5 Things I Wish I Knew Before my First Yoga Class

YOGA

The most important pieces of equipment you need for doing yoga are your body and your mind. – Rodney Yee

I find yoga both beneficial and enjoyable. Introducing it into my life was challenging, though. Sometimes new changes (no matter how positive they are) seem to be a burden and we come up with 10 jars of excuses and rationalisations why we should take a pass and slide into our old ways.

Like with any healthy habit, I had to work out the mechanism so yoga would stick with me and contribute to my sustainable change. But before even starting my practice years ago I wasn’t aware of these 5 things I will share with you now.

5 Things I Wish I Knew Before my First Yoga Class

1. Forget Sport Illustrated

A photographer gets people to pose for him. A yoga instructor gets people
to pose for themselves. – T. Guillemets

For some reason, I completely forgot one teeny-tiny thing: “You are not a cover girl of Sports Illustrated. You are in a yoga class, darling.” That’s what I keep reminding myself whenever I go way too crazy with my asanas. That is never the point after all. Yoga is about finding that sweet sense of balance between body, mind and spirit. You do it for yourself and not for the sake of the competition in the class. Think and concentrate on YOUR OWN practice and where do you want to go from that point.

2. Regular vs.Vigorous

10 minutes of daily yoga practise is way better than 2 hours of yoga practise once a week or even once a month. Practicing yoga daily creates this sense of a never ending energy that becomes an undetachable part of your life.

I remember this sense of wooden limbs whenever my break from yoga was too long. That stiffness literally drove me insane. Naturally I’m flexible. Very. My current teacher jokingly says that I am abnormally flexible. That’s why the feeling of stiffness for me is unacceptable. So I prefer 5-10 minutes of yoga practise to none daily.

3. It’s Not a Catwalk Either

I had that twisted idea that my clothes should be up to the latest fashion and as tight as possible… Some people prefer floaty ones, some people prefer tight ones. And it’s fine. As for me, I prefer comfortable clothes that wouldn’t take my attention away from yoga class itself.

I used to have flashy sports bras and tiny tops with all colours of the rainbow. And personally, it didn’t do much for me. So in order to be less distracted – I chose calm colours of my clothes and gave into the notion of comfort.

When you are not comfortable in your clothes during yoga practise it takes your attention away, it freezes your movement.

Also, generally, it is a good idea to be prepared for the lesson. Do it on an empty stomach. It’s essential, trust me. Plus, if you wish to introduce a couple of asanas to your practice, study each posture before performing. Learn about the benefits and exercise in the best way suitable for you.

4. Pushing it Too Hard?! What For?

As I stated before, I’m naturally very mobile when it comes to yoga and when I have an opportunity to walk an extra mile to bend and twist, even more, trust me, I will never turn it down. And as a person, I’m also very impatient and I made it the case of my life to become, you know… more patient. Back on the subject. Whenever I perform any yoga asana I seem to have trouble remembering one obvious thing: to be kind to my own body, listen for its response without pushing it too hard.

Here's my teacher helping me to go an extra mile...

Here’s my teacher helping me to go an extra mile…

Ah, the joys of being “abnormally” flexible 🙂

Here's me face down enjoying the asana... ;-]

Here’s my enjoying the asana… Ah, and a fresh cut grass in Hyde Park ;-]

Why push too hard? What for? Yoga is about feeling good. You don’t want to be with sore muscles the next day wondering why you pushed yourself too hard. I’ve been there. Many times.

Me with a wide smile on my face... ;-]

Me with a wide smile on my face…

 5. Leave Instant Miracles to Fairytales

There is no need to rush and I cannot stress it enough. It is important to practise and notice slight improvements without expecting instant miracles.
There is no rush whatsoever and in yoga practice time is always on our side.


Main photo by DaMongMan

Lesya Li

Lesya Li

Founder, Head of Content at HavingTime
Lesya Li is a founder of HavingTime – a digitally native story magazine for people that need to share inspiration and be inspired.
Lesya Li
Lesya Li