The biggest reason I hear for people not wanting to try a yoga class is the age old ‘I’m not flexible enough’, and there are even a whole bunch of people who want to ‘practice first’, before they go to a class, leading me to believe there is an ever growing issue that is far more concerning.
As yoga comes increasingly popular, with celebrity endorsements and yoga pants everywhere you look, classes get bigger and more of them are popping up all over the place, which is great news for teachers (like me) and potential students having more options than ever for times, places and even styles of yoga. However, why can’t I convince those I love to try a class?
The answer became very clear to me recently when I attended a workshop at a very popular London studio; Intimidation.
For a start – the people! You had every typical image type of yogi and yogini in that building – from the gorgeous dreadlocked heavily tattooed type to the heavily makeup clad designer dollies. There were 20 minutes until class started and everyone was warming up like they were about to run a marathon, or more likely perform in the circus, with extravagant stretches, hair flicks and pouts to boot.
I’m pretty body confident and sat there in my bright blue camo leggings, not one to shy away, but even I felt slightly scared of these designer lycra clad yoginis, and suddenly very aware of my tummy and my unwashed (since the day before), scraped back in a pony-tail hair and makeup free face. I soon shook however it off and introduced myself to the lady next to me and we had fun, but there was a moment there!
This idea that you must look immaculate or stylish or particularly quirky in order to be any good at yoga is utterly bonkers – but with our image obsessed western world – it’s becoming more and more of an issue.
I am an advocate of the body positive movement; I love my rolls and my curves and my strength. But more so I love my body for standing me up every day, letting me see the beauty of the world, letting me feel the sun or the rain on my skin and letting me breathe in the fresh air at the top of the mountain it just climbed or eat that bar of chocolate I just bought at the end of the road it just walked to. Our bodies are amazing things.
Not only that but although a home practice, online classes and DVDs are truly wonderful way to get a regular practice in when you don’t find the time to get to a class (or you simply fancy taking a class in just your pants), practicing under the guidance of a real-life teacher will enable you to learn proper technique and avoid injury with posture adjustments to suit your body type, and help you work with injuries and illnesses that a generic digital version just can’t do.
Additionally, trust me when I say that in a class, no one is watching or judging you. The more practiced yogis are deeply involved in their own practice, other beginners and those in between are focusing on remembering to breathe and stay upright and well, the aforementioned types are busy trying to catch their reflection in the mirror.
We must simply take care of our bodies, be healthy, move more, eat more (of the good stuff), laugh more and dance more. Just get started and try a class! You’ll see what I mean.
The good news is that you can hire a teacher for a private class with your friends – which is how I got started and naturally a type of class that I now offer. You can split the cost and don’t leave the comfort of your own home even.
Take care of your body – it’s the only real place you have to live.