The ins and outs of bringing family, friends and co-workers to their first yoga class.
When you start up a regular yoga practice it’s hard to not talk about how amazing your feel, how stress free everything suddenly seems to be, and how awesome and supportive your new yoga friends are. Let me see a raise of hands for all of the yogis out there that have yammered on and on at a home/party/school pick up line/grocery store/etc. about your yoga practice. Yup. Just what I thought. Every hand is in the air.
But, it feels like a total life hack, doesn’t it? Why wouldn’t you practice yoga? It simply makes everything better.
And, I know for me, especially in my beginnings, I wanted everyone to try it. I was always inviting someone along to the studio or showing them a posture that might help out with their tight hamstrings, or telling others about the benefits of starting up a practice. I was that yogi.
I still want everyone to try it. There are many paths up the mountain, but yoga is a pretty great path. Over the years, I’ve refined my skills at getting people to join me in their practice because at this point I know what doesn’t work, what chases people away from it, and makes them resistant to giving it a try. Here are my tips to help you get your favorite people on the mat and keep them there:
Do not nag. This is the worst. Have you ever brought something up again and again and each time you get an even firmer “no.” I have. I nagged my husband endlessly to restart his practice after I became an instructor and I will be lucky if he ever comes back to it. No means no. If someone has decided it’s not for them, believe them and let it go.
Allow your journey to inspire. This is the opposite of nagging. You feel great, you look great, and life is clicking on along the joy train. When someone asks what you do to feel and look like you do, tell them. Tell them about your favorite yoga class, the studio you go to, and the teachers you love. Tell them about how your back/neck/knee/shoulder has completely healed from the practice. Tell them about your awesome sleep. Tell them about your friendly and supportive community. If they seem interested, tell them the next time you are going to class and see if they want to join you. Keep it casual. Do not seem too eager. Play it cool.
Set them up for success. If they decide to join you, tell them a few things the class. If it’s a hot yoga class, maybe clue them in to the fact that they do not want to wear sweat pants. Maybe show them how to do a breathing exercise, or a tricky grip. Show them these things, so they can easily fit in and feel successful as they move through class.
Do not take class next to them. I know this might be difficult for them to understand, but you want them to experience the yoga class, right? If you are next to them, you might feel an urge to correct a grip, or tell them what’s next, or even get a case of the giggles. Or, your first timer will start to ask you questions as class is going on and disrupt your practice. Trust that the teacher will take care of them. Even tell them, “This teacher is amazing. I know they will see you through. I will be right over here and cannot wait to hear afterwards what you think of class. You are going to do great!”
Have them reconnect with the instructor after class. The instructor was the one that witnessed their first class, so make sure to steer your first timer back over to them before you leave the studio. They will reaffirm how great they did, give them tips for success for their next practice session, and help them to feel welcome in this unfamiliar environment. And the instructor knows what to say for those that might have struggled through their time on the mat. They will make sure they leave the studio on a positive note.
I hope these tips help yogis! Do you have a tip I didn’t mention? The best discussions happen on the Facebook Page. Share your thoughts on this post with other like-minded yogis today.
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