Menu
Announcement: Wish you could change your past? Learn to let go and create a life you love with the Tiny Buddha course!

5 Easy Ways to Get into Yoga this Spring

“Letting go isn’t the end of the world; it’s the beginning of a new life.” ~Unknown

As we welcomed the Spring Equinox on March 20th, with it came a sense of lightness in the air—in our bodies with healthier food options, in our minds as we flirt with the idea of summer on the horizon, and in our spirits as we are able to enjoy later sunsets with loved ones.

Spring also welcomes change and renewal, creating an opportunity to cleanse ourselves of hibernating winter habits and find inspiration in nature as wildflowers bloom all around us.

What better time to introduce (or reintroduce!) yourself to the ancient practice of yoga. Let’s face it: Yoga has stood the test of time, enduring over 5000 years, consistently providing a physical, mental, and spiritual outlet for its practitioners.

Now more than ever, yoga seems the perfect escape from our increasingly complex, technology-driven, distracted modern lives.

Finding peace and contentment in the present moment is one of the most challenging things to do, and yoga provides the tools we need to find that much-desired stillness.

As a yoga instructor, my proudest moment is not when a student who once struggled with Chaturanga perfects a forearm handstand. Well, that is a pretty sweet moment! But, by far, it is watching new students unwrap their first yoga mat. Typically of the drug store, super slippery variety, but still exciting nonetheless!

This moment resonates with me because I know, in that moment, that yoga will be a part of their world (whether in a big or small way) for the rest of their lives.

You see, yoga is a lot like chocolate. If you live your whole life never tasting chocolate, you can lead a perfectly content existence, as there is nothing to miss. But, once you have had that first taste, there really is no turning back.

Sure, you might stray from your cravings as you dabble into non-chocolate permitting diets. But the pleasure induced by that familiar taste always lingers somewhere in the back of your mind, until you finally find your way back home, onto your mat.

In honor of that joy we all receive from unwrapping our very first yoga mat, I compiled a list of five rather simplistic (and fun!) ways to integrate yoga into your life this spring.

1. Start Small.

One of the top reasons why people are resistant to starting yoga is the intimidation factor. With name-brand yoga gear, the rapid corporatization, and prohibitively expensive monthly class packages, it is no wonder that this industry seems not so beginner friendly.

Luckily, there is an endless amount of free resources online. From YouTube videos of hour-long classes, to anatomically-correct descriptions of each pose, to studio directories, there is an answer to every yoga-related question.

Use online resources to get comfortable with the names of poses, class etiquette, and the history of yoga so that any intimidation just melts away as you step into your first class.

2. Hop Around.

Finding the right studio and the right instructors is essential to your enjoyment of the practice. Many studios offer “First Week Free” coupons, so use those offers to explore yoga in your community.

Hop around to as many studios as you can, trying different styles of yoga and different instructors. Find a studio where they remember your name and inquire about injuries.  If there is an instructor who inspires you, that’s a good sign that you are in the right place.

If you do not find your “home” within the first few studios, don’t get discouraged! With the proliferation of yoga in the US, there is a studio and style of practice for everyone – big, small, young, old, businessperson, veteran, able bodied and not so able bodied – there truly is a home in yoga for everyone.

3. Flow with a Friend.

Everything is better when you have someone to share it with! Convince a friend at your same experience level to attend some classes with you. This will allow you to let your guard down and enjoy the experience a little more.

Not to mention, you will have someone to laugh with. When the kooky instructor starts belting out the “OM” or the guy next to you in downdog lets out a questionable noise, your friend will be on the next mat over trying equally as hard to suppress the giggles.

4. Give it Your Best.

 

By this I mean, give yoga a genuine shot. Lots of students give up their practice when they cannot conquer Crow pose after only two weeks. Understand that when you enter the world of yoga, all the rules about competitiveness, comparison, and deadlines that we are raised with go out the window.

Yoga is about simply enjoying the journey. Your journey. Not the journey of the person on the mat next to you. Your uniquely beautiful journey.

Come to your mat each time with an open mind and a compassionate heart, and you will be surprised at how much easier the poses will come to you!

5. Just Let it Go.

Yoga is as much about the mental practice, if not more than, the physical practice. Make a conscious effort to clear your mind, letting go of negativity. First, try letting go of any preconceived notions about who should practice yoga, what they look like, how they dress, what they eat, etc.

Every yogi is different and defines yoga in his or her own individual way. Second, try hard to let go of any judgments and negative feelings you are harboring towards yourself. Just enjoy the present moment, enjoy the journey.

Know that each day is different. Some days your balance and your focus will be rockin’. Other days, not so much. Learn to accept your body and your mind as they are, rejoicing in the gifts they give you and not bothering yourself with the shortcomings.

Embrace the ancient concept of “just letting it go” and one day you will wake up and realize that you are a more peaceful person, not to mention a real-life, living, breathing yogi!

Photo by lululemon athletica

Avatar of Mandy Burstein

About Mandy Burstein

Mandy Burstein is a La Jolla-based yoga instructor who founded Yoga Luna in an effort to bring affordable, outdoor, ocean-inspired classes to her community. Mandy teaches Vinyasa flow, Kids yoga, Teen yoga and Stand-up Paddleboard Yoga. For more information, please visit Yoga Luna or follow her on at Facebook.

Announcement: Want to share your story in the next Tiny Buddha book? Learn more here!
  • http://winewillfixit.blogspot.com Winewillfixit

    Cheers! This is a great post concerning beginner’s yoga. I would add – it doesn’t hurt to start off going for the physical benefits. In my case, the mental and spiritual benefits “crept in” over time. And yes, it’s perfectly ok to giggle in yoga. I find myself laughing when I’m struggling to get into a pose – much better to laugh it off than frown!

  • Ppelayo

    enjoyed reading….. and knowing it’s from an instructors perspective. It’s a very sweet piece and reminded me of my first time trying out Yoga.. which happened to be a few months ago. Now I’m a regular at the class, still working on becoming a little more flexible as I go along. I will definitely look you up, I live very close and would love to attend one of your outdoor yoga classes :)

  • http://andromeda.qc.ca Sherry

    I agree too about the mental and spiritual benefits sneaking up on you over time. I started yoga to ease a chronic ache in my legs and to deal with panic attacks, and it worked but it also brought me more than I ever expected.

    And yes to the laughing too! I’ve been working on Flying Pigeon pose and if I didn’t laugh at myself whenever I fall over I’d give up altogether!

  • Angela Gunn

    This is just the message I needed to keep me going on my path of yoga practice. I keep starting and then life seems to take over. Then I have a nagging feeling in the back of my head and I get back on the mat. In some ways I wish I’d never eaten chocolate so that I wouldn’t crave it so much but I’d never wish that about yoga. Yoga I’m thankful for everyday no matter where I am with my practice. Great advice on the yoga classes. I was just about to start looking for classes to try, so the tips were helpful!

  • Mandy

    Hi there! I’m glad that you are embracing yoga in your life! Please look me up and come flow to the sound of the waves with me sometime : ) Namaste!

  • Mandy

    I’m so happy that yoga continues to suprise you, as well! It is such a beautiful journey we are on, keep smiling :) Thank you for reading!

  • Mandy

    Hi Angela! So glad I could help, in any small way, to invite you back onto your mat. With all the positive change in the air, Spring is the perfect time to start again….enjoy your journey :) Namaste!

  • Mandy

    I completely agree! Nothing better than being deep into pigeon and realizing you are holding so much tension in your face, neck, shoulders, etc…only to take a step back and have a little laugh : ) Thank you for reading, I really appreciate the comments!

  • Robin

    Very well written Mandy and I feel encouraged now to give yoga a try. I have always been into meditation and relaxation types of exercises. Just the fact that you mentioned the spiritual aspect has piqued my interest even more so. Thank you.

  • Mandy

    Thank you for compliment. Yoga will change your life! Whenever you are ready, give it a go – you won’t regret it. Enjoy the ride!

  • http://twitter.com/morganax31 jennifer slewoski

    I have done some yoga in the past…i find i enjoy it immensely as a calming/destressing tool, and as a spiritual experience. The problem? I can’t find any yoga dvds that emphasis these traits of yoga. I am not interested in the jilian michaels approach to yoga.
    with this being said….any suggestions for a good yoga dvd?

  • HipHopPop

    Amazingly fresh way of looking at it. Yoga does seem a bit out of reach for many people, but your insight makes it a tad bit more attainable and a goal that I would like to set for myself. Well written and thoughtful, thanks.

  • http://www.exercisebikestand.net/Stationary-Bike-Stand.html stationary bike trainer

    If you are neophyte on performing yoga it is essential for you to read this blog. I admit that yoga is best for relaxation. This shared ideas that you can get from this blog is necessary before working on yoga.

  • Pingback: Best Tweets for Trauma and PTSD Survivors (week ending 04/08/11) « Third of a Lifetime

  • Pingback: Best Tweets for Trauma and PTSD Survivors (week ending 04/08/11) | Third of a Lifetime

  • http://twitter.com/GrowWonderShine Positive Living

    I just started yoga in February, as it is one of the many recreational sports group fitness & activity classes offered at my university ($25/semester for unlimited classes).

    Since there are only two yoga classes a week in this program and I can only attend one of them, I’ve been picking up Yoga DVDs from my public library. I would highly recommend this option to anyone with a tight budget that can’t afford memberships at yoga studios.

    Thanks for the article Mandy – it gave me motivation to find a way to continue with yoga after I graduate in May, even though I will no longer have the amazing $25/semester option available to me.

  • Pingback: 3 Steps to Make a Bad Day Good | Tiny Buddha: Wisdom Quotes, Letting Go, Letting Happiness In

  • Mandy

    Hi there! Glad my words could motivate you into establishing a consistent practice. There are alot lots of free resources on youtube of yoga sequences and demonstrations. Thanks for reading!

  • Mandy

    Glad I could help! Thank you for reading :) Your feedback is much appreciated!

  • Pingback: 40 Best Blogs to Follow During Stress Awareness Month | Nursing Schools.net

  • Pingback: Changing Your Reality: Turning Hurts into Lessons | Tiny Buddha: Wisdom Quotes, Letting Go, Letting Happiness In

  • LadyTamborine

    I remember taking a friend for their first time.  While during savasana (cool down) our mat neighbor slips into a deep sleep and begins to SNORE.  I forgot to warn my friend of this…and of course the giggles come out. It IS pretty funny!   Words can’t begin to explain how yoga helps ease life’s challenges.  Whether it come from mind control, breathing control or just learning to let go of control…Yoga changes lives!
    Thanks for the reminder.

  • Pingback: 10 Ways to Love the People in Your Life | Tiny Buddha: Wisdom Quotes, Letting Go, Letting Happiness In

  • Pingback: What It Means to Really Take Care of Yourself | Tiny Buddha: Wisdom Quotes, Letting Go, Letting Happiness In

  • Pingback: Maybe We'll Never Arrive | Tiny Buddha: Wisdom Quotes, Letting Go, Letting Happiness In

  • http://eatsleepdoyoga.com/ eatsleepdoyoga

    Great message Mandy thank you!

  • http://www.ataia-yoga.ch/schwangerschaftsyoga/ Pregnancy Yoga

    This blog provides very good information. I truly appreciate your efforts, Mandy!