“Never too old, never too bad, never too late, never too sick to start from scratch once again.” ~~ Bikram Choudhury
For those of you out there who have been practicing yoga for awhile, how often do you take a beginner yoga class? You know, the ones labeled as “Yoga Basics”, “Yoga 101”, “Yoga Foundations”…something like that.
I have to admit that I don’t take them very often. It feels like I barely have time to get in my own practice, so when I do, I usually feel like I’ve got to do some sort of Power or Vinyasa type of class. Or, if I’m having a day where my energy is low or my pain level is high, I find a Deep Stretch or Yin class.
But last week, after teaching a Vinyasa Flow class, I stuck around for the Yoga Foundations class. I knew I would be subbing it this week, so I wanted to stick around and see what kind of students were coming, how the teacher taught, etc. However, I soon got lost in what my body and breath were doing, and it was amazing! Amazing to see how sloppy I’ve gotten in my practice, for one thing. When I’m in a flow-based class like Power or Vinyasa, sometimes it’s hard to really refine my alignment because we move so quickly from one pose to the next. In this Yoga Foundations class, we really spent a lot of time making sure everything was aligned properly and that all the right muscles were doing what they should be. I quickly realized how much I’ve been using momentum to power me through poses for quite some time. And I also could see how weak my core has become, as holding Plank really made my back tired.
Many students and teachers I know say they regularly attend some sort of beginner’s class, and I think that’s great. As a matter of fact, I need to start doing it myself, as I really felt amazing after that class (of course, having such a great teacher made it even better).
If you are new to yoga, then I beg you to please make sure you attend at least a few basics classes before jumping right in to styles such as Power or Vinyasa. It really is so important to know the proper breathing and alignment. If you have been practicing for awhile and consider yourself an intermediate or advanced yogi, then I urge you to attend a basics class now and then. I think you’ll find that you will learn something new, no matter what the pose or how long you’ve been practicing yoga.
In my classes this week, we’ll be working on creating and building a strong foundation. To me, the foundation is where it all begins. In each pose we do, we’ll be breaking down exactly where the foundation is. It could be the hands, feet, or a variety of other body parts, depending on the pose. Wherever it is, we’ll be striving to find that sweet spot…that place where we feel grounded and balanced. When we can achieve that on our mats, it will spill over to everything we do in our lives, creating balance in our entire being.