So, you’ve discovered the amazing life-changing benefits of yoga and you want everyone around you to experience the power of yoga. Great! Now, the hard part is talking your friends into joining you for that first class. So, here are some tips for you, the seasoned yogi, to help conquer the common fears and build their confidence so they can enjoy the many benefits of yoga for years to come.
“I’m not flexible enough for yoga”
This is a common misconception about yoga, and your friend/loved one just needs to be reminded that being flexible is not a prerequisite for yoga, but rather, a means to get you to your limberest self. It might help them if you give them an example about how your flexibility has improved since starting your yoga practice. When I started practicing, I couldn’t touch my toes and now I can almost lay my chest on my legs. I constantly tell friends that there is always a modification that can help you enjoy the practice without the need to be super bendy.
“I have terrible balance”
Again, having good proprioception (yes we just used that word) is not a prerequisite for yoga, but yoga strengthens the muscle groups that will help aid in better balance as well as help your friend practice stronger focus. We know that in this day and age, holding our focus on one thing can seem incredibly challenging. In some cases, balance can be more of a challenge in one’s mind rather than simply in one’s body.
“Yoga is like another language to me, I don’t know what any of the names of the poses are”
Remind your friend that no one goes into their first yoga class knowing the name of the poses. Learning the sanskrit terms is just part of the “journey” of growing your yoga practice; we are always learning something new. One way to help your friends feel more comfortable would be to show them some of the poses and sequences they will likely see in their first class, for example, show them what Surya Namaskara A and Surya Namaskara B looks like and how the teacher might instruct it.
“I will have no idea what to do”
First off, you should pick a teacher that you think your friend might like and understand best as different teachers click with different students. Try showing them some basic yoga classes online for beginners beforehand to give them an idea of what to expect. When you actually go to class, place your mat in front of your friends mat in class so they can follow you (assuming you feel confident enough in your practice).
“I don’t want to embarrass you”
This is a common fear we hear all the time when attempting a new activity. Good friends challenge and support each other, and a fear of embarrassment could be holding your friend back from many things, not just a yoga class. It would be good to get to class early enough to find a spot in the back of the room so they don’t feel like they are on display. Also, introduce your friend to the teacher before hand and let them know if they have any injuries to be aware of.
Be sure, above all, to enjoy the time you spend together with your friends and loved ones whether it is on the mat or off. Always remember: yoga is a journey, not a destination.
Take yoga classes online at MyYogaworks of varying levels and lengths of time available 24/7.