Starting yoga is never easy. It isn’t just about joining a class and performing the poses required. There are quite a few struggles for those who really want to get the most out of yoga. If you are one of them… here are a couple of tips from instructor Tom Morley of Maha Yoga. These tips have helped me enjoy yoga to the fullest, and improved my practice.
1. Be Peaceful: Yoga’s primary goal is peace of mind – a fit body, increased flexibility, and improved health are just fortunate side effects.
2. Be Inclusive: Yoga is a user-friendly activity. It is for anyone, at any age, at any level of fitness.
3. Be Aware: Yoga is not gymnastics, it is a 5,000-year-old system designed to enhance self-awareness and well-being.
4. Be Silly: Bring a sense of humor to the mat. Learn to smile and laugh at yourself. Being overly self-conscious and critical is counterproductive in yoga and in life.
5. Be Sensitive: Feel more and think less. Focus on how you feel in a pose rather than how you should look in a pose.
6. Be Childlike: Be willing to make mistakes. The more so-called mistakes you make the better, because that means you are learning. Children are most often the fastest learners and, without a doubt, they make the most mistakes. They are not as judgmental and do not care about looking perfect.
7. Be Joyful: Approach yoga with a sense of joy and fun. Smile at your teacher and fellow students; they could probably use a boost of good energy.
8. Be Helpful: Yoga is not a competition with yourself or with others. It has nothing to do with competitive sports.
9. Be Consistent: Practicing yoga on a regular basis will make it easier and more familiar.
10. Be Adventurous: Try out different yoga studios, teachers, and styles until you find an appropriate fit. One size doesn’t fit all.
11. Be Lighter: Replace the “no pain, no gain” approach with one of lightness, joy, and ease.
12. Be Patient: Learning anything new takes time. Can you imagine trying to learn to play the violin in just a few lessons? The same applies to yoga.
13. Be Mindful: Pay attention as you inhale and exhale. Being aware of the breath is a very helpful and an essential part of yoga practice; it is referred to as pranayama.
14. Be Intelligent: Work smart, not hard. Yoga is more about self-love than imposing rigid self-discipline.
15. Be Real: Aim toward authenticity rather than perfection. Not only will you enjoy practicing yoga more, but you will also attract more genuine connections with others.
For those who are just starting out, follow these tips and trust your struggle. It is all worth it.