I find it difficult being a “beginner” in anything. I have been on this earth for 49 years and I’ve learned a lot. I’ve even accomplished some things during my life, so to start something “new” can be quite challenging.
Starting a yoga practice is no different.
Here are top 5 challenges faced by new yogis and my suggestions on how to overcome them.
1. Being unprepared – It is important to have a yoga mat. Starting out, I used my Jazzercise mat, which was padded and comfortable for that type of workout. It did not serve me well in yoga class. Yoga mats are thin and sticky to help with stability. We use our hands and feet often during class, so a sticky stable mat is important to our safety. See my post on recommended yoga mats here.
2. Slowing down – In general, we are used to rushing and doing things in a hurried manner. Many “beginner” yoga classes move at a slower pace for a reason. It’s important to give everyone time to learn the poses and to feel their bodies in each pose. Also, as a beginner, try to arrive to class at least 5 minutes early to allow yourself extra time to get settled before class. If you arrive, right before class starts, then your chances of slowing down and truly being present diminish, thus sabotaging your experience.
3. Being uncomfortable – As stated before, we all experience some discomfort when starting something new. However, one of the main areas of discomfort I see in new yogis is standing on your bare feet. This isn’t anyone’s fault, it’s a result of the kinds of shoes we wear everyday. So, take a few minutes each day and just stand with bare feet on the floor, not a carpet. This will help you to feel more comfortable on your feet.
4. Being intimidated – New yogis do not know what to expect in a yoga class. Many think you will have to do intricate poses displayed all over social media or that you have to keep up with everyone else in class. Neither is true. First, make sure you start with either a “Beginner friendly” or “Gentle” yoga class. Next, start where you are. Yoga means “union with self and the Divine (God)”. Focus on you and allow yourself time to grow in your practice.
5. Trouble meditating –Many beginners have a difficult time with meditating in class. This is the time when we prepare our minds for class by settling down and focusing on the breath or a mantra. Meditation doesn’t have to be complicated. Sit quietly, close your eyes and focus on your breathing. If you can do that for 5 – 10 seconds, you just meditated. It’s normal for our brains to have thoughts. Meditation doesn’t stop us from thinking; it helps us to control our mind and not the other way around.
So tell me, which of these apply to you? Are there other challenges, I didn’t mention? Leave a comment below.