As someone who do Yoga, let me share some 10 things I wish I had known before starting yoga but I am happy it caught me by surprise each time.
1. Respect other’s practice just as much as you do yours. Arrive on time (early, if you can) and whenever you feel like you can’t do any more poses, just lay on child’s pose and wait for the class to finish.
2. That it is okay to not chant. If you don’t understand the mantra or chant, it is very much okay to just sit on your mat and wait till the chant ends. I remember my first Ashtanga class I went to, there was a mantra spoken in Sanskrit that I don’t fully understand (and didn’t know that they will chant in the opening and closing of the class) and I just sat there and wait, and googled it as soon as the class is over. Now I chant and I chose to do it as an offer of dedication to my time spend on self-realization and setting goals to my practice on a daily basis.
3. A good diet is the diet that doesn’t have a dateline and will last throughout your life. And just like diet, yoga is the same. Unlike a crash diet that has a due date, in yoga you can’t really say you will be doing a headstand by this time and date. Just do your practice everyday and once you can finally do it, you will catch yourself by surprise, just remember to smile when that happens and be grateful for the practice you’ve been doing all these time.
4. There is no competition in yoga. You can let your neighbor become an elastic band, just don’t focus on her and how bad you look beside her. Just focus on yourself and how far you have gone from the first practice and yourself today. Just compete with ‘yesterday you’ and nobody else.
5. There are so many types of yoga that I don’t understand, so which one should I choose? Vinyasa, Hot, Asthanga, Bikram, Hatha, Kundalini, Pwer, Yin?? Hey.. as a newbie just try as many trial classes first and see which you like best. It’s very much okay to be the newbie in class but master it later rather than not trying the class in the first place. In the end, it all aims for the union of body, mind, and spirit.
6. It’s okay to not understand Sanskrit before starting yoga. You will learn it eventually if you remember to do the poses right, just be familiar with the pose. Some teachers use mainly Sanskrit names for the yoga poses, but here’s the good news, some hardly use any at all. So just concentrate on your poses rather than the names of the poses.
7. I know sometimes you think that it’s impolite to fart in front (or back) of someone, but farting in yoga is perfectly fine. A lot of poses in yoga concentrate on creating a healthier digestive system , so don’t make the one who farts feel any more uncomfortable than she already has. And if you are the one who let go of some gas, just say “excuse me” and try to get back to your practice.
8. Remember to rest well. Just because yoga seem like a low-impact exercise, it doesn’t mean you don’t need the rest. I tried going for a hot yoga session after a night out without any sleep, and ended up sneezing and barely could finish the class. Your body needs to recover, well hydrated and well rested before you do yoga.
9. Savasana or Corpse Pose is my favorite pose in yoga (for me) always stay for this final resting pose. This is one of the most important pose to complete your yoga session with total stillness and relaxation to help you concentrate on what you have achieved during the practice.
10. Yoga could just be love at first practice. This love for yoga will catch you by surprise, but rest assured that this love relationship will only grow positively with you.