So, it's January. A month when so many of us decide "now is the time to..." do whatever it is we've been thinking of but haven't quite gotten around to. For some people that statement will be "now is the time to start doing yoga" - and what a great idea! The cold winter months are a wonderful time for learning to breathe, move and think in a more healthy way.
Unfortunately, for some people the thought of a yoga class is daunting. There's a very disappointing misconception floating around that you have to be 1) flexible 2) skinny and 3) female to be "good at" yoga.
To help bust these myths and make your foray into yoga go more smoothly I have a few pointers:
1. Forget the idea of being "good at" yoga. If yoga teaches us anything it's to let go of these types of expectations and enjoy the moment instead. So as long as yoga feels good, you're doing it right.
2. Yoga helps improve flexibility. If you were already perfectly flexible you wouldn't really need it! Don't worry about how flexible you are when you start. Instead notice how your flexibility improves as you keep practicing!
3. Find a class and a teacher that's right for you. If you've never spoken a word of French, but sign up for a level 3 university French class anyway, you're setting yourself up to be disappointed! Same goes for yoga. If you are a beginner, start in a beginner class. You'll learn the foundations of the practice and be more confident.
4. Men - if you go to a yoga class and you are the only man there (or one of very few) the women in the room are NOT thinking "what's he doing here?". Instead, they're thinking "wow, I wish my man would do some yoga!" Be a good role model for other would-be male yogis and keep coming to class despite the excess of estrogen.
5. If you try it once, and dislike it, try it again. Really. Learn about what's available in your area and try a few different classes until you get a sense of what's out there. There are so many styles and varieties of yoga that there's bound to be one for you. At least give it a fair chance.
If you're a beginner and you're reading this blog, you're already on your way to finding the yoga that's right for you. If you're a regular yoga practitioner and this post makes you think about someone you know who's hesitant to try the practice, send it to him or her and offer to join them for their first class! Either way, enjoy yoga and life in 2010 :)