4.) Stay calm when you trip, stumble or fall on your face. To reiterate
#2 and #3, everyone is focused on their own practice, and mistakes are
part of learning, so don't be embarrassed or frustrated! Sighing in
frustration, shaking your head or throwing a quiet mini-tantrum is only
going to distract others and make it harder for you to stay present in
your practice. Just chill out, take a few focused breaths and slowly try
again or take a break in Child's Pose until the class moves on.
5.) Don't worry about advanced poses. It might be tempting to turn your
yoga into something it's not: a platform to show-off your athletic
prowess. It's okay to have a goal pose and be proud of your
achievements, but you must learn to totally accept wherever you are
right now. Never be ashamed to rest or skip any posture you're not
comfortable with. Your practice will naturally build over time.
6.) Take a few minutes a day for yoga. Just a little each day (a few of
your favorite poses or just some breathing practice) will help your mind
and body more than 1 long class once or twice a week. Give yourself
peace and quiet to just tune in to your body, mind and emotions for the
day. Every little bit counts.
7.) Leave the baggy clothes out. There is a fine line between yoga
clothes and pajamas, so it might be tempting to wear that big loose
t-shirt or a comfy baggy shirt that makes you feel like a trendy yogi.
But trust me, as soon as you try your first Forward Fold or Downward
Facing Dog, that not-so-awesome baggy shirt will flip up over your head,
blinding, smothering and annoying you for the duration of class. Stick
with fitted tops.
8.) Clean and dry your mat. Don't suddenly be ashamed if you haven't
thought of it yet, but yes, yoga mats get dirty and yes, they should be
cleaned every once in a while. Be careful what you use to clean your mat, and keep in mind that full drying time can vary
from 24 hours to 3 days depending on the type of mat. Sometimes a mat
might feel dry to the touch until you get into your practice, so if your
mat ever feels damp or slippery, please don't hesitate to ask for a
spare for a safe and comfortable practice.
9.) No judging. You might hear gentle reminders in your yoga class to
"leave the ego at the door," "stay present in your own practice" or
reassurance that "no one is judging you." In yoga philosophy,
ahimsa—often translated as "non-violence" or "non-harming"—is a very
important practice of cultivating an attitude of loving kindness,
contentment, or non-judgment. We use this to create a welcoming
atmosphere when practicing in the studio for ourselves and others. So no one has to wear
that "newbie" sign around their neck.
10.) Ask questions and make requests! Your yoga teacher really loves
yoga and only serves to suggest poses and facilitate your learning. If
something doesn't feel right, you have an idea or you're curious about
why we do certain things we do, please let your teacher know so that
he/she can help you improve your practice! If you do not practice with a
teacher, I would encourage you to seek one out in your area that gets
you excited about yoga. If you are practicing with an online teacher, leave a review of the class or contact them via email with your questions. There are many types of yoga and teachers of all
kinds, but it's important to have someone to correct your mistakes,
help you in your journey and guide your practice.
10.5) Always respect regular class etiquette and your fellow students.
This tip only applies if you are practicing in a studio, and didn't deserve to be a full #11 tip because it's only common
courtesy. Arrive early or on time for class, do not bathe in overbearing
perfumes, be quiet and turn off your cell phone. Duh!
Hopefully these tips are encouraging for your yoga practice. Use them to
deepen your understanding of real acceptance among the yoga culture.
Save them, pin them, think about them or meditate on any that challenge
you. We could all use occasional little reminders for the simple things
sometimes, so don't forget these basics! Namaste.
By Rosslyn Kemerer
Rosslyn Kemerer is a yoga-lover, instructor and entrepreneur via
Wholehearter Yoga in Pittsburg, PA. With a love of nature and music,
Rosslyn teaches lots of outdoor classes and creates custom Indie
rock-inspired playlists. Outside of the studio, you might find Rosslyn
experimenting with a dicey DIY project, reading, playing drums,
gardening, running or blogging. Check out her blog for more inspiration!
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