An Open Letter To Beginner Yoga Students
I know trying something new at whatever age you are is particularly scary, but remember everyone was a beginner at some point. Stepping into a room full a young, beautiful people with their elastic limbs wrapped behind their head is daunting but I promise you that won’t be the case. Please try and let go of all the pre-conceived ideas your mind is coming up with to talk you out of doing this. Your body and mind (eventually) will thank you for this… this could be the beginning of something amazing.
You might think you’re not flexible enough or not strong enough to do yoga - “Yoga isn’t about touching your toes, it’s what you learn on the way down” - Every one has days of feeling tight and weak, both physically and mentally, it’s about showing up no matter how you’re feeling and starting where you are on that day.
You might think that you’re too big, too short, too fat, too thin, too… and the list goes on. Yoga is for EVERYONE, no matter of your size, build, gender, ability. And it certainly isn’t about what you’re wearing or what you look like. You might think that everyone will be staring at you in class as a beginner but honestly, everyone is so focused on trying to understand the gobbledygook the teacher is saying, trying to comprehend which is their left or right food and concentrating on not falling over they haven’t even noticed you.
Maybe you’ve taken the step to look up your local yoga studio and have a peak at the timetable and that’s as far as you’ve gone because you’ve thought “Vinyasa what”, “Ashtanga huh”, oh my goodness I thought yoga was just yoga. And it is. But is also like going on a date - you don’t go on one date and think he or she is the one and that’s it. You date, you shop around, you try out until you find the ‘one’ you click with, that feels right, that you have a connection with. The same goes for yoga. Classes and teachers can be so very different so please don’t be put off by the first class you take, if you feel you didn’t click and have that instant connection. Get yourself out there, try, explore and find the one that is right for you. Find someone you trust to guide you. It's your journey, but your teacher can guide you on the road. Yoga isn’t a one size fits all, it is a very personal experience. But I promise you, you will find the right one and it will be life changing.
If you’ve been searching the web and social media for yoga, yoga classes, yoga poses, yoga help and come across the tons of photos and videos set on a beautiful beach or with a waterfall as a back drop with their limbs intertwined and one leg over their shoulder: please just note that is not what you will be asked to do in your first yoga class - maybe your second but most definitely not your first. (only joking)
Yoga is simply about breathing and moving. That is when we start to connect with ourselves, learning to understand all the ways our body and mind try to connect with us, and this is a tool we can use on and off the yoga mat. It’s a way of coming together and realising we’re all the same, despite age, gender, size. It’s all about being good, happy, kind, healthy people.
Yoga is not just physical exercise, nor is it a weight-loss program. Yoga is not only for flexible people or for women. Yoga is not a religion, or a cult, or a fad. Yoga is not a cure-all pill. Yoga is a practice and it is exactly that, we are always learning, changing and evolving on this crazy path. May your journey leave you challenged, inspired, humbled, and above all, the best possible version of yourself that you can be.