meditating1As a yoga teacher, I often hear people tell me how intimidated they are to begin yoga. Years of avoiding stretching or just the thought of doing something totally unfamiliar can be a bit overwhelming. But go anyways. Your body and mind benefit from the well-being created from the practice of yoga. Of course, you may feel a bit lost in the first few classes, but over time yoga will help you in so many aspects of your life. It is a practice, and just like when you practice a musical instrument like the piano, over time the practice leads to skill and harmony. Here are my tips for beginning a yoga practice:

1. Be patient with yourself.

Meet your body where it is today and you will slowly become stronger and more flexible.

2. Come back, even if you are sore.

Provided that you were in a well-guided class that was suited to your level, the soreness is a sign of muscles being stimulated and worked.

3. Commit to 3 months of a once a week or two times a week yoga class.

Commitment is what changes our bodies and will lead to growth. Check in at the three-month point and see what has changed and how you feel.

4. Look at it as a breathing/electronics/worry break.

Yoga class is a time to unplug from everything, so don’t compare yourself to others in the room. Just take a break from all the extra nonsense we expect of ourselves.

5. You must breathe.

Work to lengthen the breath you take in so it fills your belly. And yes, that means you might for once need to allow your belly to get big. But it’s ok – your body was meant to breathe like this!

Keep practicing and you will start to see that yoga makes all the difference between coming home exhausted or feeling like life is an exciting adventure worth every moment.

~ By Sarah Lesch, Yoga Teacher at Bella Prana