1. It doesn’t matter how flexible (or inflexible!) you are. Really. Being flexible won’t make you happier. There’s no prize. Stop suffering, and learn how to love the body you have!
2. Don’t get hung up on how you look in a pose. Everyone else in class is focusing on their own pose. They don’t care how you. Let this be your first lesson on Ego management.
3. It’s okay if you don’t know what the Sanskrit words mean. The only people in the room who do are the teachers, and perhaps a few others who’ve been practicing for awhile.
4. Yoga is not religious – unless you want to be. Your practice should be unique to you. You’re allowed to make as spiritual, religious, fitness oriented, (or not!) as you want.
5. Yoga is an art form, a science, a lifestyle, and a philosophy. But more than anything, it’s a way to get to know yourself better. And that is something that all of us can benefit from.
6. Everyone gets the left and right sides mixed up sometimes. Don’t be embarrassed when this happens. If your teacher corrects you, don’t take it personal. And… there’s a good chance they will say “left” when they mean “right” later on in class. It happens. And it’s not a big deal.
7. It’s cool to fall down. Consider the wobbles, the bumps and the bruises as badges of honor. It’s how you learn. It’s how you test your boundaries. Chuckle at yourself and move on!
8. No one cares if you can do a handstand in the middle of the room, or touch your foot to the back of your head, or some other advanced Yoga pose. Just start where you are, and your practice will build over time. You’ve got the rest of your life to master the poses – for now, just breathe.
9. Teachers love to answer questions! Whether it’s a question about a pose, about the philosophy of Yoga, or what a Sanskrit word means — they really do want to help you! So if you don’t understand what’s going on, please ask!
10. Keep coming back. When you’re new to anything, it’s normal for there to be moments of frustration and discomfort. Despite what you might see on TV, Instagram, Facebook, or Yoga Journal, Yoga is not the same thing as going to a spa to get pampered. It takes work. It can be exhausting — physically, mentally, and emotionally. At times you will want to throw up your hands and quit, or at least curse your teacher for making you hold that pose longer than you thought necessary! Please, have patience with yourself. This is where the healing happens. Breathe into it, and come back tomorrow. You’ll be so glad you did!