Monday, August 4, 2014

Yoga Week, Day One: Tips for Starting Yoga with Jenny Ravikumar

This morning one of my favorite companies, Tiny Devotions, asked me what my favorite mantra was on Facebook. Sometimes I comment on people’s photos and other times I scroll right through. THIS was one of the photos and questions that made me stop and think for just a moment.

It is actually one of my easiest questions and if it came up in an interview of any kind I would know the answer immediately. Isvara Pranidhana which means the belief in God or blind faith. It’s a surrendering and understanding that wherever you are right now is EXACTLY where you’re supposed to be and it’s perfect.

In yoga this is my favorite concept to teach but also one of the most difficult concepts to understand. We need to surrender to what is and accept ourselves where we are right now. As a teacher I welcome in anyone who is interested in learning about yoga. Yoga to me is not about shape or size or physical ability – it’s about the desire to learn and the ability to arrive. Simply put. The hardest part of attending any yoga class is walking through the front door.

If you’re interested in learning about yoga but are afraid you can’t touch your toes, I have news for you: not everyone can and it’s okay. In fact half of the reason you arrive on the mat is to find more flexibility and more acceptance in your body. To help you ease the “pain” of arriving on the mat for the first time I have created a few tips for your arrival!

1) Arrive EARLY!

One of my biggest pet peeves as a teacher is when someone who has never been to the Shala arrives 2 minutes before I lock the front door. Without a few moments to introduce yourself, I have no idea if you have any injuries or what your experience with yoga is. I also need time to enter in your information into our system and if you don’t arrive early this may interfere with starting on time. Starting on time is essential, which is why in some studios you may find yourself locked out if you arrive at 9:31 for a 9:30 am class.

2) Answer questions truthfully

I always like to know about past experience and injuries in your body. This helps me to create a class for every student, offer out modifications and be sure to push you without pushing you over the edge. I like to know a little bit about you: where do you work (do you sit at a desk all day and need shoulder openers?), do you have children (are you here looking for quiet and peace?). I appreciate the ability to learn about you as it creates a better student/teacher relationship and significantly better classes.

3) Be prepared with proper attire and equipment

All you need to attend a yoga class is a yoga mat, a bottle of water and yourself (in proper yoga clothes). This does NOT mean you need to go to Lululemon and spend $100 before you even arrive at the studio {save that for a few months down the line}. It does mean you arrive in a workout outfit (no jeans), bare feet and proper body hygiene. Make sure you put on a little deodorant or wash those piggy toes before hoping on the mat and sharing energy with the others in class.

4) Give it time

You will not be perfect your first class. The teacher is not a yoga goddess that knows the secrets of the world, she is a normal person. The class may not be right for you: too fast, too slow or the teacher’s voice was just annoying. This does NOT mean you should avoid yoga. This means you should keep trying. Look at the schedule to read about other class descriptions or ask the teacher after class of any other styles that you may benefit from. Keep trying until you find the perfect mixture of YOUR brand of yoga. Some people like music, some like reading while others like hot power yoga with no spirituality attached. YOU get to choose what works best for your mind, body & soul so stick with it and keep searching!

I hope you enjoy your first time on the mat! Remember, yoga is for EVERY body. There will be a perfect class for you if you take that leap of faith and surrender to knowing you are exactly where you need to be!

Sending you lots of yogi love and light!


Jenny Ravikumar is a yoga instructor in the greater Boston area. You can check out her studio, Barefoot Yoga Shala or be sure to follow her on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and her website!

1 comment:

  1. sounds relaxing. :)


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