Group fitness can be intimidating, especially yoga. It’s scary walking into a class by yourself where you may not be an expert. Moving with your breath feels awkward, and you’re unsure of the poses. However, you can use these 8 tips to grow your love for yoga. I promise you won’t always suck at it.

1. Embrace Yourself As a Beginner

Having no idea what you’re doing is actually a beautiful thing. It can relieve you of expectations; you stay curious. You get to learn something new having a blank slate. Long-time yogis sometimes struggle to keep an open mind to new learning, but you are right there with an open mind ready to learn. Have fun with it!

2. Practice at Home

If the thought of being the person who’s pointing to the left when everyone else is pointing to the right is keeping you from going to a class, practice at home. There are YouTube videos and online streaming services that will allow you to be in your own space and go at your own pace. At some point, you’ll want to take a class with a teacher who will help you tailor the practice to your particular body. But if you aren’t quite ready to go to the class, bring the class to you.

3. Avoid Comparison

In every class, there will be a number of people who just look awesome in their yoga pants with their fancy poses, being a real pro. They will look glamorous and serene while you are shaking in your sweat pants. Resist the urge to hate them—or yourself—and it will automatically deepen your practice. Comparison makes you focus on how you are separate, and yoga is about understanding how we are all connected. Own your falling down headstand. Everyone else will start feeling more comfortable, too.

4. Take a Beginner’s Class

It takes a really special teacher to be able to truly help serve beginner yogis. Check out classes labeled as Level 1, All Levels, Gentle Yoga, or Yoga Nidra (a meditation yoga). These classes will give you a solid foundation of the basics and you will be with others shaking in your half moon pose.

5. Embrace Props

Blocks, straps, blankets, bolsters—or if you’re at home, couch cushions, belts, and books—are your friends. Sit on top of three blankets for support if it feels good. Heck, use all of the above at once if you need to.

6. Talk to the Teacher

A good teacher wants to know about his or her students. Introduce yourself a couple of minutes before class starts and explain that you’re a beginner. He or she will be able to tell you how to modify poses during class to suit your level.

7. Gently Check Your Ego at the Door

I know it’s not fun to feel like a new student. But if you can resist the urge to go straight for the most advanced version of a pose, you’ll be able to build on your successes instead of potentially breaking your neck. And seriously- take child’s pose whenever you want. That’s you listening to your body and that’s admirable.

8. Listen to Your Body

Ultimately, your body will tell you everything you need to know about how yoga is working for you. Reach only as far as feels doable to you. “No pain no gain” does not apply on the yoga mat. If anything, it will render you possibly unable to do yoga in the future if you get hurt.

As a therapist, I strive to help people make new discoveries about themselves and what helps them overcome the obstacles they face. My clients trust me to guide them on their journey to achieve the goals they set for themselves. As someone who understands the transformative power of therapy, I’m passionate about learning, listening, and bringing balance and wellness to the lives of my clients. I enjoy working with people from all walks of life, and if you or someone you love is going through a difficult time dealing with anxiety/depression, personality, dissociative, or eating disorders.