From the outside looking in, yoga looked like the easiest way to get some exercise in. I remember thinking, “all I have to do is stretch and I will be able to lose weight and tone!” Sign me up! Then I attended my first class. Was I in for a surprise! I had never sweated so much in my life and I was worn out, and that was only the warm-up. I could not believe I still had more to go. And it was a struggle to keep up, which added to my feelings of doubt. I did not know what I had gotten myself into, and I remember thinking that I was never doing yoga again. And I did not, for years! However, after I got out of my head about it, I fell in love.
If you are interested in giving yoga a chance, I think you should. The benefits are wonderful and of plenty.
I have written a few tips to assist you with beginning your yoga journey.
• Have a clear and open mind: Do not go into a yoga class with preconceived beliefs. You want to attend a class as if you do not have any knowledge to not become overwhelmed. Flowing through the poses can be overwhelming and hard, and some people who thought it was going to be easier, will sometimes give up.
• Do not be intimidated by classmates: There are going to be people in beginners’ classes that flow through poses like pros, which may often lead people to feel intimidated and second guess their decision to take a yoga class. Do not feel that way, everyone starts as a beginner. Yoga is about your own journey, so do not focus on who is doing better than you.
• As a plus size Yogi, I remember feeling self-conscious because I was always the only “fat” person in a yoga class. Please, do not allow your size to prevent you from enjoying this wonderful practice. As you continue with the practice, you will notice that you become more comfortable with your size and your confidence will increase. In addition, size does not equate being unhealthy, so just because you may be heavier, does not mean you are less healthy. So, take that class and flow through your poses with confidence.
• Go at your own pace. Because this is your first class, flow through the poses at your own pace, you do not want to overdo it, you always want to listen to your body. Yoga classes can flow very quickly, depending on what type you take. Vinyasa, Hatha, Bikram, and Ashtanga classes tend to be fast paced. If you are interested in something a little slower paced to ease you into yoga, Yin and Restorative may be best for you.
• Whatever class you decide to take, take it with confidence. Know that you are where you belong.