So many conversations I have with people who want to “get into yoga” include them saying, 'I can’t even touch my toes', or 'I want to be able to touch my toes'. A friend called me after one week of building morning stretching into his routine, and said “I can touch my toes! “ He was so chuffed. When I started Yoga that was my first major milestone and I was so excited too. The amazing thing is, it was really only the beginning of my Yoga journey.
Getting into Yoga
I was 27 years old when my passion for Yoga started. I was working crazy hours, had back and shoulder pain. I was very stiff with very little upper body strength. I had tried Yoga a couple of times in my early 20s, but it hadn’t really stuck. I got the point I knew I needed Yoga. I saw it work wonders for some colleagues, and I knew it would be good for my mind, body and give respite from my work schedule.
I went on a five-day wellness retreat that included Yoga. Doing 1-2 beginners yoga classes a day for 5 days was a game changer. I learned the fundamentals of the movement and built the strength to get through a class. More importantly, it made me feel really good and I knew I wanted to do more.
Yoga for Beginners
The experience I had when starting yoga has a big influence on how I teach. In my Fundamental classes, I emphasise what will open the door to the magical world of Vinyasa Yoga - opening the hamstrings, and building push-up strength.
Stretching hamstrings will help with Downward Dog, the Warriors and many of the transitions. The push-up strength is needed for the Chaturanga (high to low plank) - this is often not taught correctly, or skipped over in a regular class. I see students that have spent years doing yoga not doing it with the most beneficial and strength building form. In my “Journey Into Yoga Fundamental “series on Digme At Home, I focus on these in my sequencing A LOT. I do it in a dynamic yet accessible way, while also giving students the right techniques from the beginning.
Finding the Yoga instructor for you
When you start to get confident with the fundamentals, finding your teacher(s) is the next step. Finding a teacher who speaks to you and delivers the class in a way that resonates with you is magical. It may be their voice, the style of yoga, pace of the class , their creative sequencing or something they said. You’ll be on cloud 9!!!
It could be a multitude of things, you may not understand why, and that’s fine. If the way they teach the practice makes you feel good, keep going back to them. That feeling that will get you out of bed for class on those early mornings, or compel you to pull out your laptop for a zoom session after work when part of you just wants to sit on the sofa and chill. I often hear from students that they were somewhat into yoga, until they found the right teacher. My experience was until I found the right teacher I was doing maybe one class a week, or one every other week. When I found a few teachers I loved, I would go four times a week!
The last thing I will leave you with is: let go of any expectations and self-judgement. Being new to yoga can be daunting. The moves can look difficult because they are if you’ve not done them before. So remember, you have to start somewhere. It will take a bit of time, but the more practice and effort you put in the more you will get out. Don’t let being self-conscious prevent you from trying your first class. The beauty of all the online yoga on offer is that it’s much easier to do your first yoga class, build strength and flexibility in the comfort and privacy of your own home. We also have access to teachers from all over the world giving us opportunities to explore styles what work for us. When the studios re-open, you will have the confidence and be totally ready to come in an meet all the wonderful Digme Yoga team face to face.