For many, New Year's day brings on resolutions of exercising more, losing weight, eating healthy and perhaps starting a yoga practice. There are things to consider and be aware of when starting a yoga practice to keep healthy, safe, and inspired to continue the practice after the introduction offer at the local yoga studio expires.
- Do some research on what type(s) of yoga the studio offers. There are several types of physical yoga practices and everyone is different in what works for them. Try out different styles, teachers and studios and find the one that is the right fit.
- Remember, it's called "practice" for a reason. Many times new students try to force themselves into more advanced poses before the body is physically strong enough or flexible enough to safely perform a posture. It may give some immediate sense of accomplishment or gratification, but could also lead to serious injury. The practice is hopefully a lifelong journey, so remember, there is no rush.
- Start with a beginner's class. Set the ego aside. Beginner's classes are beneficial and important to teach the basic foundations of a yoga practice, so that one can advance to more difficult poses in a safe manner. Yoga can be intimidating at first. There is a lot of alignment, breath work and new situations for a beginning student to digest. A beginner's class will allow a new student to feel safe and to practice in a more appropriate environment.
- Ask the instructor questions. If something seems confusing or unclear, ask the instructor. Either after class or call the instructor over during class. As with all things, there are no stupid questions.
- Be mindful of others in the class. People go to yoga for different reasons. Coming in late to class or being disruptive by blurting out things or talking to the people around you is disrespectful to the teacher and the other students. The yoga practice is a tool to allow the student to discover the inner Self, so focus is necessary.
- Keep practicing and don't get discouraged. Yoga is not easy. It is physical, mental, and emotional. It can bring things up in the student that are unexpected and not always easy to handle. But with consistent practice, the body will become stronger and more flexible, the mind will learn to focus and emotions will find a calmness.
Good luck and happy practicing in 2013.