Taught and written by Kaylee Nelson, 500HR RYT
The first time I stepped on my mat, I wasn’t sure what to expect. And after that first class, I wasn’t even sure what had just happened. The teacher would call out things in another language and people would make shapes with their bodies. My eyes darted around the room as I attempted, to no avail, to move in cadence with everyone else. I remember feeling confused. Very confused. I would go on to seek more clarity, to learn that the weird language was Sanskrit (the ancient Indian language of yoga), the weird shapes were asana (the postures of yoga), and the weird rhythmic movement was vinyasa (flowing and linking breath and movement). As I’ve continued down the endless journey of learning and teaching yoga, I like to look back on that very first class and remember where I came from: uncertainty and curiosity.
Every single person who shows up in the yoga studio has gone through their very first yoga class. You are not alone. There are no expectations for you to know anything when you show up on your mat for the first time. Yoga is a multi-layered practice that will continue to reveal itself throughout your time as a practitioner. Stepping into a new practice can be daunting, but with a little patience, consistency, and self-compassion– you may find yourself connecting with a discipline that has the capacity for transformation and self-discovery.
Things are a little less daunting when there is structure and a plan involved. This is why I am teaching a 4-Week Beginner’s Yoga Series every Sunday and Wednesday in January at Black Swan Yoga (Orchard and Westgate). This four week curriculum is based off of longtime teacher and educator, Jason Crandell, as part of his online course, The Art of Teaching Beginners. This carefully crafted program details the fundamental aspects of yoga asana (outlined below). Each class will build on the previous to create a solid foundation for your practice to grow on.
Week 1 is focused on ujjayi breath (yogic breathing technique) and learning the sound and rhythm of the breath. We will also spend time finding stride, the appropriate distance between feet in standing postures.
Week 2 will dive into styles of sun salutations, and transitioning between postures (stepping forward and back). We will continue to build on last week, finding the stride in more postures such as lunges and downward-facing dog.
Week 3 continues to work through transitions, now including coming down to the floor with ease in salutations and incorporating more flow into standing postures. We’ll take a deeper look at plank pose and have an introduction to arm-balancing via side plank.
Week 4 our final week, takes a close look at chaturanga (low-push up) to layer into our salutations. We will also take a brief look at crow pose (arm-balance). This class will blend the elements of the previous three classes to create a greater understanding of flow and moving rhythmically with the breath.
If you have friends or family who are interested in yoga but aren’t sure where to start, this is for you! If you jumped right into all-levels classes without laying the groundwork, this is for you! If you’re interested in revisiting and strengthening your practice, this is for you! Give your body and mind the gift of a solid yoga practice this new year! As the creator of this program imparts: You have nothing to prove. You have everything to learn.
Dates / Locations:
Week 1: Sunday 1/5 @ 4:30pm (Orchard), Wednesday 1/8 @ 1:15pm (Westgate)
Week 2: Sunday 1/12 @ 4:30pm (Orchard), Wednesday 1/15 @ 1:15pm (Westgate)
Week 3: Sunday 1/19 @ 4:30pm (Orchard), Wednesday 1/22 @ 1:15pm (Westgate)
Week 4: Sunday 1/26 @ 4:30pm (Orchard), Wednesday 1/29 @ 1:15pm (Westgate)
This series is a standard donation-based, drop-in class. ClassPass and BSY membership welcome. No additional fees or sign-ups necessary. Just show up with your mat (or you can rent one) and an open mind, and let’s get to work!