Flashback to days filled with yoga, dance, bootcamp and sweaty smiles galore at the Propel blogger Co:Labs fitness festival in LA last month. I had a blast, as you might have seen from some of my past posts from the festival, and this one was no different! I spent the morning in an inspiring yoga-sesh with Heather Lilleston, the creator of “Yoga For Bad People” (one of my faves), and a live performance by Gabriel Garzon Montano for an amaze class. Read on for some tips on when, why and where to start a yoga practice below!
I love, love, love this class and this cutie! Heather has such a calming, positive, down-to-earth-vibe that I love being around, and I’m pleasantly reminded of that every time I take a class with her. When I find a yoga teacher that I can really relate to, it changes the entire experience of a class and makes all the difference. I had such a blast this entire weekend meeting so many new faces in the fitness industry. It was the perfect way to connect and get sweaty with so many talented instructors.
Below are some tips from YOGA FOR BAD PEOPLE, with Heather Lilleston & Katelin Sisson on when, why and where to start a yoga practice!
- Consistency & Teacher who speaks your Heart Language
Starting and then staying consistent to a yoga practice is the hardest part and the most important part. Consistency is the key to a successful practice. Setting yourself up for success is a massively important element to tie in right from the beginning because it will set the tone for a lifelong relationship with taking care of your body and mind well.So in starting out, do your due diligence in finding a class or teacher that you really like and who you feel like you can learn from. This will keep you interested in returning to class on a daily basis. Commit to something like “everyday for 30 days” or “6 times a week for 6 weeks”. That consistency initially will allow you to break through any layers of resistance and laziness, so you can feel the results of consistent practice. Even if you veer away in the future, you will always remember the feeling of consistency, and that feeling is an easy one to lure you back to practice. Because you will feel good.It may take a few classes to find the teacher you really like, but it is worth the search. So find a teacher who speaks your heart language, and then make a commitment to practicing yoga with them and where they teach with other teachers for a consistent and set amount of time.
- Forget What it Looks Like, Flexibility Does Not Matter
Walking into a yoga class for the first time is like trying to understand a foreign language. It will take time to become accustomed to the words and the system of movement. All of the sudden it feels like you are learning your right from your left all over again.Enter the process with an open mind and a willingness to look a little ridiculous. You won’t actually look ridiculous, but if you give yourself permission to be it takes a lot of pressure off.So many people think that the whole room is going to be watching them when they are a beginner. But it’s important to remember that everyone is really just thinking about themselves and no one is as concerned with you, as you are.
Don’t get in your head about your “performance”. The main thing is to show up, as you are, and work with that. The idea that someone is “advanced” in yoga because they are flexible is ridiculous. The only “advanced” yogis are those who have become enlightened beings, and anyone enlightened is not walking around judging others or competing with others, or showing off their flexibility. A beginners mind is the best kind of mind, and we highly encourage you to maintain that openness and willingness in your practice as long as possible. It’s better to be humble and curious than nailing every move perfectly.
- So You Came to Fix Your Injury…
Many people feel that it is time to take up a yoga practice as they are healing an injury. Not a terrible notion. And we love the proactive approach.That said, it is important to know and understand the severity of your injury so the teacher you are working with can appropriately assist you and help you modify the practice. It is in these cases that sometimes private instruction is beneficial.Don’t be shy to go slow if you are injured. Take a basics class. Ask questions before class or after. Tell the teacher before class what is happening with you and get some tips on how to modify. It is so much easier for a teacher to help you when they know ahead of time.
- Why Start a Practice?
It’s usually some level of suffering that gets us to a yoga class. Whether thats an injury (mentioned above) or heartache or depression or anxiety or general blazay about life, we usually show up looking for something to solve something for us. To fix whats wrong. To make things better. And in many ways yoga does teach us tools to work with everyday feelings that are difficult, and when we have tools it is somewhat easier, but in the end you don’t remove all discomfort and never feel it again.Instead you get stronger within an everyday human experience, you have tools and perspective and thats what makes the whole experience of life gentler in a sense. That is how yoga reduces suffering. Not by removing suffering, but by teaching us how to work with suffering. Big and small forms of suffering.And there will be many phases we go through to learn these tools. It’s activating new muscles and you will inevitably meet resistance. But if you stay through, you will get the reward. And that’s where the freedom is. So start a yoga practice for the tools, not the fixing. Maintain curiosity and humility as much as possible.