Fall. Falling is okay, it really is. Whether it’s falling out of tree pose or falling out of crow or headstand. Embrace the fall and more importantly learn how to fall well so you don’t hurt yourself. Once you do that, you’ll no longer fear falling and you’ll no longer fear trying poses that you think you might fall out of.
Do what you can. And what you can is already great. Don’t push yourself beyond your limits for today. Use belts, blocks, modifications or any other tools at your disposal. Modifications aren’t something to be frustrated from; they’re an opportunity to ready your body to be able to push it further tomorrow.
Mind your own practice. It doesn’t matter that the person next to you can bring their leg behind their shoulder and you can’t. And it doesn’t matter that you can do a handstand and someone else can’t. Yoga is a humbling practice. Be grateful for what you can do and keep working on what you can’t do yet. Be patient, keep practicing and that’s all you need to do.
Listen to your body. If you need to follow your own pace or rest in child’s pose for a while, do. More importantly, you need to let go if something hurts. If it hurts, then it’s not right. Talk to your teacher and don’t confuse pushing yourself with hurting yourself. If your body passes wind, let it. Don’t be ashamed and don’t be startled. It happens often as we twist, bend and lift and it’s simply another way your body is cleansing itself.
Be mindful. Of yourself, your fellow students, and your teacher. Don’t be late to class, come on time to benefit from the start. Make sure your phone is muted, you don’t want it to ring mid-class. Lastly, personal hygiene is important, you’ll be practicing with other people and your teacher will often come around to adjust your posture.
Take yoga with you off the mat. Yoga is a mind-body practice. There are so many things to learn from the practice, the breathing, the falls, the balances, the holds; things you learn that can be applied in your everyday life. Everyone will learn it differently and on his or her own terms. So whatever you learn, take it with you and benefit other areas of your life.