Tuesday, June 15, 2010

5 Things Every Beginning Yoga Student Should Know

I'm always amazed at the rampant misconceptions about yoga. Even here in the San Francisco Bay Area, where yoga studios are as common as Starbucks, people think yoga is all about stretching and being healthy. I guess it can be that, but it can also be much more. Here are the things I wish everyone understood about yoga.

1. It doesn't matter how flexible or inflexible you are. Really. Being flexible won't make you happier. There's no prize.  Stop suffering and learn to love the body you have!

2. Don't get hung up on how you look in a pose. Everyone else in class is focusing on their own pose. They don't care how you look (unless you're wearing a thong). Let this be your first lesson in ego management.

3. It's OK if you don't know what the Sanskrit words mean. The only people in the room who do are teachers or big yoga dorks.

4. It's not religious—unless you want it to be. Your practice should be unique to you. You're allowed to make it as spiritual, religious, fitness oriented (or not) as you want. (If someone tells you otherwise, please have them call me.)

5. Yoga is an art form, a science, a lifestyle, and a philosophy. But more than anything, it's a way to get to know yourself better. And that's something that benefits us all.

P.S. Thanks to the multi-talented artist/singer/songwriter extraordinairre Cate Kanell for giving Spoiled Yogi a new look! Check out her amazing music at catekanell.com!