A Dozen Things to Know Before Starting a Yoga Practice & To Remind Yourself of Each Time You Practice.

1. Yoga is about the union of the mind, body, and spirit. It is not about where you are going or where your ego tells you you should be. It is instead about the observation of the journey there and what comes up in the body and the mind. Find mindfulness and truth (Satya) in all movements small or large and grace in transitions between the poses.

2. Yoga is about you. It doesn’t matter what the person on the mat next to you is doing. Pay attention to yourself, your body and your mind. The person next to you could have an injury or an advanced practice and be working with variations that are not for you.

3. Yoga is not a passive practice. Finding balance and flexibility comes from the selective engagement of certain muscles and opposing forces in each direction. Learning about how to activate these muscles is a long and never-ending journey. Enjoy it!

4. Yoga is about learning to listen to your body. Yoga is a practice, not a perfection. Find the balance between working hard and pushing your edge and honoring your body and not doing something that doesn’t feel right.

5. Yoga is not about achieving certain poses. While it can be fun and inspirational to have something to work towards, pushing too hard or too fast doesn’t serve you. Learn the alignment, the muscle activation, and the bandhas(energy locks). That being said, all bodies are not made for all poses. We all have different bone structures and ranges of motion. This can allow or limit certain postures. Practice non-attachment (aparigraha) to what you achieve and instead be thankful for where you have been. I promise once you find that advanced pose I will have another waiting for you. Enjoy the journey, there is no finish line!

6. Yoga is about discovering an awareness of your body in space and time. Being inverted (upside down) or told to pay attention to movements in your back body can be awkward. Create space for that learning curve.

7. Almost every pose has a modification. If you are not yet able to maintain the full posture in the correct alignment please take the modification! Not building up to the full pose with the necessary strength and alignment is like building a skyscraper and missing all the floors between the ground and the top.

8. Physical assists create the space to bring awareness to something you may not feel or to help support the body to find somewhere new. They are not about you doing something wrong. Afterwards muscle memory can sometimes take over and you can now get to these deeper places on your own. When being assisted, relax and breathe with the teacher. We know you are sweaty, we are used to it!

9. There is no yoga without breath. Anytime you find yourself needing to reconnect with the breath, STOP and create that space. Your practice will thank you for it!

10. A consistent practice requires a minimum of 2-3 days a week. This is where the most progress occurs.

11. Come prepared with everything you need (we are here to help with that if you require) and well hydrated. Once you get to your mat and are set up, the rest will come easy.

12. Have fun! Your yoga practice should occur with a smile and playful, childlike attitude. Remember the days that falling and flipping upside down was fun? Yoga brings those times back! Let your mat be your playground.

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