When I started practicing yoga asana (the movements and poses), I knew two things: I was going to be terrible at it and I was going to stick it out until I got better.
In anything, this same rule applies. Whether I like something or dislike something with various degrees between, if I stick with it, I’ll get better. If I don’t, I won’t learn. Some things aren’t worth learning. But many things are.
Thankfully, I enjoyed and still enjoy yoga. I like anything that I can treat like an art. Always improving in anything that provides unending possibilities within a solid structure is for me!
Here are some basics for those who feel like they are beginners in their yoga practice:
1. It’s hard. This is very true. I was not a flexible person entering my first yoga class. I also didn’t realize how unbalanced I was (top heavy and way better at balancing on my right foot than my left). I heard a quote once that said anything worth doing is hard. I think it’s because difficult tasks, learning curves, programs, etc. allow the highest opportunity for human growth. To grow requires us to change. The faster we learn and change and hold onto valuable learning tools until we replace them with even more valuable learning tools the better.
2. Be willing to persist. You’re going to have crappy days on the mat. Your body won’t bend the way you want. Your breath pattern will be erratic and unstable. You can’t stop thinking about all that work you have to do tomorrow. This is 100% natural. Just like there are days when we’re on top of the world and days we’d rather stay inside and watch tv while eating Bluebell ice cream, there are days in the studio where we feel amazing and others where we couldn’t quite get going. It’s okay. The more we do something, the better we get at it. I recently heard a longtime jiujitsu practitioner answer a question about being regarded as one of the first americans to train in the art. He said it was never about how good I was or how good anyone else was, it was the whether I stayed in the gym and with jiujitsu. Days build into weeks build into months build into years build into decades. If you want to be good at something, you have to persist.
3. Make the commitment. Write down your goals for yourself and don’t let yourself down. I have a practice of writing at night everything I need to get done the next day. Then, I do the things I have written down and cross them off the list. Sometimes, everything gets crossed off. Other days I have some left which I move to the next day. I handle the biggest and most important tasks first, like my morning routine, and leave the less important tasks for after. So, if you want to practice yoga or chess or fencing or swimming or martial arts or mathematics, write it down on your task list and make sure you get it done as early as possible in the day. Research your local yoga studios and reach out to the instructors or owners. Go to a class and see what it’s like. If the studio resonates, great! If not, look elsewhere. Yoga in Fort Worth is booming. There’s a place for you.
4. Spend time with people after class. Get to know your community. Some of the greatest relationships can happen through yoga. This is how I got to know my fiancé, Brynn. Many of my friends also practice yoga and I love the community at Elemental Yoga. I’ve also been to other yoga studios in Fort Worth and have seen the same thing. People building relationships with people, and ultimately, understanding themselves to a greater degree.
I hope this helps some of you who have thought about trying yoga! We’re all beginners in many ways and have all been in your shoes.