Okay, I am not actually going to be a Yogi. I mean, when I saw my instructor I knew I would never look like that or feel like that cause she was all spiritual and Namaste and breath in, breath out. I am more – where is the couch, that cake looks good and let’s nap.
However, after going through the actual worst year of my life, I am rebounding and starting to feel again and sometimes those feelings are hard to process and I know Yoga has done A LOT for my friends that actually do consider themselves Yogis and one has even gone on Yoga retreats to Costa Rica and she ate healthy all week and did Yoga at Sunrise – which to me sounds insane. Costa Rica is for food, alcohol and sun tanning no?? But, she is also an amazing woman so I took her LONG overdue advice and joined a beginners Yoga class at Balanced Life Yoga in Ajax, ON. about a three-minute drive from my house.
I missed the first week because I had Matt and Dawn coming over with stuff from my Scarborough house so I didn’t go. I actually felt guilt – like I was being cruel, to myself!
So last night, even though I was tired and I would have given my inheritance to stay home and do nothing, I drove out to the studio where I had to remove my shoes before coming in and met one of the nicest women I have met in a long time. I am thinking her name was Rachel – how stupid I don’t remember her name right?? Well I was a little overwhelmed, I mean I had a fancy Yoga mat that my Yogi friend from above gave me *lulu lemon* and I had a bottle of water, I was wearing sweat pants and a t-shirt that made me feel fat and not at all like the slim, tights wearing beauty in front of me, so ya, I didn’t pay close enough attention to her name and of course I am regretting this now!
She introduced me to the studio and I felt so calm, yet radiated nerves all at the same time. The class started at 8:00 and there was only four of us – three women and a guy. The month of May at Balanced Life is focusing on Mindfulness which is pretty cool and Rachel (?) advised us that our breathe would be the most important part of our practice. We needed to breath in through the nose and out through the nose – I don’t breath out the nose often, when I am focused I usually breath out through my mouth so I had to really pay attention to what I was doing and when.
The rest of the class we worked on sun salutations and my wrists and legs were shaking, I am a heavier girl and placing any sort of weight on my wrists and my calves was difficult, but I survived the hour and left happy and relaxed.
I had a lot of misconceptions about Yoga and the thing that had me interested was reading the article written by an instructor at Balanced Life Yoga and placed on their website:
7 Things Every Yoga Teacher Wants to Tell a Beginner Yogi
by Katy Callaghan of Balanced Life Yoga
1. Downward Dog will not always be this difficult.
We’ve all been there. Your hands start sweating and sliding along the mat, your arms turn to Jello, and you curse your teacher for suggesting that Downward Dog is a restorative posture. I assure you, your wrists will not always hurt in this pose, and eventually, as you get stronger, learn correct technique, and stick with it, you will find Downward Facing Dog is a more restful posture. Yogi’s promise!
2. Make connections.
Yoga is all about community. Although your practice is very personal, it can also be an avenue to meeting new, like-minded individuals. Next time you come to class, smile at the person sitting next to you – you may just make a new yoga friend.
3. You don’t need to look cool to practice yoga.
Don’t get me wrong there is nothing wrong with loving your new microfiber yoga top, but being decked out in the latest yoga wear from head-to-toe does not enhance your ability to practice yoga. All you need is clothing that you feel comfortable in, and you’re set to go.
4. When you listen to your body, your instructor wants to hug you!
When you decide to modify a pose to make it easier on yourself, you are practicing a very important part of yoga: kindness. There is no scripture in yoga philosophy that tells us we must wrench our body into a pretzel in order to reach an enlightened state. Instead, the practice of yoga encourages us to listen to our body, and practice the poses with proper technique. So next time you feel as if you’re pushing your body past its limits, consider using a prop, or taking a different option so you can practice the pose correctly, and with kindness.
5. No one cares.
Ok, so this might sound a little harsh, but no one really cares what your poses look like. Yes, your yoga instructor cares for your safety and comfort in class, but he or she won’t judge you if your posture isn’t perfect. Perfect is boring.
During class, your mat is like an island: the only person you need to worry about on your island is you. Sure, the girl in front of you may be swinging her legs around her head like a Cirque-de-Soleil performer, but that has nothing to do with your yoga journey. And let’s face it, she’s probably too busy wondering how to get her foot unwrapped from her head to worry about what you look like!
6. Don’t underestimate your breath.
When you first start practicing yoga, you may wonder what all of this breathing business is about. Don’t you breathe all day, every day? Well, the answer is yes, but do you pay attention to your breath? Do you know that breath has an amazing potential to calm your mind and body? Yoga practice transforms something we take for granted every day into something very powerful. So go ahead, breathe!
7. It’s common to think Savasana is the hardest yoga pose.
Your yoga instructor decides it is a good day to practice all of the standing strength Warrior poses, and your legs are ready for the sweet surrender of Savasana. Seems simple, right? You settle in, relax your entire body onto the mat, and enjoy the soothing music in the background. Ahhh…serenity. But wait, did you take the chicken out of the freezer to thaw? What route will you take home? How can you convince your husband to take a yoga class with you? What’s that creaking noise?
***So after reading through these 7 things for beginners of Yoga to know, the wording had me intrigued and I decided to take the plunge – I am not sure how long I will do this for – hopefully forever…hopefully. If not, than I am so grateful to BLY for introducing me to a new concept, a new state of being. I can’t wait to see what happens next!
For more info visit their website at www.balancedlifeyoga.ca