So you’ve finally have taken the decision to try yoga for the first time. Congratulations! You are one courageous folk, and I truly hope it will change your life just like it changed mine.
Or maybe you have been going from one class to the other from time to time, never really finding the class that suits you?
Regardless of the reason, you and your mat are now looking for the right match: a yoga class that works for you in every way. Here’s how we are going to find it in three simple steps.
1. What are you looking for?
“If you don’t know what you want, you’ll never find it.” – Rob Liano
What are you expecting out of your yoga class? Do you want a practice that will make you move? Are you looking for a way to dive in and find peace? Or maybe simply a class to stretch and relax?
Clearly defining what you are expecting is the first step in getting what you want. As for me, I want everything out of a yoga class! This also applies to life in general. Just like I want everything out of a yoga class, I want way too many things in life and have to learn to deal with reality and the fact that I have limited resources. So maybe set one or two things you would like to get out of your yoga practice?
There you go: you already started practicing yoga, reflecting on what you want.
2. But then, what do you need?
Be careful now: what you want might not be what you need. Humans are creatures of habits. We tend to follow our patterns, as they help us get through the day and often feel safe. These patterns show up when we choose what to eat, how we dress, and of course, which yoga class to follow.
The long-term goal of yoga is liberation. While you might not be starting yoga for that very reason (I don’t know many people who started practicing to free themselves actually, most people are looking for a good stretch or a great sweat. I was.), just keep in mind that you can get much more out of your yoga class than the asanas (the physical practice).
Therefore, I am encouraging you to also reflect on what you need. Knowing that we tend to go towards what feels safe, yoga might be a great way to start exploring a bit out of your comfort zone. As for me, I am always on the go, and quite hyperactive. My natural tendency is to go for vinyasa practices (a practice with sun saluations and poses in between, usually in a flow), where I am in my element. That’s what I want. But what I need is stability, standing poses, and longer holds. Practicing Iyengar, which is more about alignment and poses kept for a longer period of time, sometimes even minutes, definitely helped me find balance in my life.
What’s your natural tendency? If like me you like to dance through your life, maybe go for a calmer and more grounding practice? If on the opposite, you are very much in your head, taking a lot of time to reflect before getting in action, why not try a vinyasa class where you’ll get to move through poses without having too much time to reflect.
Based on that, you can now choose the appropriate method for you. You can follow my suggestion and go for the opposite of what you would normally choose, or simply go with what you feel like trying. For me, having fun is not an extra, it is a must. Enjoying your practice is what will keep you motivated to keep going, therefore it is totally okay to start with a practice you know you will enjoy and maybe eventually try a practice outside of your comfort zone.
“Having fun is not an extra, it is a must.” – Dare To Be Jolly
3. Find your studio
Now that you know what method you would like to try, you get to pick the yoga studio where you’ll get the chance to learn more and develop your practice. Based on the method you choose, look for studios in your neighborhood that would teach that specific method, or simply for classes similar to what you are looking for. I recommend you call before subscribing to ask more questions about the different classes and teachers to find a class that will match your level and your needs.
Be careful what you wish for! Once you get into a class you really like, you might fall in love. As we were saying, humans are creatures of habits. I love being part of a yoga community, and once I choose a studio, I tend to stay for a long while. I usually go to classes 3 to 5 times a week, so it basically becomes my second home. I hope that with all that advice soon you will also find your home/OM base. Namaste.