Certified YogaWorks Teacher Sonya Cottle on the benefits and side effects of a consistent Yoga practice.
What is Yoga going to do for me?
For those who are wondering “What is yoga going to do for me, what am I really going to get out of this practice that I keep seeing around me?”. I get a feeling that I’ve almost been cleaned out, that I’ve cleaned my house and I can move into my life for the rest of my day from a place of pure consciousness, pure awareness, and a stillness, a clarity, that I can’t really tap into from any other type of physical practice or mental practice. Those benefits, the side-effects come from a regular practice that involves focusing the mind, focus on the breath, dedicating your attention to God.
A word to beginners: Just Show Up
I hear all the time from people who have never done Yoga before, expressing to me their ambivalence in starting a yoga practice because they feel they just don’t have what it takes, they feel they don’t have the strength necessary, they feel that they don’t have the flexibility. What if they don’t know, they’re the only person in the room not knowing what is going on. And I think it’s important to let beginners know that the one thing that is truly required of them is an open mind, a flexible mind and the ability is just to show up. The hardest part for anybody, regardless of their level of experience, is just the showing up. Nothing is required, nothing is required. The getting there, that’s the practice.
Ashtanga Yoga: Day One
Beginners need not know anything on their first day of Ashtanga. In fact, I always recommend to beginners to not look at any book, not look at any material but just show up. In the Mysore style setting of an Ashtanga yoga class, every student is moving at their own pace, is working on a different series, and it is my job, my happy job, to come around and assist those who are needing attention and who are brand new to this practice. So, the first day, for several days, I will be almost like I am teaching you a private, I will teach the beginner step by step, pose by pose based on what they’re comfortable with, based on what I see is fit as well and take them through it. So, although it’s intimidating to see, to be in a room full of people who seem to know what they’re doing, it’s distracting, it can be intimidating, but as a beginner the only thing you need to show up with is an open mind.