I was hoping to find five people, but much to my surprise, 25 people signed up! Apparently, there are a lot of people interested in yoga who need a safe place to start.
If you’re one of those people, here’s what I recommend. Ask around for recommendations for a yoga instructor. Yoga has become so popular that I’m sure you know someone who’s a student. Either inquire about private yoga or a beginning level class. If you decide on a class, ask about class size and if the instructor stays in front, demonstrating, or walks around helping and adjusting people.
Don’t eat prior to class, and don’t bring water with you, unless you want to drink it directly after class. Wear slip-on shoes as you will be removing them as soon as you get to the studio. Wear comfortable clothing that doesn’t restrict body movement, but don’t confuse comfortable with baggy. There are yoga positions, even in beginning classes, that may have you exposing skin you don’t want to show, if your clothing is too loose.
Make sure you arrive early to class on your first day to speak with the teacher. Introduce yourself, let her know you’re new to yoga and explain any body issues (arthritis, recent surgeries, glaucoma, high blood pressure, pregnancy, etc.) you may have. She’ll let you know what equipment you’ll need, and help you get settled in.
If your teacher offers you an adjustment, know that her intention is to keep you safe. If you’re not comfortable being touched, it’s OK to say “no thank you.” If you do receive an adjustment, feel free to give feedback about how it feels.
Be patient with yourself, don’t compare your poses to those around you, and keep an open mind.
After attending my very first yoga class, I left thinking, “That was stupid! We went from doing an impossible pose, to nothing, to doing another impossible pose! Then at the end, we just laid on the floor, doing nothing, for what seemed like forever! Don’t these people have anything better to do than just lay around?”
If someone would have told me back then that I would someday be a certified yoga instructor, I would have told them they were absolutely crazy.
Perhaps it’s because of my beginning experience that I have such compassion for beginners. Yoga is so different than anything else we do, that it’s not an easy thing to start. But, speaking from experience, it can be one of the most wonderful learning experiences you’ll ever have.
So start asking around. Remember that people come to yoga to become more flexible, so if you’re one of those people who claims, “I can’t do yoga, I’m not flexible enough!” you’re the one who should go.