Paige Earl | HealthGreatness

Yoga can be a very intimidating activity to take on. Under stereo types we often assume that we have to be thin, bendy, rich, and have loads of free time in order to reap yoga’s multitude of benefits. I’m here to happily report that this is most definitely not the case! If we allow ourselves to set aside the self-judgement and give yoga the old college try, I believe there is a yoga style, teacher, and class for everyone.

As a beginner to yoga it’s important to take a few weeks to explore different studios and teachers. My first yoga class was at my local community college, and part of that class, our teacher required us to try at least three other types of yoga styles and locations. I quickly learned that “hot yoga” is not for me and that my active mind couldn’t settle into the details of Iyengar yoga. Don’t give up after trying a couple of classes, it’s easy to tell yourself that you’ve tried it once and it’s not for you.

If you’ve never ever done any type of yoga before, I suggest going to a Hatha style class for one simple reason: the poses are held longer. Becoming familiar with the postures is key to building a successful practice. Hatha allows for a new practitioner to become intimately familiar with poses, their names, and how they should look and feel in the body. The typical class offered at gyms and most studios will be a vinyasa (or power vinyasa) type class which is more fluid with less time spent holding a posture–which means less time spent on learning a posture. These are great once a beginner has built up foundational knowledge of poses and are available nearly everywhere.

Once you’ve found yourself a local studio and confirmed class times, arrive a little early so you can find a spot within the class where you’ll be comfortable and talk to the teacher. The best scenario is when I have a new student approach me and let me know that they’re still learning the basics. I tend to keep an extra eye on these students, focus more on alignment, and provide additional cues in my teaching so that my new and returning students, alike, can reap the most benefits from a class.

After you’ve arrived and chatted with your teacher, be kind to yourself. Do your best to check your ego at the door; remembering that your teacher has most likely practiced yoga for years so if he is demonstrating something with ease that you can barely wiggle into don’t be hard on yourself. Letting go of any expectations you may have is the best way to open yourself to a fulfilling class and yoga practice. Yoga is a practice, a lifetime practice. Trying to force a posture or getting frustrated is not what you’re in class for. Be kind and patient. Poses will find you as your continue a regular practice. To reach your goals, you’ll have to consistently show up to your mat, turn your inner dialogue off, and open yourself literally and figuratively to the practice’s offerings.

In the wise words of Sri Pattabhi Jois, “Practice and all is coming.”

About The Author

Paige Earl

In 2005, Yoga found Paige in a Beginner's Yoga class for two hours every Friday morning. "I had more energy, felt healthier and happier in my body than ever before, and started seeing my life in a different light. After that first year of initial learning and practicing, I knew I wanted to share yoga and its benefits with as many people as possible." Paige teaches yoga as a means to help other people. The magic of watching a student’s practice transform from one week to another is what keeps her going. "I find joy in knowing that I can offer a resource to help so many people with their struggles of everyday life on and off the mat. My approach is playful and knowledgeable, while keeping the focus on the individual needs of my students. My goal is to break down seemingly hard asanas to make them accessible to people of varying levels and I promise one thing; challenging classes that will make my students sweat!" All You Can Yoga Ambassador - March, 2013 Beyond Yoga Ambassador - November, 2014

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