Getting into yoga as a beginner can feel intimidating.
Whether you are inflexible like me (true confession — I can’t even touch my toes) or comparing yourself to the countless number of Instagram yogis, it’s easy to have your confidence rattled. I had the chance to speak with Sara Dwyer Lane from Bodytree Studio, a YogaWorks New York trained instructor who has been practicing yoga for over 15 years. Here are her top tips for beginner yogis.
1. Flexibility Comes Later
Don’t be disheartened if you can’t nail a pose yet. Everyone has strengths and weaknesses — even the Instagram yogis. After all, no one is going to post a photo of a pose they’re bad at. So, don’t get bogged down in what other people are doing. Focus on building strength and body awareness instead. It can be fun to set goals for yourself, but it’s more important to work on the steps to achieve a pose rather than the final posture. No one gets a prize for touching their toes.
2. Find a Teacher You Really Love
Try as many classes as you need until you find a teacher that motivates and inspires you. Instead of racing out the door after your next yoga class, take some time to introduce yourself. Whether you are just starting out or looking to intensify your practice, don’t be afraid to speak with your instructor. Teachers have a wealth of information and have been through their own yoga journeys and setbacks — they’re a great source of advice. It’s all about finding a teacher and a community that supports your healthy yoga practice.
3. Honor Your Body
Simply put, do what feels good. Your body changes everyday, so honor what you need right in that moment. What you did in your last session may not work the next time around and that’s okay — so, leave your ego at the door. There are always going to be setbacks, but the best thing you can do is make sure you are doing poses properly. Don’t just go through the motions. Be thoughtful and set yourself up for a sustainable yoga practice, one that lasts your entire life, not one that flickers out after a few weeks.
4. Focus on Your Breath
It’s the most important part of your practice. Each breath you take allows you to concentrate on the present and keep your mind focused. Your breath also helps you keep in touch with your body. If you use it wisely, it can help you change how your body is moving and help it reach places it hasn’t been before.
5. Yoga Isn’t Just for Girls
Guys can understandably feel uncomfortable about yoga. Step into nearly any yoga class and males will certainly be in the minority (if they’re even there at all). Men often blame things like inflexibility for not trying yoga, but in actuality yoga can be even more beneficial for them compared to females.
6. Practice, Practice, Practice
Consistency is the name of the game. Sara swears that she’s never met someone who has consistently practiced yoga who hasn’t said that it changed their life. Have you hit a plateau in your practice? That’s where the magic happens. Now is the time to tap into your patience and let go. Dig deep and remember what your intentions are for having a yoga practice. These are the parts of yoga that cross over to your life off the mat.
Are you a beginner yogi in Abu Dhabi looking to challenge yourself and expand your yoga practice?
Catch Sara’s upcoming pop up session: Strength, Length & Breath Yoga for Beginners at Bodytree Studio this Friday, April 28 from 9-10:30am. Learn how to add more strength to your yoga postures, achieve healthy alignment and better utilize your breath while practicing.
The session may be geared towards beginners, but is also a great, back-to-basics class for all levels. The pop up is 95 AED and includes a Nectar Juice. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to book your space. See you there!