A runner doesn’t complete a marathon her first time out. She might start at a walk, before completing her first 5K and 10K events. By the time she crosses that ultimate finish line, she’s checked off a whole list of smaller goals along the way.
Yoga – and life – is the same: Commit to manageable improvement as you work toward your goals, whatever they may be, nourishing both body and mind in the process.
“Have no expectations,” says Breanna McCubbin, co-owner of Bikram Yoga Red Deer.
“With yoga, especially with Bikram yoga, people often have a lot of expectations – that it’s going to be hot, that it’s going to be hard, that they’re not going to be able to do it,” McCubbin says.
So, how do we start today with a view to being successful in the long term?
- Begin with the right mindset: “Expect to struggle – it’s not going to be easy but you’re going to see improvements within the first five to 10 classes,” McCubbin says. “People may also think about what they used to do. Instead, be excited and curious to see what your body can do today.”
- Set a manageable series of goals: If you’ve never experienced yoga before, set yourself one goal, whether that’s breathing throughout the class, trying every posture, or completing one set of postures. “We can all do something, even if it’s standing up straight with good posture,” McCubbin says.
- Prepare your body for success: In addition to proper nutrition – feed your body whole foods as much as you can, McCubbin advises – her No. 1 recommendation is to stay hydrated before class. While water during class is also important, “it takes 45 to 50 minutes for your body to process water, so if you properly prepare, that’s going to give you a big leg up – you won’t feel the heat so much or get dizzy,” McCubbin says.
- Prepare mentally: In yoga, running or life, a few minor setbacks can affect your self-esteem and commitment, so preparing for that can go a long way. Practice positive self-talk, breathing and visualization to see your true potential. “To me, yoga is a way of life – they are intertwined in so many ways. It really is amazing,” McCubbin says.
- Finally, celebrate your results: “It’s cool as a teacher to see students move from the back row to the front row as their confidence improves.”