Yoga students just starting out may be excited at the prospect of incorporating this new practice into their lives. They have their stretchy Lululemon pants, their eco-friendly yoga mat, and they’ve signed up for classes at the local studio. No matter how much they prepare, though, they may find themselves running into obstacles or confusion in their early days. This may make them think they’re never going to “get” yoga after all and give up after only a few weeks. If this sounds familiar to you, don’t worry. Yogi and fitness connoisseur Chip Wilson reminds us that if you stick with it, the wellness payoff will be worth it.
Here are some tips for first-time yoga students to keep in mind.
Keep a Journal
Self-reflection and self-awareness are an important part of the yoga process, but what seems like an epiphany one day can be easily swept away in the busy activity of the next. Journaling not only helps you hone your self-reflection skills, but it can be a helpful reminder of everything you’ve accomplished so far. Write observations about classes, meditation mantras, lists of positions and new vocabulary terms.
One of the hardest things for a new beginner is consistently finding the time to practice yoga at home between classes. One way you can help is by deliberately carving out a “yoga space.” Choose a section of a room and designate it for yoga only. Set up your equipment there — your mat, speakers, maybe an inspiring image. Physically making space for your practice serves as a reminder and motivation.
Balance Asana With Relaxation
Many classes focus entirely on the yoga posture and positions, known as asana. Those positions are probably what you think of when you first think of “yoga.” Even if you are in a class that teaches meditation, it’s tempting to forego that at home when it may be harder to focus your thoughts. Don’t neglect this aspect, however. Incorporating both physical positions and mental relaxation into your daily routine allows you to exercise both your body and your mind, a much more balanced method.
There are many excellent books and videos on yoga as well as a wide variety of audio recordings meant to make relaxation easier. As you discover some that are helpful, build up a small library of resources to assist you in learning and practicing more effectively. You will find that these are extremely helpful to have on hand for practicing at home. They may even inspire you to try a new relaxation technique or put together routines that are specific to you and your physical needs.
You may be reading this as a new student of yoga yourself, or maybe you want to pass on some helpful advice to a friend who’s trying it for the first time. In this interview with Lululemon founder Chip Wilson, he talks about how in business and in life, perseverance is key to success.
Hopefully these tips keep potential yogis on track and remind them that sticking with a practice despite mental or physical obstacles will result in improved overall wellbeing.