Intro to Yoga: Heartfelt Advice for the New Practitioner

ON August 27, 2014

by Bethany Hobbs

1. Keep it simple.

The Intro to Yoga workshops offer the chance to become familiar in our studios, to explore a simple movement practice, to feel through the foundational element of breath, and maybe to get some ideas about which classes might be best for you, going forward.

It’s an afternoon during which a safe space is available for you to meet yourself where you’re at, to blast through the intimidation factor of taking that very first yoga class, and get to ask some questions from a Namaste teacher (in this case, me, who happens to love teaching Intro workshops). Enjoy yourself, make yourself comfy and arrive a few minutes early to put down your mat, have a cup of tea, and feel out the space.

2. Trust yourself.

There are a few things that I know with total certainty. One is that these bodies of ours never lie.

One reason I love teaching introductory workshops is because I get to witness people discovering new sensations and wisdom inside of their bodies. Yoga is largely about paying attention, whether it is your first class, or your millionth. Honor your body. Listen. Trust. The practice of trusting oneself will serve you for a lifetime.


3. Stay curious.

I will always remember my first yoga class. I will always remember my first yoga teacher, the first yoga mat I bought, the first time I fell in love with a pose, the first time I truly found my breath, the first time I felt anchored into something deep, something real, through the physical practice of yoga.

Whatever your “firsts” are, hold them close to your heart. They matter. Remember the wonderment; hold your first-time self in a soft, kind way, and bring something of that fervor and openness with you each time you step onto your mat or your meditation pillow in the days and months and years to come.

Any disciplined practice requests a great deal of kindness from us. Observe, watch things change and rearrange and show themselves to you– if you choose yoga as a path of study and/or devotion going forward, I promise you this: you will never run out of things to learn. So: stay curious. Stay kind. Keep showing up.

4. Welcome Home.

For me, yoga has been the practice of coming home, coming back to a sense of authenticity and belonging.

After you attend the initial introductory workshop, I encourage you to seek out a class and teacher with which you align. What do you value? Who and what speak to your spirit? What pace does your body crave? You will more than likely find others who value (and teach) those things as well.
And, P.S., you’re already home– just let yoga remind you of that, should you ever happen to forget.


Bethany Hobbs fell in love with her first savasana in 2003, and her life hasn’t been the same since. She has been committed to her yoga practice for over a decade, first under the tutelage of Rached Malouf in San Diego, and, later, her mentor Alice Joanou in Oakland, along with many other incredible yogis and healers in India and Oakland (including herbalist Atava Garcia Swiecicki and therapeutic yoga teacher trainer Antonia Fokken). Bethany’s classes hold space for the wholeness of each individual through breath, alignment, ritual, and joy.

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