If a yoga practice is considered a journey, don’t leave out a very important part: the beginning. Not the first class, not the first yoga mat purchase – before all of the “stuff” that comes with it. The beginning of a yoga practice often comes from a place deep within – a soul stirring. This baby stage before you even set foot on a mat should also be considered part of your yoga practice. If you don’t know where you started, how can you know how far you’ve come?
Maybe you feel you’ve hit rock bottom. Or perhaps there is an instability in part of your life that is craving something grounded. Whatever it is, this movement within is your soul telling you to come to the mat. By suppressing these feelings, you’re allowing a fear of the unknown to rule in your life. The first step in overcoming this fear is a tiny release of control. By opening yourself up to life-changing experiences, you’ve already begun to surrender to what the universe has in store.
Be A Beginner
For many people, being a beginner is hard. We want to succeed – or excel – at every aspect of our lives, and this piles on the pressure! When you finally decide it’s time to buy a yoga DVD to try at home, remember how it feels to make a conscious choice. When you first set foot in a yoga studio, feel all the emotions and know that they are all part of the journey. You’ll wiggle, you’ll fall, you’ll make mistakes. Allow yourself this time to be a beginner.
Ditch the Fear
We can often fool ourselves into thinking that after we’ve been practicing a while, we are no longer beginners. One of the most beautiful things about yoga is that every time you learn a new asana, you’re a beginner all over again. Sometimes those asanas are challenging and take many steps – and lots of time – to learn and master. Backbending can be scary for people as our bodies are not used to retreating in this way. Inversions are also common places for fear to creep in and hinder our growth. Release all the fear you have and know that every single trip to the mat is a chance to ground, grow and gather energy from the universe and those around you. Fear is the only thing holding you back, everything else will come in time.
It’s important to look back on your entire yoga journey, no matter how long you’ve been practicing. If you recently took your first class, take stock of the things that have happened in your life to lead you to this place. If you’re an experienced yogi, pausing for a moment to reflect on years of practice and what they have brought into your life is a great meditation in gratitude.
Wherever you are on your path – make a commitment to not letting fear take over. Once you’ve released this craving for control and accept your own reality, you become limitless.
Sara Sherman is a freelance writer, yogi and accidental island girl living on St. Thomas in the U.S. Virgin Islands. Contact Sara via her website at www.SaraMSherman.com, and read more about her island adventures at www.IslandersFromIowa.com