Yoga in Costa Rica: 5 Tips for Beginner Yogis
Posted by admin on January 31, 2013
Many of our students that come to the School of the World Costa Rica for yoga classes are complete beginners. Being a beginner at anything as an adult can be daunting. Many people are apprehensive about taking a yoga class because they fear they will feel silly trying something they have never done before. After all, who wants to be the only person in the room who doesn’t know what they are doing? If you are just beginning your journey into yoga or are thinking about beginning yoga classes but are uneasy about taking the plunge here are a few tips to help you take those first steps as a yogi:
1. Lose the Inner Critic
I am not flexible
I will look stupid
I have no balance
I will not be “good” at yoga
All of those mantras plague our deliciously active minds on repeat until we begin to believe them. But here’s the thing; we are the only ones who believe those statements to be true. No one expects you to turn up at a yoga class as a pro, with ridiculous flexibility and balance. That is why you find a teacher and a class to practice with, so that you may practice. Pay no attention to the endless dialogue that goes on in your head. You only need one reason to take a yoga class, and that is an earnest desire to do yoga, that is it. The rest is just static.
2. Remember, No One is Watching You
For some reason we have this absurd thought that we will in some way be on display during a yoga class. As if somehow our mat will be on a stage high above everyone else’s making us prime targets of other people’s judgmental thoughts and mockery. Back in reality, no one else is watching or judging you but you! Everyone else is too busy working on their own practice to be concerned. The only person paying attention to you is the teacher, and it is her job to be watching you so that she can teach you how to progress your practice.
3. Begin Where You Belong
This may sound fairly obvious, but begin with a beginner’s class. Many students feel compelled to skip the elemental phase and dive head first into intermediate or advanced classes. Perhaps it is because our culture is so driven by results that many times students throw themselves into a vigorous 90 minute Vinyasa class and as a result spend the majority of the time flailing around frustrated. When students jump right into advanced classes they have little knowledge of why they are doing what they are doing in class. Yoga asana is an ancient art that we must respectfully and mindfully learn. Don’t be ashamed to be a beginner. Learn the foundations, alignment and proper positioning. Your practice can only become advanced if you have had the foundations.
4. Know Your Own Body
If you have an injury or another physical ailment that might affect your practice always tell the teacher. But you know your own body better than anyone else and as such it is your responsibility to take care of it. There is a very fine line between pushing yourself to your “edge” where you can experience growth/expansion and pushing yourself beyond this point to pain and re-injury. The last thing you want, especially if you are at a yoga retreat in Costa Rica, is a debilitating injury. Bottom line, neither be too timid or too bold. Listen to your body; you might need to quiet your mind chatter to do so!
5. Dedicate, Dedicate, Dedicate
If you feel frustrated with the limits of your physical form when you are practicing yoga (which, believe me, you will!) then dedicate. Remember there is somebody else out there who doesn’t get the privilege today, or maybe even ever, of unrolling that sticky mat. Especially if you are privileged enough to get to practice yoga in Costa Rica! There will always be someone more advanced that you and there will always be someone less advanced than you. Dedicate because regardless of where you stand in your yoga practice progression you have privilege of being physically able to practice. Once you begin to understand the enormity of this privilege you will begin to care less and less whether or not you are perfect.
If you get this last tip down, you will no longer be a beginner, after all being a yogi comes from the inside.