How to Celebrate National Yoga Month Without Even Taking a Class

IMG_0212September is National Yoga Month and the yoga community wants us to roll out a mat and celebrate all the feel-good wellness benefits of yoga.

It’s true. There’s much to love about yoga, as I was reminded when I stepped back on my mat after a long layoff last year. (Read 5 Wellness Lessons I Learned from Quitting Yoga)

For newcomers though, taking a class—even a free class—can open a Pandora’s box of workout fears. Will I be able to keep up? Will I have to stand on my head? Will I have to chant? I’m not flexible. I’m so out of shape. Yoga is way too ****ing hard!

How Come I’m Not on the Guest List?

The last one is how my sister feels about yoga. She’s been making a concerted effort to manage a recent health concern with positive lifestyle changes like walking regularly, switching up to a healthier diet, and even venturing into a beginner yoga class.

The full content of her e-mail read:

I tried to take a yoga class and said **** this! Way too ****ing hard—it stressed me out. And it was supposed to be an easy class! 

I guess I won’t be sending her a link to a free week of classes at her local yoga studio this month.

IMG_0226

My sister does enjoy practicing yoga with her cat.

My sister often says out loud what other people are thinking, and she’s not the first person I’ve met who doesn’t feel invited to the yoga party. Honestly, as the trend has shifted toward fast-paced workout style classes, I’ve muttered a few expletives of my own while trying to keep up.

Celebrating Yoga Sans Mat

I have good news for newbies though. The things I love most about my yoga practice actually happen off the mat. Many of them are easy, accessible, feel-good activities that not only enrich my life but make it a healthier, happier one.

I hate to see people sitting on the sidelines of anything, especially when our wellness is at stake. So, if rolling out a mat on the floor of a yoga studio gives you heart palpitations (like it does my sister), why not get into the spirit of National Yoga Month by trying some of these fun, yoga-like activities on your own:

  • BREATHE! Yogis like to say,”Everything becomes yoga when you combine mindful movement with the breath.” Try this next time you’re washing dishes or chauffeuring your kids around after school. See if you notice a difference.
  • Wear yoga pants as often as possible. They are loose, comfy, and allow you to strike out on a 10-minute wellness walk at any time of the day.
  • Practice Savasana, or “napping” pose daily. When you give it a fancy Sanskrit name, you don’t have to feel guilty taking one.
  • Green up your life. Eat more green, try a green smoothie, use green cleaning products, bring your own grocery bags to the store. Green living feels healthy and is good for the planet too.
    IMG_0098

    Mindful cooking class at Cocina Que Canta.

  • Read Yoga Journal. Maybe it would be helpful to know more about yoga before you take your first class. This is my source for feel-good yoga info.
  • Go surfing for wellness on Instagram. Smile, feel inspired, and even laugh about yoga. Right now, I’m obsessed with @yoga_digest because it makes me do all three!
  • Chant. My go-to wellness chants are, “I can do this!” “It’s my turn!” “Today’s the day!” When life feels difficult, they put me back on the path every time.
  • Practice living in a no-judgement zone. You’ll need this for when you are ready to take your first yoga class.
  • Love all beings–especially the difficult ones. (You might have to start taking a yoga class to do this.)
  • Love yourself. Practice self-compassion. (See above about the yoga class.)
  • Take your first yoga class on YouTube. Eliminate the fear factor by learning the lingo and a few beginner poses in the privacy of your own home.

Beginner’s Mind

IMG_0169

Yoga sans mat!

There’s a saying in yoga, “Step on to your mat with beginner’s mind.” But for many real beginners, their mind is saying, “Holy c***! This is too hard!”

I get it. Rolling out a yoga mat for the very first time can be scary. That’s why starting your practice off the mat might be a better way to go.

So, breathe deeply today, pack your lunch with a fresh green salad, flip through Yoga Journal while you’re waiting in line at the grocery store. Inspiring your life with feel-good, yoga-like activities could be your ticket to go live in a real class before National Yoga Month is over.

Feel good. Be well. Meg

Do you remember your first yoga class? I sure do! I’d love to hear about it along with any fun tips for beginners.

Or try this week’s wellness prompt . . . 

IMG_7301Wellness Prompt: Do you remember when you were a beginner at something—yoga, tennis, writing, a new job? What was that experience like? What were you afraid of and how did you get beyond that fear to stick with the activity? Has that experience served to help you through other “newbie” experiences? 10 minute write . . . go!

8 Comments on “How to Celebrate National Yoga Month Without Even Taking a Class

  1. Hi Meg,
    I have only taken one yoga class ever, but I really enjoyed it and I would like to do it again.
    Thanks again for visiting my site MostlyBlogging.com today.
    Janice

    • Perfect time to step onto your mat again–see if the link will provide a week of free classes somewhere nearby. I have mine! I am so glad I found your site. Will be a follower!

  2. Thanks so much for posting this Meg.
    Whenever I take a yoga class I come away with some very un-yogi-like thoughts; “I suck at yoga” being the most common.

    I much prefer working through some poses on my own, at home, in front of a video or online demo. And really do have to remind myself to leave the judgement off the mat 🙂

    • OMG! I really have been wondering if it is only me these days–or maybe a mid-life kinda thing that I just don’t want to have to “keep up” anymore. I love leaving my house and entering the quiet space of a yoga studio–but it has to be the right kind of class for me to do it. Thanks for sharing.

  3. Thanks, Meg! Love your wisdom. Will not judge anything that happens to me today! But is it okay if I judge this as the best thing I’ve read in a long time?? Since your last blog, in fact?

  4. I’ve discovered it’s usually all right there in the class titles. My yoga strategy is to look for “yoga for stress reduction” , “meditative yoga”, “restorative yoga” or the very popular “gentle yoga”. If I choose one of those, my yoga practice truly “flows”.

    • Yes. I think those titles are turning up more and more these days. Good tip! Thanks for stopping by.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

CommentLuv badge