"I Suck At Yoga"

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Calling all yoga beginners, especially those who may have whispered the words, "I suck at this!" before, during or after any yoga class.

I hear you. And I am sending you a big high five and a hug for sticking with it.

Here are ten reasons why you should keep practicing.

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1. It’s totally normal to feel uncomfortable when you start something new. Think back on any other exercise or hobby, the first time you tried it. Take a deep breath as you remember that, just like the other new things you’ve tried, yoga will feel more familiar the longer you practice.

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2. Nine times out of ten, no one is watching you. It might feel like it; in fact, it probably will. But for the most part, everyone in the room is busy doing their own thing when you are at a studio. And if the teacher is looking at you, that is a good thing! He or she can help you find the right alignment in your pose.  And if you’re at home and just your dog is watching, or your kid, remember that they could care less what you look like while you’re doing yoga. What they love is how happy and relaxed you are after you practice ;)

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3. You have to start somewhere. Ask any star athlete, anyone at the height of their career, any new parent.

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4. As a beginner, you actually appreciate things that more experienced yogis have started to take for granted. You may not realize it at the time, and that’s OK. But if you can, savor these early classes you are taking. Savor the feeling of stepping onto your mat. You never know; someday you might feel bored by yoga, or jaded from the drama at your studio, or you may have an injury and wish you could practice, but you can’t. Being new is awesome.

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5. Your body will thank you for practicing, time and time again. Even if your mind has the thought, “I suck at yoga,” your body will appreciate all of the time you spend working on these poses. Tell your mind, “I love yoga.”

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6. You’ve done a yoga class or two. How did you feel afterward? Close your eyes and picture that sweet moment after you get after shavasana, how relaxed and rejuvenated your body feels. Instead of focusing on any limitations, focus on that feeling that you are looking forward to.

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7. Everyone is uncomfortable during their first yoga class. Or maybe for the first whole year of yoga classes. Try talking to someone you know about yoga, whether they are new, too, or have been practicing a while. You might find you can laugh together about your experiences.

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8. Sucking at something keeps you humble.

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9. Ask yourself why you’re practicing. What do you want to get out of this experience? That matters way more than feeling like you’re good at it. For example: you’re stressed out of your mind but after yoga, you feel better because you’ve spent an hour taking deep, slow breaths. Focus on that! If the thought comes up, “I suck at yoga,” instead tell yourself, “I’m focused on my breath and how good it feels to let go of my stress.”

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10. If any of these thoughts come up: “I’m not flexible,” “I’m not in shape,” “I’m not graceful,” or “I’ll never be good at yoga,” acknowledge them. And then say, boldly: "I’m practicing yoga today. In this moment, I’ll let my body speak.”

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What are your reasons for sticking with your practice? Comment below or send me an email at aliveinthefire at gmail dot com. I'd love to hear.

Photos by Jobi Otso.