We get a lot of questions about joining yoga classes and yoga retreats as complete beginners: “I’m not good at yoga, is it okay for me to join in?” or “I’m not flexible at all, can I still do yoga?”, and often people state that they’re nervous about coming to a group class because “what if I’m the only beginner who doesn’t know what to do”.
We recently had a brief chat with one of our yoga retreat guests. We got into talking about the barriers they had had for starting yoga classes a few months earlier and for coming to stay at Hilltop for their first ever yoga retreat. They told us how they had overcome these barriers by just going for it and trying a yoga class!
First, our guest told us how they had expected to be very self-conscious in a group class because they had never done yoga before, they were a complete beginner. They thought that others might be looking at them, and they would be THE inflexible one in the class while others would easily move into the poses.
To us this sounded like a very familiar feeling and many of us have had these exact same thoughts when starting a new activity: “I’ll be the odd one out, the one who can’t do it or doesn’t already know how it’s done”. But when yoga is taught in a welcoming, accepting, and open-minded environment, one soon finds the same nice atmosphere as our retreat guest found…
So, we continued the chat with our guest, and they said that after thinking about joining a yoga class (and eventually a yoga retreat) for a long time, they decided to give it a go and the experience was very different from what they had expected: “Everyone was just minding themselves, focused on their own practice on their own mat. People weren’t looking around at what others were doing at all.”
We were so happy to hear this from them as this is the message we’d like to get through to more people. However, it can be hard to believe if you haven’t experienced it. Media shows a rather distorted image of yoga which – no wonder – pushes a lot of people away from classes. The word “yoga” on Google search floods your screen with pictures of advanced yoga poses and bendy people in awkward shapes. That’s yoga, yes, but there is this whole other dimension of yoga as well, and in that dimension, we don’t care about what our bodies look like in different poses (as we know that they will always look different).
We come onto the mat to observe how we feel on that day. Maybe to stretch, maybe to become stronger or to de-stress and relax. And we know that in our classes at Hill Club Yoga Studio people really focus on what’s going on on their own mat; neighbours are left alone and free from judging or comparing looks.
If we can help you at all in starting your yoga journey, drop us a message. We’re here to help! Let’s keep breaking barriers on and off the mat.
First picture by Mikhail Nilov at pexels.com
Second picture by Hilltop Wellness Resort