Ten Tips to Get The Most Out of A Yoga Workshop

Kelli Russell at yoga journal conference

Ten Tips to Get The Most Out of A Yoga Workshop

You’re excited to learn, you’ve paid good money, and you’re about to attend the workshop you’ve been looking forward to all month. Want to prevent your experience from falling flat? Use these tips to get the most out of your workshop.

1. Know why you’re there.

Most endeavors work best when you have a goal in mind, therefore, set your intention. If you know why you’re there, you’ll be able to guide your internal experience, as well as know what questions to ask before the workshop is over.

2. Be courageous.

Follow the instructor’s guidance, even if it’s not the way you’d usually do it. It’s uncomfortable to try something new not knowing the outcome, but do it anyway! Workshops are the place to make mistakes and try new techniques and new ways of doing things. Embrace the struggle, awkwardness, and frustration as part of the evolutionary process. Besides, you can always revert back to the way you used to do things after the workshop if you still want to.

3. Leave your inner critic at home.

When you try something different and it’s a bit clunky, you might be tempted to go back to the way you’ve always done things rather than stretching yourself in a new direction. Be willing to move beyond your comfort boundaries. Allow yourself the freedom of royally messing up as you learn. It might not feel easy or pleasant at first, but if you hang in there, you’ll reap the benefits.

4. Ask questions.

A workshop setting is the perfect opportunity to ask things that you wonder about during your regular yoga class. Don’t ever think a question is silly or unimportant. Chances are, your question and the answer might help someone else taking the workshop, too! Now, mindful that you don’t ask ALL the questions! Allow some space for others. If you tend to talk/ask a lot, you might consider holding back. If you are usually quiet, then take the opportunity to speak up and ask.

5. Be open to feedback/critique.

Listen to the instructor and other students’ feedback if offered, without taking it personally. You might not agree with all of it, but having an open mind will allow you to absorb more and you might find a gem of information that’ll really help your practice. If offering feedback to others, be kind and thoughtful- reflect their strengths as well as opportunity for growth.

6. You’re not there to compare.

Everyone is at a different stage in their practice and has had different experiences in their life. Resist the comparison game. Be happy for the success of others and focus on what you’re at the workshop to learn. Also, don’t be afraid to allow yourself to play and have some fun.

7. Take notes, if appropriate.

Record the info in your own language, which may be in the form of notes, stick figures, photos, or videos (remember to as the instructor’s permission for the latter two). Review your notes after the workshop, and for the next several days. After a couple of weeks review them again so that they really “stick.”

8. Meet new people and make friends!

You’re doing something you love with people you might have a lot in common with! Introduce yourself and during breaks initiate conversation and share ideas. You could make a networking connection, or even better – a friend!

9. After the workshop, relax!

Learning a lot of new information is tiring! Take some time to unwind, have a nice meal, read, or take a bath or shower. Allow yourself to assimilate the new information by doing something relaxing.

10. Put it to use.

Continue to work on what you learned in the days and weeks following the workshop so that you continue to grow. If it’s a particular posture, you can practice it in the studio for a few minutes before or after your regular weekly yoga classes. If it’s a pose variation or modification, integrate it while you flow. If any questions come up, email the teacher who led the workshop. They are usually happy to help!

Remind yourself that you are there to try new things; to embrace the awkwardness. Allow yourself to mess up, look silly and fall down trying, and don’t forget to meet new people and have fun!

Kelli Russell
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