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Bringing a Friend to Yoga

bringing a friend to yogaIt’s no secret that yoga offers a myriad of benefits. These include strength, flexibility, lower stress levels and an increased sense of well-being. I love yoga and practice quite often, but I often wonder how I can invite my friends and family to explore the yoga world. Bringing a friend to yoga–especially when they’ve never been–is an art. Time and time again, I’ve heard the classic complaints such as, “I need to improve my core strength,” “I’m so tired of my normal exercise routine,” or “Ugh—I hate the gym.” For many people, trying something new such as yoga is not the easiest feat to accomplish. Some people lack natural flexibility, some can’t afford the extra expense and others simply doubt the intensity of yoga as a comprehensive workout.

So how can yogis get more friends and family interested in the practice? Learn more about the art of sharing your yoga practice with a newbie below.

I’m not flexible enough.

Whenever I talk to anyone about beginning a yoga practice, the most popular defense I hear is, “I’m not flexible enough.” This is a valid concern. Remember that you’ll need a bit of patience and compassion when bringing a friend to yoga. It can be really overwhelming to walk into a class for the first time. If your friend isn’t a dancer or a gymnast, it’s likely their body will be rather stiff. With a consistent practice, though, anyone can improve the flexibility of their muscles and connective tissue. Some may argue that being limber isn’t necessary for optimal health. As the body ages, short muscles and stiff joints make routine activities more difficult. Tight muscles restrict a joint’s natural range of motion. This causes pain and tightness elsewhere in the body. Thus, improving flexibility may alleviate chronic pain. The human body is like a puzzle—everything is connected and intertwined. For example, someone suffering from lower back pain or sciatica should consider using yoga to loosen up their hamstrings and hips. It just might be the relief they’ve been looking for!

I can’t do all of the poses.

It’s human nature to want to excel when trying something for the first time. Many people unfamiliar with yoga are intimidated by advanced poses that demand certain strength or flexibility. When bringing a friend to yoga, you’ll need to plan their first class.  Consider who will be their first teacher. Do they teach an advanced class? Or one that is more accessible to all levels? Every Powerflow Yoga location offers a basics class. But even if the flow is a bit harder, your friend will be in good hands with a teacher that gives precise alignment cues. Remember: success is key. It’s unwise to bring a new student to a class in which the teacher usually offers more complex poses like Forearm Stand and Lotus. Help your friend build a strong foundation for their practice.

I don’t know where to go. Yoga is so expensive.

Bring them to Powerflow Yoga. There are currently 10 locations throughout New Jersey, but soon there will be 12! Asbury Park is opening in the summer of 2017, and Jersey City in the early fall.  PFY has plenty of package options, but the Intro Offers for new students are the most affordable. New clients are eligible to purchase one week of unlimited yoga for $25 or one month for $50. All students can practice at every PFY location. PFY offers classes from 6:00 am-8:00 pm. Even the busiest students can still find time to practice.

It’s not an actual workout.

The misconception that yoga is not a workout is completely untrue. For some people, a workout is defined by lifting weights or running. If they’re not sweating, they’re not working out. Hot yoga solves this problem. They will sweat. They will move. And most of all, they will work really hard. Yoga is the perfect complement to more rigorous forms of exercise. Every class is unique, so students strengthen different muscle groups every time they practice. As students become more flexible, they will access muscles that may remain underdeveloped by a typical gym routine. Anyone who has tried to hold Plank Pose for one minute knows this to be true. So invite your friend to join you. Let the class do the talking. They will sweat more than they have in their entire life. They will leave feeling great.

Bringing a friend to yoga is a subtle practice.

Still, your friend may be nervous despite your best efforts to set them up for success. Remind them that every yogi was once a beginner. Yoga is so much more than a physical practice. It’s a spiritual journey. It opens our eyes and hearts to a world of possibility. We each have our own journey, but we’re all headed in a similar direction. Powerflow Yoga is a community in which people support and help one another. Students are accepted whether they can stand on their hands or their feet. They are loved. They have a right to be here. But at the end of the day, someone just might not want to practice yoga. If they’re not ready, don’t force them to be. Bringing a friend to yoga is a delicate work of art. Try to talk about your experience in a way to which they can relate. Maybe one day they’ll wonder what this yoga stuff is all about. Maybe one day they’ll decide to join you.

Melanie Rodriguez

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