September 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!
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.
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.
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:
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 . . .
Wellness 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!