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3 Truths You'll Learn in Your First Year of Yoga

By Genevieve Cunningham

Yoga is a really popular form of exercise. And after a few classes, it's easy to see what all the fuss is about. Yoga is challenging, but in a different way than your conventional workout such as running or aerobics. A lot of people watch a beginner's yoga class and think it looks pretty easy. There's a lot of stillness. A lot of breathing deep. But once you actually participate in a few classes, you really learn a few things about yourself and the ancient practice of yoga. If you're joining a class soon, take a look at these surprising truths that you may find during your first year.

You're Not as Flexible As You Thought

Some people know they're not flexible. They know this is a weakness, and they know it's going to take massive work to gain flexibility. But a lot of people don't realize their own limitations. They see people touching their toes in class or simply doing a down-dog without bending the knees, and they think, "no problem!" But chances are really good that you're not as flexible as you think. You may have to use quite a few modifications just to get through the class. But remember that it's OK! The flexibility will come if you just stick with it. 

Sitting Still is Hard

Sitting still doesn't seem difficult, but during your first few yoga classes, you're totally going to struggle. Your mind will race with thoughts. You'll be distracted. You'll wonder how much longer you have to do this. Sitting still requires a new level of patience -- and it's usually something we have to learn over time. If you have trouble with this seemingly easy concept, don't give up. It will get easier, and when it does, you'll know no greater stress reliever than sitting still and breathing deep.

Yoga Affects Your Emotions

Even if you go into your first class understanding the physical challenge of yoga, you won't be prepared for the mental and emotional challenge. Yoga -- somehow and in some way -- digs deep into our core. It won't be the first class and probably not the second or third. But the longer you stick with the practice, the more emotion you're going to feel. You'll feel things bubbling up. You might cry. You might feel a much needed release. Just go with it. When this happens, your body is releasing a ton of pent up emotions and probably some physical tension. When it's all said and done, you'll feel more free and happy because of it.

If you haven't been to a yoga class yet, go in with an open mind. Don't try to make the class fit into a preconceived box in your mind. The more open you are, the better your experience. Yoga can transform your life both physically and mentally, so find a class and enjoy.

To learn more about your health, wellness, and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Los Angeles, Calif.

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