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Keeping Your Cool as a Beginner in Yoga

Ever find your mind running circles around your Yogi self at class? Frustrated with trying to leave the stresses of life at the studio door for just one hour? Having a hard time just relaxing?

 

It happens to all of us – trust me, I’ve been there. However, do not fret. As there are no ways to get through this immediately, here are some tips to encourage your mind to be as chill as you are on the mat.

 

1.“Impossible” only means you haven’t found a solution (yet). 

First off, recognize that it’s virtually impossible to walk into a Yoga class and forget everything that happened ten minutes before you arrived, even for the most advanced yogis. Many people report that they have trouble leaving the daily happenings of life at the door and having a clear, quiet mind throughout class. All good things take time, so be patient! Whether it takes 20 minutes or 20 classes, you will get to that place! Be kind to your mind.

 

2.Do not let breathing become a job!

Though it seems like the most essential part of meditation, don’t stress about following your instructor’s breathing pattern template. Often times, I’ve found myself so worried about inhaling and exhaling when instructed that I found myself completely missing out on the true relaxation of the session. Instead, think of the words inhaleand exhaleas a reminder to breathe, not so much as a requirement to keep up. Deep breathing at your own pace is a direct route to relaxation, so take your time! After all, Yoga is intended to relax you!

 

3.Eyes on your own mat!

Think back to grade school. Maybe your teacher made you set up dividers or stand up folders so students could not see your work, or maybe your seat was rearranged to spread everyone out for privacy during exams. Compare this to the way others in your yoga class lay out their mats. Usually, everyone is pretty spread out. This being said, do not feel pressured to be at the same flexibility or difficulty level as those in your class. Place your focus on your own development and advancement. That person across the room in crane pose is nothing compared to your killerdownward dog. They were you, once upon a time. Again, patience is key!

 

4.Don’t be afraid to splurge for the serenity!

I know what you’re thinking: the mat with that super cute mandala design on it might not be worth the $30 ($30? in college? never heard of her). Honestly, I’ve found that spending those few extra bucks can do a lot to keep you motivated and eager to go to class despite the hardships of focusing in Tip 1. Think about the excitement you’ll feel when unrolling that gorgeous new mat in front of everyone and the compliments you’ll get. Go for the sparkly water bottle! Grab that crazy mat bag! Wear the neon headband!

*Bonus: Instant. Brownie. Points. With. Your. Instructor. 

 

5. To leave you with a puppy (or two)…

 

 

If you’ve ever been around a puppy (just kidding, I know you have), you’d know that they have infinite amounts of energy. Think of your mind as the tan pug, and all of your daily events as the black pug. Throughout the day, our minds are focused on doing one job at a time, only to be immediately replaced with a new task. Once we give our minds free time, it’s like letting a puppy off its leash, hence the difficulty to focus. Learn to train your mind like you would a puppy and remember that it will calm down with time!

 

As a beginner at any meditative practice, you will most likely find trouble settling in and focusing. Hopefully, these beginner tips helped you to feel at ease and become excited to keep on keepin’on! Sending you the best of luck and hopes of the most relaxing times.

 

 

Kaleigh Valeski

Scranton '20

Third-year Counseling and Human Services major with a packed schedule consisting of Sunday school teaching, becoming a committed yogi, shopping (usually for things I definitely do not need), and staying energized through it all!
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