Your practice might begin on a yoga mat but undoubtedly will ripple into every other aspect of your life and every single interaction you come across.
I was introduced to group yoga classes by a friend around 2003. The class was held at a local gym. I walked into the studio with the excitement of learning something new that I knew was supposed to be good for my body and mind. I still remember setting up my mat and being curious about how we were supposed to use it. Part of me felt like a kid with a new toy.
Many thousands of teaching hours later, I feel reminiscent about those days. I didn’t know how important and meaningful the decision to take that yoga class and many others would be for my future, growth, and peace of mind. In fact, my whole life these days revolved around yoga.
I would like to share with you what has helped me in the past to build a consistent yoga practice, and it is my hope you find this helpful.
Which yoga style is best for me?
You can be sure that there is a style of yoga that suits your needs. So it is important to ask yourself what is your first motivation for starting a yoga practice.
Each of us is different, and there are many different styles of yoga. You can be sure that there is a style of yoga that will be the best one for you.
You might not find the style of yoga that is best for you right away. You might have to do some exploring, whether in person or online.
Some styles of yoga are slower and more nurturing and restorative. Other types of yoga are more active and endurance-building yet bring a sense of integration as well. Be patient, and the right style of yoga, and teacher will appear.
How important is consistency in my practice?
After your initial exploration of what your options are, I suggest you, at least for the first little while, stick with a particular style. See it unfold on your mat. There is beauty in repetition. There is beauty in consistency.
You can see the changes in your mind and body when the movements and the pace of the practice are familiar. You will not only learn sequences, postures, and breathing exercises, but you will learn from the time spent with yourself. Our practice of yoga can be profoundly meditative.
What should I expect from my yoga practice?
We all are, in some ways, eternal perfectionists. There will be moments of great satisfaction from discovering the potential of the body in certain postures or the hidden secrets of the breath in certain exercises, but remember, this practice is a practice of coming back to ourselves for connection. It’s this connection that helps us to see the world through a different set of eyes.
Be okay with the days you are full of energy and welcome the days where simply being on the mat and doing a less demanding practice can provide comfort and nurture your soul. Be okay when the practice feels flat. Be okay when the practice feels sparkly and full of life.
The role of moderation in my yoga practice
You probably heard before about doing everything in moderation. And yoga is not an exception. Be attentive to how your body feels after your practice, including the day after. Tune in to the wisdom of the body to know when a practice has been demanding, and you might need to balance it out with something more soothing.
Yoga is not only the beautiful postures but also meditation, breathing, and self-study. Yoga can permeate every aspect of our lives, bringing a new sense of appreciation to the human experience.
How do I find freedom in my yoga practice?
It is important when you take the first steps, and you had made a connection with a particular approach of yoga and a knowledgeable teacher that you trust in that bond and connection. At the same time, give yourself the freedom to embody the movements, the postures, the breath in your own unique way.
This is a practice of exploration, and it might look different for each one of us. As long as we enter this world with sincere intentions, the rewards are always sweet.
Yoga is love
One of the most important realizations in my years of practicing and teaching yoga is that yoga is an act of love. We feel this first hand in ourselves. Our relationship to our bodies improves by acceptance, understanding, and the time we spend with ourselves. Our understanding of our ups and downs becomes less of a roller coaster ride because we have a set of skills to help us ride the emotional waves.
Your practice might begin on a yoga mat but undoubtedly will ripple into every other aspect of your life and every single interaction you come across. Yoga has the potential to make the world a better place by reminding us that our essence is love. When we are next to each other, whether online or in person, that recognition that we are both made of the same universal love speaks for itself.
Enjoy your journey into yoga. For me, it was one of the best decisions I ever made. I hope it is for you as well.