Dear New Yoga Student

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To everyone attending their very first yoga class this year (and there are a whole lot of you as we enter the first full week of 2020),

Thank you for showing up, not for me as your teacher or for your loved one who encouraged (or maybe nagged you for years) to try a yoga class, but for yourself. You chose to take a concrete step in caring for your mind, body, and spirit. Even if you never step foot in a yoga studio again, or until next year or ten years from now, you did something positive for yourself – that deserves acknowledgment.

Some good rules to follow so you have the best experience possible:

  • Go to a basics or beginning level class. Even if you are incredibly fit, give yourself a solid foundation to build upon.
  • Arrive at least five minutes early (10-15 is best before your first class).
  • Introduce yourself to the teacher before class. Let them know it is your first yoga class. If you have any physical injuries or medical issues, be sure to let the teacher know.
  • No shoes in the studio (socks off too).
  • Set your mat somewhere in the center of the studio, unless the teacher tells you otherwise, so you can see both the teacher at the front of the room and students on all sides of you (not every teacher will demonstrate so it’s good to have other students to provide a visual if needed).
  • Ask the teacher what props you will need (a good rule of thumb is to take 2 blocks, a blanket, and a strap if they are available at the studio).
  • No talking during class.
  • Turn your phone off or silence it (tuck it away out of sight if you bring it into the studio).

I see you struggling. Yoga is hard! You can be in great shape or in the worst shape of your life – yoga is unlike any other movement or exercise regime you have or have had in the past. I don’t care if you can do one single pose. I don’t care if you fall or look like an absolute fool. I don’t care if you nail the hardest pose in class on your first attempt. I care that you showed up and you tried. Yoga class is the one place where it truly is okay if you don’t do well, there are no consequences.

I know you are going to compare yourself to other people in the room, but try not to, okay? I mean really try. Put on blinders. Look at other students if you need a visual guide, but do not, I repeat, do not compare yourself to anyone else. We are all different. Each pose will look a little different on every body. And that is okay.

I’ll let you in on a little secret, I hated yoga for years (okay closer to a full decade really). I thought yoga was stupid. It was too slow, too hard to keep my mind quiet long enough to focus, too much breathing, too new agey woo-woo. It just wasn’t my thing. It took a long while for me to “get it”. If you hate yoga, it’s okay. I invite you to give it some time, keep coming back, but if you don’t, that’s okay too. I’ll still respect you.

Thank you for being brave enough to try something new. So many people never even try.

Oh, and maybe even have some fun. Try not to take yourself or your experience too seriously. Smile. Perhaps laugh (quietly or loudly).

Sincerely,

A Yoga Teacher Who Loves Students New to Yoga (or as I like to call you, fresh                      meat…and yes, I am vegan)

About DjunaPassman

I practice and teach yoga. I attempt to carry what I learn on my mat and through my students into the real world. Sometimes I am successful and sometimes I am grumpy and less than kind. I started life as a dancer, moved on to choreographing, worked as a dance/movement therapist, then realized the wonders of a regular yoga practice. I am a realist - whether the glass is half full or half empty you are bound to spill its contents if you are wearing white (this is why I wear black so often). I am not an expert on yoga, life, or anything else for that matter. I do my best to keep my mind and my heart open every day (some days are better than others).
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