Thinking about starting yoga but not sure itâ€™s for you? Read our Teacher, Gemma Witcomb’s advice.
There are loads of misconceptions about yoga that stop people giving it a go and they are all just that, MISCONCEPTIONS!
These are not really helped by the world of social media, size 4 models in eye-watering poses that make the average person feel somewhat intimidated and self-conscious.
It gets easier once you realise that these are not a representation of real life. Itâ€™s advertising! Most people in a yoga class are just normal people, with busy lives, busy minds and bodies that have a whole range of aches and pains. Just like YOU!
People also worry about the spiritual side of yoga, the chanting, meditating etc. That might not be your thing! Itâ€™s true it is a big part of yoga, in fact the goal of yoga in its traditional form is to reach spiritual enlightenment. However, that was yoga studied with gurus over years of exclusive practice and in one class a week, reaching enlightenment might be more of a stretch than splits!
A yoga class will help you quiet the mind, deepen your breath, and begin to introduce you to some of the concepts of the traditional texts, but we are not here to preach. If you want to find out more, you can take a workshop, read a book and your teacher can guide you. Itâ€™s up to you where you take it, itâ€™s not going to be forced on you.
Still not convinced? Have a look at my 5 Things Yoga Beginners Should Know to see if I can change your mind.
1) You donâ€™t need to be flexible to do yoga. Lack of flexibility is the most common reason people give for not starting yoga. Whilst practising yoga will develop your flexibility, yoga is a just that, a practice. We practice the stretches to improve flexibility and strength. Everyone is different in different areas of their bodies and flexibility is not the goal, itâ€™s a bonus!
2) A yoga class is a really friendly place. I know it can be daunting starting a new class but yoga is non-competitive, non-judgmental and encourages more openness and acceptance, both of yourself and others. You will find a real community of like-minded people within the yoga world. We are generally a super friendly bunch!
3) You donâ€™t need specialist equipment. So you donâ€™t have the latest brightly coloured leggingsâ€¦who cares?! Yoga is not about what you look like, itâ€™s about whatâ€™s going on inside. All you need are comfortable clothes you can move freely in, some layers to make sure you are warm during the relaxation at the end and thatâ€™s it! You may eventually want to purchase your own mat but your teacher will have some you can use to begin with.
4) You will always be able to modify the poses. Everybody is different and at the beginning you may need a modified posture to allow you to feel comfortable in the poses. Thatâ€™s ok! When you first start yoga there can be challenges, you spend a lot of time putting weight on the hands, kneeling and doing things with your body that you havenâ€™t done for years. You will always be encouraged to work with your body, to listen to it and modify poses. Like anything, it takes regular repetition to get stronger, more flexible and more in tune with yourself – it will come, be patient.
5) Your life will change! Itâ€™s a big claim, but if I didnâ€™t believe it, I wouldnâ€™t be teaching this amazing practice. Itâ€™s not just an exercise class. The ability to deepen and control your breath, find mental clarity and focus, freedom and ease in your body will spill over into your life. You will find it easier to deal with stress, have a restful nightâ€™s sleep, be more present, be kinder to yourself and more aware of what you really need to be the best possible version of yourself.
Have I convinced you?
If so try my 6-Week Beginners Yoga CourseÂ for the perfect way in, introducing you to all the basics and giving you the confidence you need. I canâ€™t wait to start this journey with you. This Course is 09:30am Thursdays in Hedge End, starts Thurs 2nd March – email firstname.lastname@example.org to book.