By Bre Nourse
I am a firm believer in the fact that yoga is for everyone, but not every type of yoga is for everyone. As a yoga teacher I have seen students come and go from my classes. Some stay on and practice regularly with me and others make their way to other teachers or class styles. As I have watched this occur time and time again, I have come to realize it is not uncommon for many people to try out a class or two and leave a bit frustrated or feeling like they didn’t get what they needed. While I never enjoy losing students, I understand how discouraging finding the right yoga style and teacher can be. Fortunately, your yoga experience doesn’t have to end this way!
As I persisted on my pursuit of yoga I came to a few realizations about the practice of yoga. I’d love to share them with you in the hopes that you can feel a little less frustrated and a bit more fulfilled with the time you spend on your mat!
Be Positive, Be Patient
I have found that if I do my best to stay positive about a class or new teacher that my experience is greatly benefited from that positive mindset. Just because one class wasn’t for me, doesn’t mean that another class or teacher won’t be. This sort of positive thinking also requires a great deal of patience. Over years of practicing, I have learned to be patient with how I progress in each pose. That patience is incredibly necessary when trying to find the right style of yoga for you.
Treat Yoga Like An Ice Cream Shop
This one may sound a little bit funny but yoga is a lot like an ice cream shop! There are many “flavors” of yoga and until you try each flavor you really will never know if you like it! I personally love vanilla (vinyasa), rocky road (yin), and on occasion raspberry sorbet (aerial yoga). It wasn’t without a lot of “taste testing” that I found the flavors of yoga that were right for me. Sometimes you can even find your favorite flavor but need a bit more. I like to call this the cherry on top. You may love the flowing nature of a vinyasa practice but something might be missing, that thing is usually finding the right teacher or studio environment.
Explore Every Limb Of Yoga
Yoga is more than just asana (movement). The eight limbs of yoga are filled with individual practices that include, breath work, meditation, action, discipline and so much more. If moving on the mat doesn’t feel right for your mind or body right now, seek out those alternative limbs of yoga through workshops or events held in your area. The pieces of a yoga practice that can be picked up from the various limbs of yoga can give you exactly what you need to find your place on the mat.
Step Out Of Your Comfort Zone
If you are the type of person that runs daily and takes HIIT (high intensity interval training) classes, you may need to slow things down with a yin or restorative practice. However, if you are more on the slow side of movement, you might want to opt for more vigorous vinyasa classes. Often when we overload ourselves in just one way, we don’t give our bodies the balanced benefits they need and crave!
So much of life can be weighed down in the pursuit of our passions or daily work goals. Exercise and movement does not have to be such a serious thing! Yoga should be fun, it should be engaging, and it should inspire you to tune in to your body and mind. Don’t be afraid to laugh at yourself in those moments on the mat that seem a little crazy. Keeping your practice light hearted will help you really enjoy your asana practice all the time!
Yoga is an incredible practice and an excellent compliment to any healthy lifestyle. With a positive mindset, willingness to try something new, and a can do fun attitude, your time on the mat will become something you look forward to every week!