I’m not flexible. I shouldn’t go to a class until I am, right?
Wrong! That’s a little like saying you can’t go to the beach because you don’t have any sand. Added flexibility is a benefit that many students receive once they begin a regular yoga practice. Being flexible upon arrival at your very first yoga class is not required or even expected. Simply show up with an open mind, try your best not to compare yourself to others, and see what happens.
Will I lose weight if I do yoga?
It depends! It depends on the type of yoga you do, as well as the frequency.
What do I need to begin?
If you are unsure yoga is for you and just want to try out a class, pretty much all studios have mats on hand to rent. Just be sure to spray/wipe it down when you’re done. If you are committing to a regular yoga practice, it it worth it to invest in a good mat (Jade & Manduka both make good ones). As you begin to practice more, you will feel more and more comfortable on your mat and begin to appreciate it’s nuances, such as the marks that may appear over time from where you repeatedly place your hands and feet.
I’m a “bad” yogi because I’m not a vegetarian.
Nope! You do not need to be a vegetarian to practice yoga. It’s true that many yogis are vegetarian because they find that this diet serves them better for a variety of reasons. Non-violence is a central theme of yoga and many people apply this principle to their diet and avoid eating animals. The choice is ultimately yours and not one that you need worry about at the start of your yoga practice.
There are countless scientific studies that have been conducted in recent years about the benefits of meditation. Perhaps most noteworthy might be that meditation has been shown to increase the concentration of gray matter in the areas of the brain related to learning and memory, regulating emotions, sense of self, and having perspective. You can read more about this study here.
A regular meditation practice is one of many tools you can use to to cultivate a happier, more authentic lifestyle. Taking the time to sit, to notice your thoughts and the spaces in between thoughts, takes practice. Over time, you’ll begin to apply the same mindfulness you apply when you’re sitting to other parts of your life.
I tried meditating, but I can’t get my mind to shut off. Does that mean meditation isn’t for me?
This is completely normal! The goal of meditation isn’t to get your mind to shut off. As my dear friend Andy Kelley says, “it’s not about forcing the mind to be quiet, it’s finding the silence that’s already there and making it a part of your life.” When you meditate, you practice noticing when your mind wanders off and gently placing your attention back on your breath or another single point of reference over and over again.
How do you make time to meditate?
Like anything else that becomes a routine, you need to practice. Start small. Taking my seat is one of the first things I do every morning. For years, I had an on-again, off-again practice and during that time, if I had a busy morning, I would often tell myself that I would sit later in the day. That NEVER happened.
Can I get a copy of your playlist?
How often do YOU practice?
It depends on how much I teach. Ideally, I would make it to a class most days of week, since I’m still working on establishing a solid home practice that lasts longer than 10 minutes (doing laundry is never more appealing than when I am supposed to be practicing at home). Over the course of the past year, I practiced anywhere from 0 to 5 times in any given week. I’ve learned that I need to schedule in when I’m going to practice and stick to it.