Starting a new hobby/sport/activity is really scary to me.
I’m rarely the one to jump head first into something without doing ample research on the topic and finding somebody to go with me. While using energy to read through articles and blog posts looking for advice on a new activity, like yoga, may seem like a waste of time to some, I have the feeling there are others out there who may be like me.
I took a semester of yoga in college and enjoyed it, but getting back into the saddle years later was different. I wasn’t going to be in a workout room in a familiar building on campus and I wasn’t going to be attending classes with a bunch of friends. It was new and scary.
The articles I read online to remind myself of the proper etiquette for yoga studios all said the same thing…breathe, turn off your phone, and show up early…I get it, but isn’t there more?
So I’m here today to give some tips for new yoginis and those looking to start practicing yoga:
Find a deal
If you’re going to a class that isn’t at your regular gym, take some time to do a bit of research. I used Yelp! to find local studios in my area and compared their introductory offers and their monthly rates. While a studio may have a $10 for one week of unlimited classes special, what am I to do when I fall in love with the studio and find out that the monthly cost (for unlimited classes) is $110?
Have multiple studios in your area? It wouldn’t be a bad idea to test out a few of the introductory offers from different studios. $25 for two weeks of unlimited yoga at one place, a different deal and a second and third place…you’re bound to find a studio you like.
Also check out those daily deal sites (Amazon Local, Living Social, Groupon, your local paper, etc.) for deals on memberships in your area. Do keep in mind that the shift in clientele may be drastic immediately following the deal, so don’t judge your studio based on the students and focus on the teachers and ambiance.
Borrow a mat
…and a block, and a strap, or whatever else you’ll need for class. A handful of studios (including mine!) provide all the tools/equipment necessary for the classes offered for free. If you don’t own these items, call ahead to see if the studio has a few extra mats and blocks for students to use for classes…and if there is a charge. I know of some studios in my area that charge for everything…including a simple hair tie.
While using the same mat as a stranger may sound icky, plopping $10-$120 on a mat you may never use again can be a bit risky. I had to buy a new mat because the one I used in college was gross. I got a super basic one on sale for $16 and used it for a few weeks…until I started moving into classes where sweating was common…and I started to slip, literally. I invested more money for a higher end mat (a Manduka eKO Lite Yoga MatI’m in love, it’s seriously my baby) and the other one is a backup I keep in my car. If you don’t have the extra cash, borrow, borrow, borrow.
Don’t give in to the pressure of
buying ‘nice things’
I fell into this hard and fast. I love Lululemon, but $90 for a pair of tights makes me cry on the inside. Instead of running out and buying a whole new set of clothes, take a look at what you already have. A regular shirt from last year’s Turkey Trot and a pair of yoga pants you bought in hopes of achieving ‘yoga butt’ without the work will do just fine. As you move through your practice and find that you prefer tank tops and crops to your current attire, remember: there are perfectly good brands out there that do not cost an arm and a leg. Buy what is best for you, your budget, and your practice.
While the assumption that you believe in some
sort of higher power is there, it isn’t necessary
I’m not going to go on a rant about how I feel when a teacher or studio assumes I believe in some sort of higher power or that I want some sort of spiritual aspect to my practice. But what I will say, is that the instructor or studio may make this assumption, but don’t let it turn you away from your practice. Maybe find another teacher, or use the time during the practice where they ask everybody to do some chanting to a higher power as a practice in meditation for yourself. This is your practice.
Don’t be afraid to smile or laugh
It is ridiculous for something to think that I’m going to be mature enough to not laugh if I start flailing around while in tree pose. Or to not smile as somebody gets into crow for the first time…ridiculous! If this is my practice, I’m going to laugh, gawk, smile, and may even fart one day! Don’t let others shame you into being a robot.
Try out different teachers
This may be common sense to anybody else, but I didn’t think to try out different teachers even if it is the same class level until I read a few blog posts. That totally makes sense! There are some teachers with whom I totally connect, and others that I wouldn’t necessarily follow to another studio. I think the best example of this was when I took a Beginning/Level 1 class (you’re not really a beginner anymore, but you may not be ready for the next level up) from one teacher and I felt like it was a waste of my time (this should never, ever, ever, ever happen. It was a fluke and hasn’t happened since) and didn’t want to take that type of class again…but I went back and took a different teacher and boom, in love.
Do you practice yoga?
What advice would you give to somebody trying yoga for the first time?
What is keeping you from trying yoga?
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