New To Yoga? Here’s Why It’s Important To Start With A BEGINNER’S Yoga Class
I’ve taught many classes where a beginner student attended, and it was usually their very first experience with a yoga practice. They would come in and typically pick a spot at the back of the class, somewhere close to the wall or near the back door.
In Downward Dog, they would pick up their head and look around the room really quickly to make sure that what they were doing was, in fact, the right posture. More often than not, I would see them looking around with more frequency as the class unfolded and the Vinyasa took hold. Out of breath and out of energy by their tenth Chaturanga, they would take that Child’s Pose that I sometimes offer with yearning fervor.
By class end, either two things would happen: I would wave them out and look for their shining face in the next class or I would never see them again. This post, specifically, is for that latter student.
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Start at the Beginning
If you’ve never taken a yoga class before, can I suggest that you enjoy a beginner’s class? Because it’s what I suggest to every student who asks me. Granted, I love nothing more than teaching new students, but I find incredible benefit in starting off your yoga journey with beginner instruction, rather than just diving deep into an intermediate Vinyasa class.
In a beginner’s class, you’re introduced to the practice in a way that is both nurturing and specifically sequenced for your needs. This means that you are brought into each pose to meet it for the first time, and more so, you’re on the first level of feeling and meeting your own body in space. As a teacher and a student, I find this to be an incredible exploration of one’s anatomy, both on a physical and energetic level.
Through experience, I’ve found that there is a stigma associated with a beginner’s class, and in order to appreciate the many nuances of this practice, it is important to cut these stigmas at the root. Taking a beginner’s class does not, in any way whatsoever, make you less of a yogi than any practitioner of an advanced sequence. Read that again to make sure it sinks in!
It also does not give any yogi, whether seasoned or starting out, an invitation to treat their practice as something that is mastered. Yoga classes may be sequenced and leveled by skill/fitness to further full-proof the safety of all who attend, but it is very much a practice that runs a lateral course. This means that there is no end to yoga and no end to the practice that we’ve come to love.
Every experience on the mat, whether in a studio or through a personal practice, is a journey that moves backwards and forwards in time, showing us our true triggers, lessons, questions, and space for further growth. That is true of someone who has been practicing for 20 years, as well as someone who has been practicing for 20 minutes.
With that, it’s important to note that yoga is not a chore or a skill that is attained so that we may move up the ladder. There is no ladder. There is just the mat and one’s willingness to explore themselves in space.
If that subtle energy is rooted at the forefront of why you’re interested in yoga, then taking any class, whether beginner or advanced, is of little value: just unfurl your mat and begin. Where you go in your experience is far more valuable than where you go in a list of classes offered. This will keep you coming back to the practice, which is where the magic happens: when you show up for your life and take steps to fall in tune with your highest Self.
Remember, once a beginner, always a beginner. Enjoy the journey!
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