As the owner/director of Fuller Yoga and instructor for 20 years I’ve seen a lot. But more importantly I’ve heard a lot; of excuses that is. I’ve heard everything from “yoga is too hard” to, “it’s boring”, to, “I’m not flexible enough to do yoga”. Starting something new over the age of 29 is not easy, I get it, but in this case the benefits, from increased flexibility to decreased stress levels, will far outweigh the challenges of being a beginner. I tell my students to take at least 3 yoga classes a week to really feel the benefits and make progress. So I’ve devised a list of helpful hints for those just starting out. Make a copy and put it in your yoga mat bag to remind you to keep going.
1. Be willing to try different things. Take 30 days and go to a few yoga studios, try an online class or take a private lesson. In essence you are shopping around for what fits your personality, your lifestyle and your energy level. There is nothing worse than “having to go to the gym.” So don’t give your yoga mat the same fate.
2. Find a friend to go with you. It’s hard to go it alone. Find someone who is willing to do different things with you for a month. At the end of 30 days you may find you both go your own way but don’t commit to anything until you’ve both tried everything. Having a friend keeps you accountable when you just don’t feel like going.
3. Shop for new yoga attire. Nothing says fun like a reason to go shopping. It’s always better to work out or do some downward facing dogs knowing you look your best. Find workout clothes that you feel good in and you like to wear. However, don’t buy too many as you’re likely to have to buy it all over again once you start re-shaping your body.
4. Keep a journal. After every class, DVD or private session rate what it was like. Did you like the workout but not the teacher? Did you like the place but not the people? Create a list and score each place or yoga practice after each visit. Start to identify what on your list is the most important to you and match up the places/classes that have the highest scores.
5. There are no quick fixes. Taking care of your body and your health is a choice. We all know that we can’t floss once and keep our teeth at their best. The same goes with yoga. It needs to be a lifestyle choice. Something we can easily fit into our schedule that is an enjoyable part of our day. Something we can look forward to. Think of it like lunch or recess when you were a kid.
6. Feel your way into shape. Even if it’s not here yet feel what is like to fit in those new clothes, feel what it is like when the opposite sex notices you, feel how great it is when you have to tighten your belt, feel how you are going to receive the compliments that come, feel how rewarding it is when your hard work pays off. Don’t let yourself feel anything else but the end result.
7. Be ready for change. You cannot start a yoga program and expect everything in your life to stay status quo. You are changing. Your schedule is changing, your energy levels are changing, your muscles are changing, and all of that takes work and effort so expect to feel sore, expect to have other people vie for your time, expect some challenges and remember change leads to change.
8. Make it a priority. Whatever we give our attention to will expand. If you let your co-workers convince you it’s better to go out for happy hour than going to a yoga class remember you are on a path to change. When you give your attention to something new and make it a priority everything else will expand in that direction. There are happy hours every night of the week but your favorite class or yoga teacher may not be.
9. After 30 days give yourself a day to go back. Go back to your old schedule, old eating habits, old friends, old clothes and notice the difference in how you feel from the old days to your new days. Remember this is only to notice how you feel, not what you are thinking. Which one feels better? Your body will always let you know what feels right.
10. Never give up.
Visit fulleryoga.com or more on what Fuller Yoga has to offer as you begin your yoga journey.