My New Year resolution was to try new things, actually get out of the house and have some fun. Part of that was trying fitness classes. Although I may be slightly behind schedule, a few months ago I finally booked a yoga class.

My very class was in my village. I was nervous that I wouldn’t be able to do anything and i’d just end up in a corner repeatedly face planting the floor. Turned out I ought not to have worried. We (me and the 2 others who showed up) spent 90 minutes breathing and rolling like a dead bug on the floor. I left £7.50 out of pocket and a bit deflated, yet also strangely proud that I had actually ticked off one of my ‘to do’s’.

It took me a few more weeks to decide to book another class. Feeling a little more confident in my abilities, I opted for an intermediate power yoga class at New Energy Fitness. This class was very different to my first; many attendees, vigorous and challenging. The instructor was great; he created a dynamic flow, suitable modifications and even threw in the odd joke. I left the class on such a high, I couldn’t stop smiling or annoying my mum by talking about it.

My high was abruptly interrupted when I went to book more classes and was met by a £15 slap in the face. Due to the popularity of the classes, a new studio dedicated to yoga was being built and class prices were being increased by 50%.

Why doth the world punish the poor?

A few weeks ago the new studio opened and despite the price, I was eager to attend another class. So at 10 am on an overcast Sunday morning I found myself downward dogging, planking, cobra-ing and doing a whole lot of hip opening. The studio was nice, the class was fine but for some reason I just wasn’t ‘feeling’ the instructor or flow of the class.

Here’s What I’ve Learned

Yoga is For Everyone

[tweet_box]Whether you’re 16 or 60, an athlete or a coach potato, yoga will benefit you.[/tweet_box] What I love about it is that nothing is forced and no asana (pose) is unachievable; it’s about listening to your body and adapting positions so that you get the best from your own practice.

Style Matters

There are many different styles of yoga so you’re sure to find something you like. Start by asking yourself what you want from the class: relaxation, energy, a good stretch or a serious challenge?

The Teacher Sets the Tone

If the teacher doesn’t inspire you then you probably won’t return. This is not necessarily a reflection on their quality of teaching, simply your preference and what works for you.
It may be a case of trial and error but eventually you’ll find a teacher whose classes are inspiring, encouraging and enlivening.

Keep an Open Mind

Yoga requires an open mind. An open mind leads to an open body and soul, meaning you don’t just get more from your practice, but also more from life.

Don’t expect to be able to handstand in week but do prepare for a journey of discovery; you’ll become more aware of your body and of your thoughts and how they serve you.

One last word of warning!

Thus far I have identified 3 types of people that attend yoga:

  1. The heavy breathers (she said ‘breathe’, not become Darth Vader)
    2. The ones who like you to know they’re really trying *consistently huffs, puffs and blows your house down*
    3. The human pretzels *wraps leg around head and appears to be soothed to sleep*

What were some of your first yoga class experiences? Share with us in the comments!