means “to yolk,” or a union, typically with the self.
By letting go of those thoughts and our ego, we open ourselves up to possibilities we might not have even known otherwise. Come with an open mind and a willingness to practice.
DON'T think you have to be flexible.
I hear this all the time when people talk to me about yoga. "I'm not flexible. I'm so stiff." Thats actually exactly why you need yoga! when you stretch your body properly you increase range of motion and flexibility.. Yoga also been known to help with sciatica, scoliosis, joint issues, and the all too common issues of tight hips and back pain from repetitive motions in our daily lives such as sitting too much, poor posture, and the positions we manage to relax in.
DO find a class and yoga style that works for you.
There are many style of yoga and many different personalities in terms of teachers. Find one that fits you the best. I spent many years taking classes everywhere I went, and I would always think to myself, can my soul rest easy here? It was mostly a blanket statement to am I comfortable here, can I find what I’m looking for and what I need here? It’s ok not to like every class or style. We are all individuals with afferent needs and likes. That’s ok! The poses might always be a little uncomfortable but finding a practice that suits you the best will only aid in your yoga journey.
DON'T expect to do every pose perfectly or easily.
This echoes the part about losing the ego. Many of us either come in thinking we can do everything, and not liking challenges or we come in knowing we are novices but still struggle….and ultimately both parties get discouraged. Yoga is a challenge, with our bodies wanting to do things some days and others not. Accept where you are today, and you might even surprise yourself otherwise! Also, don’t compare to the abilities or bodies in your class. I tell every class teach to “stay on their own mat,” which means that your practice is your own and there is not “better than” or “less than” in yoga. We are, where we are.
DO wear something you’re comfortable in, and be prepared to take your socks off.
Yoga can be practiced in any clothes, it doesn’t have to be some high end matching set of leggings or shorts, but take into account you will be moving in many directions. Something that is snug to the body and not material falling all over your head when you’re moving is the most helpful but nothing so tight or complicated you’re constantly having to adjust. It happens, but I always try to think how can I minimize annoyances of clothing and focus on my practice. And when in a class setting, consider what might fall out or be seen, that you don’t want to share with the world.
Concerning socks, yoga is practiced in bare feet so you can not only properly grip the ground or mat, but it aids in utilizing all the muscles and tendons of the feet…often over looked but very important body parts. And in class don’t worry about your feet hang ups. No one is looking at your toes but you.
DON'T think yoga has to be hippie dippy, chanting, or anything more than you’d like.
There are many different styles of yoga and parts of practicing. Some might work for you, some might not. I always believe you can take what you need from yoga, but first you need to at least try new things. Maybe you had too much spirituality talk in a class. Just embrace the fact you can practice without at home or in another setting. Maybe you loved it and want to add chants, mantras, meditation and deeper meaning to your practice. You can do that, too! Yoga can be a phenomenal way to find meaning and purpose, along with a greater sense of self….but it’s a practice you work your way into the answers.