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  • Writer's pictureStephanie Spence

New to Yoga? 8 things you may not know.

It's not easy and its not just about stretching and being flexible.

Yoga is not confusing by any stretch of the imagination - but, there are a lot of miss-understandings out there. Here are my top 8

It’s NOT easy

There are many styles of yoga available, and while some are intended to be restorative, none of them are “just sit and breathe and feel the Earth.” If a pose feels easy, ask for a modification to make it more challenging. Physically & Mentally it could be “easy” in the sense that you show up and just “be”, but I have yet to see one of the pro athletes that I see in the hot yoga class I go to make it through the whole thing. You move, you grow – physically, emotionally & spiritually.

It’s not just about stretching and being flexible

Getting bendy is certainly one of the benefits of adapting a regular yoga practice, but a common misconception is that you have to be flexible just to show up, or to practice at all. Lies! You don’t haveto be anything to do yoga (except willing and open-minded). I still hear – a LOT, “I can’t even touch my toes.” Great! So come to yoga—it will help you get there.

Using a block, strap or other prop doesn’t make you a D-list yogi

I hear some teachers nevermodify my poses. There seems to be a lot of pressure to do the “advanced” moves. Using props—like putting your bottom hand on a block instead of straining to reach the floor during Triangle Pose or Half Moon—could help deepen the pose. And it feels way better, especially on those days when everything just feels extra tight.

You can take breaks whenever you need to or want to

In most yoga classes, you’ll be moving, flowing or in a pose from start to finish. Don’t wait for the teacher to tell you to drink water or come into Child’s Pose. No one is looking…

Doing a handstand is not, in fact, impossible or just for yogis on Instagram

But being willing to fall down is a hugepart of yoga. It means you really went for something—something daring and maybe outside of your comfort zone. Yoga is as much mental as it is physical, and there’s a constant element of play. Once you shift your vision—and give myself permission to fall, wiggle and shake—your entire practice will shift with it. Falling out of a pose in yoga, is not failing. It’s learning.

The benefits extend beyond the mat

Has anyone told you to relax? That you need to manage stress? Take it to heart, someone cares… Yoga has taught me to be more kind and patient, and to accept the world the way it shows up for me. Sometimes you have a bad day—that’s life. And that’s OK. Instead of wasting energy on things you can’t change or redo, I’ve learned to redirect my focus toward what’s possible.

It’s called a “practice” for a reason

There’s no end game in yoga; no big “race day,” nothing specific you’re training for. It’s a constant work in progress, and you can almost alwaystake a pose further or make it more challenging. No stress if you don’t do a pose like someone you are looking at (eyes on your mat) – there’s always tomorrow.

You just might fall in love with it

Yoga is an amazing, life-transforming tool that will help boost your performance, mood and health. It’s great as cross training and is amazing at clearing your mind. But, you might also fall OUT of love with yoga at times as well. That’s cool, too. Yoga is a growing, moving, changing practice.

Namaste - Stephanie

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