Are you thinking of trying out yoga? Perhaps your Doctor has suggested it, or you’ve heard about the benefits of yoga and want to give it a go. Some people come to yoga because they want to get fitter, manage chronic body pain or are looking for a more balanced way of life. Whatever your reason, these general yoga classes in WGC at Woodhall Community Centre are a great place to start.
You are in good company, many of the people that come to the yoga classes in WGC at Woodhall Community Centre are there for the same reason as you. This class is new so you will be practising yoga with people who are also just starting out. The benefit of this to you is that you won’t have that sinking feeling that you’re not as ‘good’ as everyone else. Or that they all know each other and you’re the odd one out.
It’s natural to feel apprehensive about trying out something new. In this post, I’ll do my best to give you the information you need to feel more comfortable.
Yoga classes ideal for beginners
Yoga is a body work, so let’s clear up some of the more obvious stuff.
You’ll be moving, stretching, balancing, getting stronger. All this means you’ll sweat, that’s part of it. Expect to draw on your energy reserves but the pay-off is that the chemicals your brain will release shall boost your mood, metabolism and even memory – along with a ton of other good things.
During the class the Yoga Teacher, me (Sunil) will give you instructions on how to move and also where to place your attention. Many beginners often make the mistake of thinking yoga is just about moving their body into fancy stretches. Nothing could be farther from the truth, the quality of your attention, how present you are is as important as the body work.
What do beginners have to ‘get’ at yoga classes
During your first few classes I’ll be looking to establish the basics. Primarily I seek to make sure that you are moving in a way that is in harmony with your body mechanics. In simple terms this means making sure that you are forward folding with your knees bent and are using the muscles in your back to prevent overloading the vertebrae in your lower back and neck. It may sound like a simple thing, and it is; but you’ll be surprised how easily this gets overlooked when in the midst of a sequence of flowing yoga poses.
Discover your breath
If I could tell you the secret of postural yoga, it would be this. Focus on your breath. As it is something that we always do one can easily miss this. Whilst you wrestle with your body, the physical challenge and thoughts your breath is an allay and aid that is invaluable. By focussing on your breath you will open up the deeper aspects of yoga.
We are all different and our bodies get conditioned at different speeds. The more you practice the more your body will learn what is required of it. The amazing thing about yoga is that it is a complete body workout. The movements will get connected chains of muscles to work in concert. This means that you gain true functional strength. That’s the kind of strength that you need to pick things up, improve your balance and lighten the load on any ‘problem areas’ of your body.
Not getting it right and managing that sinking feeling
Wobbles and getting tired or stepping out of a balancing pose are all part of the process. You won’t be the first nor the last person to step out of tree pose! More important than falling out is the way that you get back in. What I mean is; to not simply jump back into a shape but that we take a breath, ground and go back in using the same steps taken when we first attempted it. Once you do this you will no longer be a beginner because you’ll have cultivated enough presence to approach the pose in the correct way. Falling out has nothing to do with how ‘advanced’ you are.
Time for another secret. There is no such thing as advanced yoga! Yoga is that moment when you find your flow state, when time stops and you are entirely present with yourself – you’ll still hear sounds about you, be able to see other things but your mind has become still. This is yoga. It has no gradients where one state is higher than another. Either you are in yoga or you are not.
What about that sinking feeling?
We all experience ‘failure’ when trying something, this is part of the process and not the destination. We go again and when we do this with a smile then we have learnt another valuable lesson that yoga brings. Everything changes, but through it all the awareness is constant and as long as you have that you will be a life long yogi. You can also take this resilience with you away from the mat. It is the art of pausing to take a breath, it has immense power.
What to expect at your first yoga class
Once you’ve settled on to your mat we always take some minutes to arrive and acknowledge the space that we are in. In this way one creates a space around themselves, a boundary between what came before and the present moment. This ancient custom has been practised by the human family for countless thousands of years and we honour this with the Om. The chant can be vocal or an inward intention. It is a way of connecting with the others in the room and feeling one’s own vibration which is in itself a step inward.
After a warm up we begin the class proper. Expect to bend, twist and balance. Expect to call on your strength. Expect to notice the little things and let them go. Expect challenge, support and the trust in your body to grow. At the end of the class we take our final and most important pose. Shivasana. The final relaxation is one final opportunity to integrate what you have experienced, to let go, relax and let the benefits of your practice sink in.
Do’s and Don’ts at a yoga class
- Bring/buy your own yoga mat
- Pay before the class starts
- Take off your shoes before you enter the hall
- Ask questions if something isn’t clear
- Rest if you need to
- A quick warm up at home if you have time
- Let me know if you have an injury/ailment
- Look around or talk to others once the class starts
- Push beyond pain. If you feel pain stop!
- Book if you are not sure you can come
- Have your phone or smart watch by your mat
- Judge others
Yoga with Sunil has been in Hertfordshire since 2016, although I have been teaching yoga since 2010. I tailor each of the classes depending on whomever is present and always seek to bring in something specific to you. It takes a little time for me to learn how you move and what works for you – this is why maintaining a regular practice will be beneficial. In time you will surprise yourself, I have seen this many times and yoga still regularly surprises me.
If you would like to come to a class or book a place please email me. You’ll have to pay in advance of your first class. I look forward to welcoming you to a yoga class in Welwyn Garden City soon.