You ever get that uncertain feeling in your stomach when you are jumping into the unknown, when you are try something new, or when you aren't expecting what is coming your way. Sometimes, this could be something simple or other times it could be something that it entirely HUGE! These little or huge things can give us a negative or positive impression causing us to either never try things out again or letting it become our favorite pass time. There are tons of different activities that do this for us and yoga is and should be one of them. Yoga has so many health benefits, on both a physical and spiritual level, that it would be a tragedy for anyone to miss out on them because they made a silly avoidable mistake on their first day. Here are the 3 most common beginner mistakes and here is how you can avoid them.
Mistake #1: Not knowing what you want from Yoga?
The reality is that there are a variety of different styles and forms of Yoga. Each has it's own different type of attractions. Ask yourself what it was about Yoga in general that attracted you and then you can investigate a style that caters more specifically to it. You may like to set goals, they can either be physical, mental or spiritual. If you do then it's a good idea to discuss them with the instructor of any class that you take before you begin. Yoga instructors are usually very approachable and happy to talk about their passion. They will be able to talk to you about your goals for the class and let you know if you are aiming to high and where to start. Make sure your goals include a time frame so it becomes something that is measurable.
Mistake #2: Jumping in Head on First!
Most people having decided to give Yoga a try, many take a running leap and jump in to a 12 month stage by stage class. These classes are usually an upfront payment arrangement and progress from one level to the next as the weeks progress. They are a fantastic way of learning Yoga and becoming very good at it, but it's quite possibly you will choose a class that is not ideal for you so make sure that you speak to the instructor before jumping the gun.
The best way around this is to join a Yoga beginner class, also known as a drop in class. Rates are usually reasonable and you can get special rates for being a first timer. If you do these classes for a few weeks you will notice a high turnover of students as new people join and old people move on. These classes are designed to give you a very broad feel for the different types of Yoga. The level of the students in the class usually varie greatly so you can expect the instructor to keep the classes at a beginner's level but offer some type of challenge. The other key benefit of doing this is that the classes are pay as you go so there is no big financial strain on your wallet while you decide the type and style of yoga that best suits you. You are also not obligated to attend every class. With longer courses, you can fall behind quickly if you miss a week or two in a row. With the pay as you go classes, you will find that while each class is different the level stays quite low but challenging in other areas to cater all the newer people joining in.
Mistake #3: Choosing the wrong teacher.
A lot of times, having the wrong instructor will either cause you to come back or leave for good. Everyone teaches different and you may not find that perfect instructor the first time. It could take several tries to find that right one. You should not give up yoga just because the first time went bad for you. Every teacher has a different flow or personality. However, when choosing your instructor, make sure to ask questions about their background and history to gain insight on the knowledge that they know.
Pigeon is a great yoga pose to release tight hips helping to release the hip flexors, glutes, inner groin, the quads, and often relieving sciatica. This pose also helps relieve stress that we put on our hips from everyday stress. Just like we tense our upper backs when we are under tension so do our hips. This pose helps isolate those muscles in the hip area. You would think that there would be no other pose compared to regular pigeon. However, guess again! There is and it is called double pigeon. Double pigeon is also known as fire log pose, knee to ankle pose, and square pose. If you are already intermediate to advanced in pigeon and your hips are pretty flexible then you can always try to challenge yourself with double pigeon. Double pigeon is more intense and does require hip opening instead of causing your hips to open like regular pigeon does. There are also some slight differences. Double pigeon is good for the following:
To get into this pose, do the following:
As humans we have a bunch of factors that contribute to our health. In fact so many, that there are to many to list. However, the #1 main thing that triggers all of these issues, hard to contain, and starts a domino effect is and always will be stress. Stress is the number one enemy that we deal with everyday. It is a harmful emotional state or tension within the body. Any tension that we put on our bodies automatically opens us to any medical, emotional or psychological issues. Our bodies can only take so much. We live with it constantly with our hectic work schedules, family life, personal lives, current situations, and personal mentality. It doesn't seem to ever go away but then again if it did life would be pretty repetitious. If you are one of those ones that think you are not stressed. Think again! We can be stressed out without even realizing it. There is not a full proof way to live life without it. In fact, it is really more about how you deal with it.
There are bad coping skills that you could be using without noticing. Bad coping skills consist of:
Fortunately, there are great coping skills that you can acquire. You can change old habits. Never forget that! It can be hard at first but if you keep at it you can change them eventually. Good stress management skills include:
It's like I tell people, yoga is our manual to life. It's not only for physical benefits but mentally and emotionally too. Yoga brings awareness. Each pose brings a feeling and sensation of what we are feeling. It let's us know what our body is saying to us and what our bodies feel like during a stressful situation. If you are not sure how to start and would like to start with yoga, you can always start with Asanas first. During yoga, we give ourselves and our minds a piece of ease. Yoga teaches us to flow with any situation, get rid of negativity, and learn to be happier where we are. Everyone has the ability to cope and stay calm. It is just a matter if you want to and if you allow yourself to.
Awareness, prana (oxygen), and meditation are the BEST skills to use to cope with stress because it is free and no prescription is required. It prepares us for what's next to come, how to deal with things, and keep an overall mind, body, and soul.
Namaste and Many blessings!