I remember when I first started taking fitness classes over twenty years ago. I was into all the high-intensity classes like boot camp, kickbox, and spin; I had no desire to ever waste my time taking a “boring yoga class.” I had preconceived ideas about the people that practiced yoga. As far as I was concerned; yoga wasn’t even a workout. I was certain I wouldn’t break a sweat. I assumed all “yogis” were born flexible and all they did was sit on their mat chanting mantras. Many of the poses I had seen in magazines were advanced handstands or some sort of twisted pretzel pose that looked so unachievable, I dismissed the idea of ever stepping foot into a yoga class.
Fast forward twenty years or more and believe it or not, I’m the one in the picture above doing a yoga arm balance, crow pose. Luckily I discovered that preconceived ideas are limiting and can prevent us from experiencing a full life. Back in the 90s, I took a job as a group fitness coordinator at a local gym. The owner wanted to add yoga to our program and as a group fitness coordinator, I was required to teach all the classes on our schedule. I was extremely intimidated by yoga but decided it was my job to take on the challenge.
I needed to get yoga on the schedule and introduced successfully to our members. I reluctantly signed up for a basic certification class and was introduced to some basic, intermediate, and a few advanced poses. Although I was not very flexible, I learned that I could actually do yoga and that it was surprisingly a very challenging workout.
Aside from the flexibility and strength benefits, I learned that the relaxation and meditative aspects of the practice were invaluable. As I begin to teach yoga, I realized that I didn’t need to be extremely flexible, or know all the Sanskrit (words for yoga poses and concepts) to be a good teacher. I made the class my own and started as a beginner with my students. Over the years, I gained more knowledge, confidence, and developed a love for the practice.
Yoga is now one of my favorite classes to teach and I hope to inspire others to open their mind to the practice and what a difference it can make in their lives. The benefits of yoga are endless; it improves strength, balance, flexibility and strengthens the core. In addition, it is an amazing stress reliever; once you learn to let go and relax, you become better equipped to handle anything life throws your way.
If you are new to yoga, make sure to start with a basic class and a qualified instructor who is certified to teach yoga. One of my favorite teachers is world renowned instructor, Rodney Yee, who has been featured in over 25 top-selling yoga videos.
Below is a link to youtube if you want to try his beginner class.