November 25, 2013

10 Things to Stop Worrying About in Yoga Class. ~ Alice Van Ness

Ten Things to Stop Worrying About in Yoga Class:

1. You think you are tight.

You are not tight. Can you sit on the floor? Yes? Good. Can you tie your own shoes? Good. Can you get dressed? Good. Can you scratch your back when you have an itch? Yes? Then you are not really that tight in the grand scheme of things. I know you feel stiff. We all feel that way! I assume it’s part of what got us here. We all feel that tightness in the first standing forward fold of class. Also you can stop telling the teacher, “Oh I’m so tight!” Breathe and relax. Tightness is normal.

2. If you are late, it’s okay, but…

Just please try to not bring the frustrated and rushed energy into class—drop that at the door. Also, attempt to not make a habit of it and consider if rushing to relax is good for you. Stuff happens—traffic, kids, you can’t find parking—so please, if you do come in late, come into the room so quietly as if you are creeping into a room of napping preschoolers and quickly sit near the door. If the teacher offers a seated mediation time at the beginning of class, this is not the time to get your props!

3. You are strong enough to do handstand.

Trust me. Can you do downward facing dog and side plank? Then I bet you can do handstand. I know getting into handstand is the hard part. Keep trying.

4. Stop worrying about what everyone else in class thinks of you.

They are more concerned with what they are doing. Trust me.

5. Don’t worry if you can’t keep up or you can’t do the pose that everyone else is doing.

Let go of the thoughts that you don’t measure up. Just do what you can, ask for help, use props, and go slow. We’ve all been there, even the yoga teacher.

6. Do not become concerned if you’re not “improving”.

I did yoga for about seven years without any dramatic physical changes. Did I enjoy myself? Yes! Then I got into teacher training and started to practice at home and it all changed for me. It’s a long-term project and progress is not required. A serious I-get-up-at-6:00-a.m.-and-do-30-sun-salutations-and-then-a-20-minute-headstand kind of practice isn’t for everyone.

Yoga once a week or when you have time is still good yoga. Some is better than none. That being said, if you do want to see changes, you’ll need to commit to at least three times a week. For dramatic changes, practice everyday for at least 20 minutes.

7. Ladies, stop worrying that your underwear is showing.

Maybe it is, maybe it’s not. It’s okay, I’ve seen it all. Once I saw a guy’s ball fall out of his shorts, so don’t worry about your panty line.

8. Stop worrying about what your hair looks like.

That is not what the mirror is there for.

9. Don’t worry about what you are wearing.

You do not need to have that $250 outfit to do great yoga.

10. You are strong, beautiful and amazing just because you took time away from sleeping in, or your kids, or work, or watching TV to come to my class.

You are already cool in my book. So don’t worry about impressing me or if you are doing the pose “right”. You know what impresses yoga teachers? People who are really dropping into their bodies and trying their best.


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Editor: Jane Henderling

{Photo via toddsmithdesign on Flickr}

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