I hear so often from people who are new to yoga and don’t know where to start. Snarky as I am, I often retort; you start at the beginning. That isn’t much of an answer, and surly doesn’t provide any information as to where the head of the trail is located.
There are a couple of reasons I respond like this. One, a long, well explained answer would surely provide more information, yet in general does not answer the question but rather, alienates the audience. Two, most people just want to know of a class that is beginner friendly, which can mean different things to different people. Knowing this I go with the snarky answer and follow up with my favorite quip; finding a yoga class for you is like finding a pair of jeans that you like. There are many different styles, sizes, designers, and manufacturers of jeans and you aren’t going to just wear any old pair, you’re going to wear the ones that fit and feel good to walk around in. Same goes for yoga, there are many different styles and studios and teachers and there is one, or a few out there for you; styles, classes, and teachers that you are going to enjoy and want to return to. So, the best place to start is where you are, and from there keep trying classes on until you find something that fits something you would take home and put in your closet.
Another place to start is with a class series. While signing up for a series of classes doesn’t necessarily give you the freedom to dump the class if you don’t like it, it does gift you the responsibility of showing up and the satisfaction gained from learning more because of the cumulative effects of your undertaking. There is more to this than just getting your money’s worth; dedication and commitment are where a practice incites growth, and in growth we gain. Class series inevitably inform the rest of your yoga journey and life, and provide a few solid stepping stones on the path..
In the beginning of my yoga journey I took an 8-week beginner series in Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga. As a result I learned a few important things that have guided me as a practitioner through these last 15 years. First I’m not a fan of the heat and intensity of Ashtanga vinyasa yoga, or any vinyasa yoga practice for that matter. Additionally, I learned a number of little things in that series that continue to inform my practice today; the fundamentals of breath, primary philosophical principals, and asana basics. I learned so much in those 8 weeks that in the end it mattered not if I liked the style of asana practice I was learning because I was learning.
We all seek out things that are comfortable for us and thus we are less inclined to try something new, and even less inclined to try that new thing a second time if we didn’t like it the first time. While I can honestly say I personally do not like intense vinyasa yoga classes I take them from time to time to see if my experience of them has changed; because I change and what I likes changes. Honestly, I hesitate to try new yoga classes because I know what I like, but every time I take a new class, be it style or with a new teacher I learn something and my life is enriched for stepping away from the comforts of what I like and what I know. My yoga practice, from my first class to today, has been a constant effort to settle into the discomfort of my experience without letting it overtake me, without letting it overtake my sense of openness to learning, without letting it steal me from joy. As a result, my yoga practice has enabled me to do this off the mat too, which is where it really counts.
So, where do you start? You start in discomfort. You start in a place that is unknown and uneasy. You start where you are, at the beginning, and you go from there.
This September we are offering a couple of class series at Shree. Both series sets are geared toward the female sex but not because we want to ostracize our male friends, rather because that is where we choose to begin. The first series is an Introduction to Kundalini Yoga and Meditation with HarHari Kaur from Santa Fe. These classes begin Tuesday September 4th from 4:00-5:00 pm and continues on Tuesdays through the month. The second series, Yoga for Teenage Girls will be taught by our very own Alice Zorthian and is designed to teach teenage girls of the refuge always waiting for them within. This series will begin on Saturday September 22nd from 1:30-3:00 pm and comes with a mat when you sign up for the whole program which continues Saturdays through October 13.
Whether it is comfortable or when you sign up for an undertaking like this something will be gained that extends beyond the minor time commitment and will inform you of more of the intrinsic beauty already in your life. So, what are you waiting for; what have you got to lose?
See you in the unknown.
With Love, Always, in All Ways, For Giving,