Why begin a yoga practice?

Posted Oct 20th, 2014 by Kayla Fell

Biz, Molly and myself spent time discussing our popular 8 week Beginners Series in person. Read on for insight if you’re considering enrolling in our series for newer yoga students. There are many reasons why it might be right for you.

Q. What ‘value’ does a Beginner’s Yoga class hold?

Biz : I think the value is on multiple levels. There is value for the true beginner: yoga isn’t an exclusive club but it can often feel like that, particularly for guys. We create an environment that welcomes all regardless of age, gender, body size or shape. We want to take out the intimidation factor and have some fun.
Kayla : Another level of value is for the student who isn’t necessarily a ‘true beginner’. They’ve taken a class at the gym here and there, or used a DVD but they’ve never had someone be hands-on to help them with form or to modify for their body.
Biz : Agreed. Without an informed teacher focused on alignment, we can set up bad habits that could cause problems down the road. There is a lot of ‘intense’ yoga out there these days. Great for a twenty something maybe with no pre-existing conditions. But a class that prioritizes flow (moving quickly between postures) and flexibility over strength and stability can be detrimental to someone just starting out.
Kayla : Yes, our beginners classes are small groups, slow paced and I think people need that. They’re really beneficial for someone coming back from an injury or with a chronic condition. Each of us as teachers are experienced at working with yoga as rehabilitation in some way. The foundational poses you learn in a beginners series are excellent ways to build strength, stability and flexibility. The fancy stuff you see on Instagram is not really the point of yoga!

Q. What’s the biggest challenge for you as teachers?

Molly : As a teacher working with beginners I get to reflect on how yoga interacts with everyday life. What does it mean when a dancer, a mom and a fashion designer all start yoga at the same time? How does daily life reflect in the practice? As a teacher, the challenge is my working out how the yoga practice can meet each of their needs. What are their individual challenges and strengths?
Kayla : Absolutely! And to trust in the transformative power of this practice that has been around for centuries.
Biz : I love teaching for the challenge it offers. After 10 years of teaching beginners, I am always learning a new way to teach a posture or alignment principle because of the students I meet. While some people may not come back after the series, we have enough people that become consistant yoga practitioners after taking a beginners series to know that it can change someone’s life for the better.

Q: What do you think the students enjoy most?

Molly : Beginners have the most fun! The sense of camaraderie between students starting yoga for the first time or learning to backbend, for example, is really something unique to the yoga practice which tends to be very focused on the individual. I love it when people come with a friend and smile through class.
Biz : We have lots of students who are repeat-beginners.. Because they love the small group, they make new friends, it becomes their commitment to get to their mat once a week.
Kayla : There is no sense with a beginning student of them coming with an attitude of all that they think they know, which can get in the way. A new student’s curiosity about yoga and what their body can or cannot do, is the best starting point for a committed, meaningful yoga practice. With a beginner’s mindset, we are reminded that there is always more to learn.

Join Nava Yoga Center’s experienced & compassionate teachers for our popular Beginners Series that run throughout the year. For more info, class times and to pre-register clickhere

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