Yoga Wants You! 5-Step Plan to Help You Start Today
If I had a zafu for every time someone has told me that they’ve always wanted to try yoga but couldn’t quite seem to get started, I’d be sitting for meditation amongst the stars. It’s a sentiment I can fully understand, because I felt it myself for several years before I finally got up my nerve and tagged along with a friend to my first yoga class.
It’s difficult to define exactly what that urge was, because I knew hardly anything about yoga at the time. But, like 'the line where the sky meets the sea' to Moana, it called me. Eventually, I overcame my natural reticence, my aversion to group activities in general and group exercise in particular, and my completely human fear of the unknown and crossed the threshold of a yoga studio.
In retrospect, it’s easy to say that the hurdles to starting yoga are easily jumped, but I know that they can be high and scary. The following five steps are the ladder that's going to get you over the top. Once you're inside, I hope you'll stay awhile.
1. Trust Your Gut
Your mind can come up with a lot of reasons why it’s not a good idea for you to start doing yoga today. I’m sure you have to wash your hair (overrated), you can’t touch your toes (so overrated!), and you may not be entirely sure why you want to do it in the first place. But on some level you do want to, so that’s the level you need to get on.
Maybe it’s a base physical level or maybe it’s some kind of higher plane, but it really doesn’t matter. Just go with it. The paradox here is that once you get a good dose of yoga, you’ll get a lot better at tuning out that Negative Nelly inside your head but you have to be the chicken before you can lay the egg. (What? That totally made sense.)
2. Gear Up
Do you have yourself? Ok, you’ve got everything you need! Chances are you already have some stretchy pants or shorts and a suitable T shirt or tank top. Don’t let your lack of a special yoga outfit be an impediment. Yoga studios and gyms have all the equipment you’ll need for the 'casually dating' phase of your relationship.
3. Let’s Make a Deal
Yoga remains a mystery if you’re on the outside looking in. It’s hard to put yourself into situations where you don’t know what you’re doing. So make a deal with yourself to try just one class, because after that very first class you’ll know so much more. You’ll know what you liked about it and what you didn’t (less chat, more sweat, for instance) and that gives you something to go on for class number two. Even if you suffered through the entire thing, did you feel better afterward? Lighter, clearer, happier, maybe? You just tasted the magic!
4. Taste the Rainbow
If you didn’t taste the magic, don’t give up on yoga just yet. There are so many different styles, classes, studios, teachers that you may still yet find the yoga of your dreams. Give it a few more classes, phone a friend (see below), and maybe one of those will click. If not, you gave it an honest try. We can’t win the hearts and minds of everyone, just the most sensitive, intelligent, and beautiful people.
5. Phone a Friend
I know you have a friend that does yoga. They probably drive you crazy all the time talking about how awesome it is. Make this person’s day by asking them to recommend a class for you, or, better yet, take you to class with them. Yoga people have strong opinions about which classes are worthy of your time. Listen to them, because finding a teacher you like is one of the keys to becoming a yoga regular. Getting a recommendation from someone you know really helps.
Perhaps most importantly, remember that everyone who does yoga was once a beginner. Most yoga classes are lovely, welcoming places. If you really want to see a yoga teacher light up, tell her it’s your first class. Yoga wants you because we want to share the benefits we experience with all our friends. All you have to do is make it through the front door.
P.S. Check out our Beginner's Guide for even more tips for newbies!