27 Oct The Beginners Bible
Calling all beginner yogis:
Let’s face it; starting something new is not always easy. Stepping outside your comfort zone forces you to face some of your biggest insecurities, and it can take some time before you feel comfortable and confident. So you’re definitely not alone if you’ve ever felt like the inexperienced clown on a yoga mat! Yes, your novice phase should include things like:
- Hiding at the back of the class and secretly imitating the yogi closest to you.
- Misinterpreting your teacher’s instructions and applying your own “unique” postures.
- Marvelling at the finesse, ease and downright insane asanas from some of the other yogis in the room.
- Pondering how to escape from the class without people noticing.
- Believing that your practice will never progress.
The reality is that progressing in your yoga practice means abandoning the common fear, apprehension and anxiety of being a novice. Every person that has ever embarked on a journey with yoga has always started at the beginning, so let that be a comfort to you. Take a moment to recall the very first time you left a yoga class. How did you feel? Relaxed, peaceful, flowing, connected, strong, passionate? This is how you should feel every time you step off your mat, it’s these feelings that should drive you to commit and progress!
Some handy hints to improve your lingo and your practice:
Om: It’s difficult to apply a single definition to the word Om. It is a mystic syllable and is considered to be a highly sacred mantra in Hinduism and Buddhism, appearing at the beginning and end of most Sanskrit texts and prayers. It’s also commonly chanted at the beginning and end of a yoga class and is said to be the sound of the universe. This article has an amazing explanation of all things Om, have a read!
Asana: physical yoga postures aimed at strengthening and purifying the body.
Yoga Sutra: An ancient collection of statements written by Indian sage Patanjali. The statements ultimately serve as a guidebook for most of the yoga that is practiced today and explores the eight limbs.
Eight Limbs of Yoga: Traditionally called ashtanga – literally meaning eight limbs.
Yamas- the restraints
Niyamam- personal observances
Pratyahara- control of the senses
Dharana- concentration and inner perception
Samadhi- ultimate consciousness and complete union
Everyone has to start somewhere! Read how Warrior One’s Dustin and Nova learned to live and love their yoga journey:
- How long have you been practicing yoga?
We have both had a regular yoga practice for 5 years now.2. Why did you choose yoga?
I first started with hot yoga with the goal to strengthen and tone my body. I chose yoga purely for aesthetic / superficial reasons without really knowing much about it. At the time hot yoga was a Melbourne craze. I instantly became obsessed and jumped in the deep end with a 30 day challenge! I saw significant differences in both my mind and body, but I knew there was so much more to discover, I had only just removed the seal, and this is where the journey begun! – Nova
I was strongly encouraged by Nova to try yoga. At the time I was a full time BJJ athlete and was looking for something to compliment my sport. My body was tight and as a result constantly getting injured. After just one class I instantly knew that this was going to be an amazing practice for my body but at the time I didn’t realize the infinite possibilities of the practice. – Dustin
3. Did you find it difficult to begin with? Physically + psychologically.
Definitely! I found it extremely challenging. I thought it was going to be much easier, but it was both physically and mentally difficult! To this day I am still challenged by yoga however that’s why I love it, there is always more to learn. Even as a teacher I still consider my self a student. Getting on my mat every day is the most rewarding experience and the best way I can honor my mind and body. – Dustin
For me it was trying to create a new habit that was the most challenging. Turning up to the yoga studio is what I found the hardest. Once I am on my mat, whether I am feeling good or bad in my mind and body that day is irrelevant. It is always the best hour of my day. – Nova
4. How long did it take you to feel entirely comfortable on the mat?
Probably not until after my first teacher training. That was when I realized I had to stop comparing myself to others and focus on what was going on internally. – Dustin
Same as Dustin, and for me it can still be a challenge at times. To switch off the mind, be present and just be. Be okay with who I am on the yoga mat. To not compare and not worry how flexible, how strong or how anybody else looks in that pose. I am still learning to respect my body and listen to how I feel. And not to let ego (a word I dislike so much) get in the way. – Nova
5. What advice can you offer novice yogis who feel insecure about their practice?
Not to worry what anyone else is doing. It is your mind, your body and your time on the mat. It’s your own personally journey of discovery. Realize that no body is thinking about what your doing. It doesn’t matter how the pose looks, if your having fun, doing no harm and feeling good then you’re doing it right! – Dustin
To respect your body, listen to it, look after it and most importantly love it. As human beings we often compare and judge ourselves too harshly. Try to remember that this is not what yoga is about. Set an intention at the start of class such as ‘self love’ ‘not to compare’ or ‘I am where I need to be in my body’ or something that resonates with you to bring your mind back to your goal and intention of coming to the mat. – Nova
One of our favorite mantras: Be kind to your body, it’s the only place you have to live.