A new year is almost here and you are probably thinking about your resolutions for 2017. I’m hoping yoga will be one of them! One of the things I hear a lot from other moms is ‘I want to start doing yoga, but I don’t know how. Do you have any tips?’ I always make it a point to reply to these moms because I think yoga is amazing. So if you are thinking about doing yoga, are a yoga beginner or looking for something you can do with your baby, then keep on reading!
Let me start by saying I’m not a yoga teacher. I don’t know the proper names of most of the poses, I can’t chant, I have never been to an ashram and Isaya and I have our own little yoga sessions. But I do know a lot about yoga. I know it has helped me tremendously over the past ten years, both emotionally and physically. I know it’s an amazing way to relax, but also to feel strong and confident. I know it’s a ‘workout’ you can do with your child(ren). And I know I have never regretted starting my yoga journey. And I am pretty sure that once you start, you will agree with all of the above. Having said all that, I’m going to jump right into my tips for first time yogi’s!
1. Figure out what you like
There are so many types of yoga. I can imagine it’s pretty overwhelming if you want to start doing yoga but have no idea what kind will suit you. I have found a great website that explains your options and will help you choose. If you’re still dazzled after reading up on different styles of yoga, either start with hatha, vinyasa or ashtanga. Also, find out what classes they teach near where you live. That will narrow your search.
2. Give it a try
Almost every yoga school has free (or reduced price) try out lessons. Try two or three schools, teachers or styles. That way you will know what is out there, what you like, what you don’t like and what’s ‘normal’ in yogaland.
3. Get a book
When I started doing yoga I decided to read up on it. Learn about breathing, being in the now, letting go of ego and expectations. If you don’t like to read then don’t pressure yourself. It’s just something that helped me. YouTube is also full of inspiration.
4. Don’t worry about the right clothes
You can do yoga in every comfortable piece of clothing you have. Please, don’t think you need special ‘yoga clothes’, because you don’t. Half the time I practice yoga in my pyjama’s. The keyword is ‘comfortable’, that’s all you need to know.
5. Ignore other people in your class
I don’t mean socially. But it’s so easy to get caught up in other people. That girl is sooo flexible (I wish I wash ten years younger). That woman has the most amazing muscles (I wish I started years ago!). That guy is so much better than I am (I should just give up, I will never be that good). Honestly, these are going to be thoughts you have when you start doing yoga. Accept these thoughts as part of your process. There is nothing wrong with you thinking them, that’s pretty normal. But please, do let them go. Because they are not helpful, useful or relevant.
6. Practice at home
Sometimes you can feel restricted in class. Either because you feel intimidated by your classmates or because you don’t feel a connection with your teacher. Practicing at home, when nobody is watching, judging or comparing, will help you come into your own. Doing yoga at home will also help you to turn your practice into a habit. A lifestyle, instead of something you only do every Thursday night at 8 pm.
7. Don’t worry about life interfering
This one is especially important when you have a baby or child. I used to think yoga had to be done in a certain state of mind, in certain surroundings, without interruption. Bullocks. Yoga is a lifestyle and in real life, life interrupts your namaste mind. Al. The. Time. So accept these interruptions during your practice. My sessions get interrupted by diaper changes, a crying toddler, wet kisses, hair pulling and amazing baby hugs. To feel balanced through it all, that is yoga.
8. Yoga Buddy
If you find yourself struggling or having trouble keeping up your practice : find a buddy. Someone that will help you stay motivated. Someone that understands your reluctance and will help you get through it. This is the person that will take you to that Bikram class and afterwards you will talk about how you both died in there but have never felt more alive right now.