Newbie…YOGA 101…huh, that sounds familiar! But I’m not here to talk about our recent name change from YOGA 101 to ReSoulution. I’m here to talk to you about being a newbie in the world of YOGA. With our “Newbie” course starting on March 16th, I thought that this would be the perfect time to answer all your questions; if you are anything like me when I began, there are many.
Why yoga? I don’t bend that way you may be thinking! Well…I thought that very same thing the first night I entered the studio. There are a number of reasons to start practicing, all personal to each individual, from wanting to start some form of physical activity to wanting to have a reason to be in the moment and reduce stress or just to see what all the hype is about.
I still can’t do some of the postures or poses perfectly, but I have shown vast improvment in many ways, including; balance, strength, flexibility and mental wellness which is why yoga is called a “practice”. The more often you practice, the stronger you become, both physically and mentally. The skill is learning to be within yourself; you are not competing with any one during your practice and are completely inwardly focussed. Each time we come to our mat, we strive to be in the present moment via breathing practices and mental focus. Though occasionally I am guilty of wondering “how DO they do that” upon noticing others…again it’s a “practice” not a perfect!
What do I wear? When I began I hadn’t any yoga buddies and therefore didn’t know who to ask. I searched and searched for the perfect outfit, but guess what? Yoga doesn’t have a perfect outfit! You can wear anything comfortable, and easy to move in. I would personally suggest a more fitted top so that it doesn’t fall up over your head while in the downward facing dog posture. So long as you’re comfy, you’ll fit right in! Oh, and no socks! The feet play a key role in the practice of yoga and teachers love to see your little piggies!
How to set an intention? Alright! So you made your way into a yoga studio and you’re totally paying attention! Wait, did the instructor just say “mindfully set an intention for the class”? “What does that mean? Like, I intend to finish this class?” Intention setting can be anything you wish, perhaps to just get through your first class, or to focus on your alignment for your postures, or to be mindful of your breathing or to keep a positive mantra (self talk) while in poses which challenge you. It can be anything; simply keep it in mind while you’re practicing. As for being in the moment … I have a huge chore list and work tomorrow, these are exapmles of the mind stepping out of the present! But here’s the thing, once you start following along with the breathing; that laundry list of to-dos just slips away, for a little while at least. The more we practice, the more mindful we become.
What is Savasana? Ahh…now for agruably the best part…savasana! This, I can do!! Lay on my back and think of nothing, I am on it! ….”I wonder what’s on tv tonight”…Oops, back to thinking of nothing…”take me down to paradise city, where the grass is green…” Ah! I did it again…here we go, back to nothing… This is something that I still struggle with during my own practice. How to just “be mentally still”. I do my best to lay back and think of nothing, but I admit, it is difficult some days.
Here are a couple of tricks that I have been taught. Sometimes the mind is busy, and it simply cannot be helped, but become aware of the quality of those thoughts. Become accutely aware of all of the thoughts that the mind wants to think while in Savasana. Just be “the silent wittness” of each thought without judgement, and try not to become wrapped up in the thoughts themselves. Since there is really nothing more ever present than our own breath, it can be very helpful to simply focus on your own breath as it enters and exits the body. You can even create a subtle visual to coincide, such as waves rushing into and out from a shoreline.
Now…take a deep breath in…and join us at the studio!