There are a few questions, I often hear people saying who are new to yoga:
“Can I practice yoga even as a total beginner?”
“Do I have to follow my teacher and reach the exact same pose?”
Or: “Will other people in the class judge me when I’m not good enough?”
These questions might certainly be the result of some fears and doubts people are dealing with before they start with yoga. But not only total yoga beginners have those concerns. I also feel that with many experienced yogis there are still uncertainties about the way of practicing yoga.
It’s time to give some clarity, so let’s have a look at those questions. They will give you an answer on things that hold you back from getting into the wonderful world of yoga.
Can I practice as a total yoga beginner?
Yes, you absolutely can. Especially as a total beginner, yoga is a perfect way to get you to move and practice mindfulness. Compared to many other types of trainings, yoga is a gentle practice and perfect for beginners. Over time, you’ll slowly make your way into a more advanced practice, so make sure to choose a beginners’ course. Yin Yoga and Restorative Yoga are also perfect styles of yoga for beginners.
Doing yoga, you’ll become more flexible, improve your posture, breathing and movement patterns, and you will feel an immediate relief of stress symptoms. You will also benefit from yoga when you are struggling with back pain, anxiety and other health related issues. For more infos on how Yoga can cure anxiety and depression, have a look at this article.
Not sure which yoga style is for you? Check out our post on the 10 most common yoga styles you can choose from.
Will I be judged by other students?
There is no ‘good enough’ to practice yoga. And that is also the beautiful thing in yoga – there is no good or bad compared to others. There will always be people in class that are at a different stage and level. And the only thing that matters to you once you’re on the mat, is to listen to your own body. If something feels painful or bad in a way that tells you to not go any further, take a step back and just go as far as it feels good for you. If you feel like you need a break, you are always welcome to move into child’s pose and have a rest.
Yoga is not about comparing yourself to others. If you feel like someone is looking at you in a judgmental way, that is not saying something about where you’re at – it is rather saying something about where this person is at. Yoga is also all about challenging yourself but being mindful with yourself at the same time. Recognizing the current stage you’re at and acknowledging how your state of mind may also influence the way you practice today. Some days we simply have more energy than on others, and everyone else in the class has these experiences as well.
What if I can’t reach the pose?
There is no good or bad in yoga when it comes to reaching a certain pose. Of course, keep in mind to listen to the instructions of your teacher and try to follow their sequence. But if you feel any pain or resistance, take a rest and don’t force yourself into poses that your body is not ready for. It is only natural that your teacher will be able to do a deeper twist or forward fold, as they’ve been practicing for a long time.
At this point, you’re also approaching the ‘real challenge’ of yoga, that many yogis are dealing with: Our mind always wants us to be better, we compare ourselves with others and we often face the challenge of bad feelings showing up when we can’t reach a certain pose. This is where the real deal with yoga joins the game. Try to be patient. Learn to accept the level you’re at. To not judge yourself. And to acknowledge the current state of our body. Then, send some love to you and to your neighbor next to you on the mat, no matter if he can reach further into the fold or not.
You are ready to take it one step further? A yoga teacher training might be what you’re looking for. Check out our 200 hr yoga teacher training programs in Bali: Inner Yoga 200 hour yoga teacher training