10 Things I Wish I Knew When I Started Doing Yoga

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10 Things I Wish I Knew When I Started Doing Yoga

A student once told me it’d be cool to know the 10 things her yoga teacher wished she knew when she started going yoga, and that it would make a good article. Let’s see…

  1. It’s okay that some people are breathing really loudly. (I was totally freaked out when I first started hearing Ujjayi breathing).
  2. There are a hundred different styles and a million different teachers. There is no “right” way to do it.
  3. Foster relationships with the students around you. It’ll soon become one of the most important parts of your practice. It feels amazing to practice in a room full of friends.
  4. Buy a Manduka Mat Pro. Having a heavy mat is wonderful, and it won’t buckle under you as you practice.
  5. Don’t worry so much about having a perfect posture. Notice how it feels, instead. Where your bones are stacked nicely, and you feel engaged and steady. Where you can create more muscle length and space in the spine.
  6. Wear comfortable, fitted clothes. There’s nothing worse than a shirt that goes into your face every time you Down Dog, pants that slide from your hips, or a yoga bra that doesn’t fit right.
  7. Be willing to look foolish in front of people. There were a lot of things I didn’t try, like closing my eyes in Pose or trying an arm balance because I was afraid I might fall. Falling is part of the process. I think I would have progressed a lot more if I didn’t take myself so seriously.
  8. Don’t be afraid to take Yoga at a studio. Gyms are great places to try out different types of classes, but once you know what you like, then you can specialize! A yoga studio is just a specialized place for that particular thing. There are many types of yoga classes, many types of studios and each one has it’s own vibe and feel. Try them all out until you find the one that feels like home!
  9. Go to various workshops. You’ll find what you love about yoga more, and even specialize further. Meditations, singing bowls, Ashtanga Series, Acro, free flow, black light, restore….? You’ll tune into what you really love and explore more!
  10. Stop judging others! I’d wonder why the student next to me was doing a certain pose a certain way, why that person left class early, why the person in front of me wore so much perfume. None of it was a benefit to my practice – or I guess all of it was! The art of keeping your eyes on your own paper and letting go!!! Focus on your breath, the way it feels, your intention, your exploration. Let go of what other people are doing (unless it’s your friend beside you smiling at you : ) !!!

I’d love to know what some things are that you wish you’d known when you 1st started practicing yoga. Leave yours in the comments below!




*photo cred Erin Blair Studio

Kelli Russell
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  • tracy richmond
    Posted at 07:08h, 09 January Reply

    Great thoughts for all to remember. I could only add that laughing during yoga is a good way to remember that it should be joyful effort during your practice.

    • Kelli Russell
      Posted at 18:30h, 19 September Reply

      Thanks Tracy! I LOVE when you are in class – your laughter is such a gift that adds levity to all you encounter. A reminder for all of us to experience JOY in what we do!

  • Cyndee Horn
    Posted at 16:11h, 11 January Reply

    I wish I had known that the process/the practice is the most important part of yoga. I kept waiting to “arrive”, and I realized that I have the rest of my life to get there. In the meantime, there are lots of “this” moments to enjoy and explore.

    • Kelli Russell
      Posted at 18:29h, 19 September Reply

      Isn’t that life? hahaha! It’s the journey!!!!

  • Jenny Harkleroad
    Posted at 22:54h, 26 January Reply

    I’m still a bit uncomfortable with the moaners. LOL. If I knew I could stretch and strengthen from yoga I would have tried it sooner. I never knew I could do both at the same time. Awesome because I’d never take the time to stretch and knew I should.

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