If you’ve never tried yoga, or if you’ve been keeping your secret practice confined to your living room, coming to a studio to join a class can be intimidating.  If you’re new to yoga, you may feel a little self-conscious and have a lot of questions, and that’s ok! In fact, it’s perfectly normal. To set you up for a comfortable first practice, we’re clearing the yoga air a bit.

yoga myths

and other
intimidating stuff

I have to be skinny and flexible to do yoga.

No way, Jose! Anyone can do yoga. Size, shape, physical health, fitness level, age… none of these things matter when it comes to yoga. Yoga is about self-acceptance and working with your body, no matter what it looks like. In every yoga class you go only as far as you wish. Increased flexibility is a wonderful benefit of yoga, but not a prerequisite.

Yoga will make me look like Madonna. Instantly.

Lots of celebrities have taken up yoga and we think that’s pretty darn awesome. But, yoga is about loving yourself just the way you are. If increased physical fitness through yoga is part of your motivation to practice, that great, but while using yoga to get that rockin’ yoga butt, or Madonna’s pipes is fantastic, the ‘yoga bod’ is a pretty cool side benefit of the practice – yoga is about so much more than getting that ‘yoga bod.’

I need special yoga clothes to practice yoga

Nope! All you need is something you can move freely in.  It can be pants, or shorts, a t-shirt or a tank. No special shoes are required because yoga is done barefoot.  Comfy clothes, a mat, and if you wish, a bottle of water and a towel is all you need.

I need to find a beginner class to start yoga

Hmmm, not necessarily. A trained and certified yoga instructor will run most of their classes so that all levels can participate. Every single yoga posture has modifications for those with different levels, abilities and health concerns. Those pretzel people you see? They’ve been practicing for a long, long time, and yes, they might be able to twist and turn themselves into some pretty impressive postures, but that same posture, has a modification for someone who has never done yoga before. A good instructor will instruct for everyone in the room, regardless of whether it’s a students first class or six thousandth class.

What is all that chanting stuff? I’m not into it. At all.

No problem. Chanting is not for everyone. We get it. Some yogis enjoy chanting mantras – these mantras come to us in many different languages, some are positive affirmations, while others are for specific mental or physical health benefits. Some people focus specifically on the meaning of the mantras, others on the vibrations they create.

Some instructors may begin or end a class by chanting OM, and invite students to join them.  You are welcome to join, but if you’re not comfortable, you can pass. Remember, yoga is about you. Only do what you are comfortable doing.

I’m injured, I should probably hold off with the yoga, huh?

Nuh-uh!  Our bodies aren’t renewable and yoga teaches us to move them in a sustainable way.  If you’ve been nursing an injury, have a nagging hip or unruly SI joint, hopping on your mat and connecting with your body is a great idea.  In fact, a therapeutic or restorative class is probably right up your alley.  Have a quick boo at our class descriptions and you’re bound to find a practice that’s perfect for you.

Savasa-wha?  (Savasana – final asana of a practice)

Nope, it’s not nap time, nor is It a time to go through your ever growing to-do list.  Savasana is a time to give yourself permission to indulge in absolute relaxation, allow your body to absorb your practice.  To put it simply, it’s time to get your bliss on!  Yeah, easier said than done, right?  There is something about lying there, heart open, darkness, arms fanned out, that makes you feel vulnerable and fragile.  Or what about when your nose starts to itch?  Surely you’d be able to relax a little better if you just gave it a little scratch.  These are just some of the reasons Savasana has a reputation for being the most challenging and important asana of all time.  Please know that you’re not alone if you find all the stillness and silence daunting, we promise over time,  you’ll grow to love it.  Especially when your yoga glow follows you into the rest of your week.

Some yoga poses are absolutely off limits for pregnant people.

Hmmm. Not necessarily. Some yoga poses become more difficult or impossible because mobility changes as pregnant women’s bodies begin to grow and change, not because they’re dangerous. Pregnant women can still practice yoga, in fact prenatal yoga is fantastic for expecting parent(s) and for baby. If you are pregnant, please advise your instructor, and ask questions!

Ummmm, is there a typo?  I don’t see “hot” written anywhere on the schedule.

Just like ice cream, yoga comes in all kinds of delicious flavours.  There’s no right, and there’s certainly no wrong.  The beautiful thing about yoga is, there’s so much variety and as your practice unfolds, so will your personal preferences.  Synchronizing breath with movement to create heat in the body, is how we roll at Breathing Room. Classes will always be offered in a warm studio setting, after all, we do live in Alberta.

Quick answers to some questions you might not want to ask

  • No, yoga is not a religion.
  • No, not all yogis are vegetarians.
  • No, you don’t have to chant.
  • Yes, savasana does have a purpose. Stick around to enjoy it and you’ll figure it out.
  • Yes, some people do pass gas in yoga, and yes, it’s normal.
  • Yes, some people do get emotional during or after a yoga class, and yes that’s normal too.
  • OM is said to be the sound of the universe, the sound of oneness.
  • Namaste means “The light in me, honours/ loves/ respects the light in you.”
  • Shanti means “peace.”