You’ve heard the hype and everyone seems to just love their yoga time. Everyone, man or woman, old or young, seem to reap benefits from this age old tradition of movement and breath. You want in to the group too, but don’t want to seem like too much of a newbie. Or possibly you are intimidated and keep putting off going to a class. Here are some tips and misconception to be aware of if it’s your first time.

“Yoga doesn’t look that tough”

To some of us who haven’t done yoga before, it may just look like a punch of posing, staying still, and stretching. That’s not as hard as running or weight lifting, right? Not necessarily. Yoga involves the WHOLE body. Core, abdominals, arms, legs, shoulders, etc…; even if you aren’t in a hot yoga class, you’ll likely be sweating and shaking from working your entire body. Yoga is also a mind-body experience; in the beginning, practicing your focus solely on what you are doing in class will be tough. It’s easier for our minds to wander when working out then to really focus on every part of your body.

“But I’m not bendy and flexible like those yoga people”

We all start at the beginning! Even the most practiced in yoga weren’t born able to do every pose correctly. Start with the beginner modifications (which most if not ALL instructors will show the class) and before you know it, you will engage in poses and positions that seemed impossible weeks before.

“I’m intimidated by yoga instructors; they will probably wonder what I’m doing here”

First off, most yoga classes are designed for all levels of fitness so it’s perfectly natural to be a beginner. Second, your teachers are there to do just that – teach! They want to show you the correct movement, poses, and techniques to take you to the next level in your yoga. They also want you to enjoy it and get what you want out of your experience. Don’t be afraid to talk to them after class to show you a pose again, or speak to them about how you’ve been feeling physically and mentally.

“The other students seem to know what they are doing more than I do”

It may seem this way, but everyone is on a different path and journey in their yoga. Some might be starting again after a long hiatus. Others are beginners just like you, and may feel the same way about others practicing with them. This experience is all about YOU! Although it’s important to be aware of the other students and their space, your focus should always be on you, your focused intentions, and keeping positive energy within you.

“How often should I go to class to become someone who really DOES yoga?”

Whether you are going to class or practicing in your living room, you are doing yoga; and practice makes progress. A consistent yoga practice at least twice a week is important to refine your poses, flexibility, strength, and mental focus. Yoga has been known to help with health, aging, and overall well-being. It’s a time, (YOUR time) to reflect, breathe, and connect with your mind, body, and spirit.