It is that time of year again – many of us look toward 2018 and what we want to accomplish or change.  Becoming more healthy is often times at the top of the list.  Fitness resolutions can be a great motivation to change habits, improve fitness, and create a more healthy life.

Yoga is a great addition to any fitness resolution but can be intimidating, especially for anyone that has not spent much time on a yoga mat.  Regardless of if you are joining a gym or a yoga studio here are some tips and suggestions to get your yoga practice off to a healthy start.

  • Arrive to class early. Getting to class early is a great chance to meet the teacher.  Introduce yourself.  Share your goals, your fears, and where you think yoga may help you out.  Let the teacher know your yoga experience and ask for any tips to make the class more successful for you as a student.
  • Keep your mind open. DC has an incredibly strong teacher population and each teacher practices and teaches from a style that resonates with them.  There is a yoga secret here that needs to be shared – you will not respond to every teacher.  And that’s ok.  Take classes from a variety of teachers to find the ones that you really like taking class with.  And then keep taking class with them, while still trying new to you teachers out.
  • Don’t spend a lot of money. There is a vast quantity of yoga props and clothing you can buy.  When you initially start, do not go overboard buying these things.  Instead, find out if you can rent a mat from the gym or studio as a way of test driving mats.  Clothing should be comfortable, easy to move in, and allow for you to focus instead on the practice and think less about “looking the part.”
  • Give yourself time to learn and grow into the practice. Yoga is an incredibly amazing way to help become more fit.  But there is a significant learning curve.  Rather than focusing on achieving an inversion or arm balance, focus on the poses that help you learn to connect more deeply with your breath, your body, and laying the groundwork for those poses.
  • Come back. As mentioned previously, yoga is a journey, and should be approached as such.  Starting the practice once or twice per week is a really great start.  Let yoga work in your fitness and in your life in the magical way that it does.
  • Have fun.   Have fun with your practice.  Bring a friend.  Make friends with those around you during your practice.  Building these connections helps to establish a longer, healthier practice both on and off the mat.
  • Show up. Time on the mat is one of the best, and only, opportunities we still have to shut off the phone, step out of the office, leave friends/family outside, and focus only on ourselves.  It is an amazing chance to learn more about yourself.  But you have to be willing to show up – every time you roll the mat out.

The mat is waiting.