Tips for yoga students
Yoga teaches mindfulness, love and respect for yourself and others, plus humility. Just give yourself to yoga and feel the beauty of life! Here are some tips to keep you loving your yoga practice:
- Are you worried you’re not very flexible and won’t be good enough at yoga? Physical flexibility is not necessary for a student to gain benefits from a yoga practice. Unlike sports and gym classes, yoga is not about competition or performance, but is about respecting the body’s limits and working within your capabilities. Greater flexibility will come through practice, but it is not the ultimate goal of yoga.
- “I don’t think I’m good enough at yoga” Yoga teaches you to love your body as it is. Be happy with feeling good about caring for your body! Simply enjoy the feeling your yoga practice brings. Avoid self-judgment: yoga is a practice of observing yourself without judgment. Banish negative thoughts, and focus on creating positive thoughts – you are what you think!
- How do I feel today? Ask yourself this question at the start of your yoga practice. Note your physical, emotional and mental states of the day. The body is constantly changing, plus the experiences of the day will have an effect on how you are feeling. This will affect your capabilities during yoga practice. Sometimes you might decide a physical yoga practice is not suitable for you on a particular day (perhaps you are menstruating or have an injury or bad cold). Instead, you could practice relaxation or a pranayama (breathing practice) technique. Be mindful!
- There are two primary qualities in the practise of an asana – “sthira” (steadiness and alertness) and “sukha” (lightness/ease in holding a posture). Find a stable base in your posture. Be aware of the parts of the body being used. Be aware of the breath. If you feel unsteady, are shaking or have difficulty in breathing, you are straining, so bring the posture back to a gentler version. Work within your limits.
- When learning an asana, focus on the foundations of the posture. Don’t fuss too much about the details, just practice the posture safely. There is plenty of time to finesse alignment when you have the basics sorted out! And if the posture doesn’t work for your body, don’t get hung up on ways to do it – just move on to another asana that can benefit your body. Your body is unique and not every yoga asana will be suitable for you.
If you’ve always wanted to learn yoga but have been held back by some kind of fear, just feel the fear and do it anyway (that’s the title of a great book you can find at your local library). The benefits of yoga are too good to miss out on!
Molly Furzer has been practising yoga since 1999 and teaching since 2007. She teaches gentle yoga to adults and Kids & Family Yoga in the Rainbow Kids Yoga method. She also teaches Laughter Yoga and offers Meliae Intuitive Healing and Past Life Regression Therapy.