Concerns about entering a new yoga space should never prevent you from practicing! The impacts of the COVID19 pandemic are widespread and being felt in new ways for many of us as much of our region returns to pre-COVID operations. With many studios replacing COVD-inspired livestream offerings with in-person classes, some studios closing or shifting their business models, and many new San Diegans, a lot of us yogis in San Diego are likely entering new spaces, meeting new teachers, experimenting with new classes and offerings, and more.
With “new norms” requiring a lot of us to adapt, create new routines, and rediscover our community or favorite spaces, it’s a great time to think about how we’d like to show up. This can be in new spaces or communities or in reentering familiar places. The need to adapt offers us all a unique opportunity to reevaluate what we need and structure new routines. This somewhat unique opportunity to rework our daily routines is in line with themes of Spring: renewal, new beginnings, opportunity, and discovery. Which can lead to a deepening of self-knowledge and of our practice and our purpose.
We may be experiencing social anxiety, rusty social skills, fear, shyness, introverted personalities, or nerves when exploring a new community or space. But just remember, we are all going through changes to our routines and within our perspectives. We may also be excited to get back into our old routine. Regardless of where you are coming from, and where you would like to go, you are not alone!
Keep reading for insight and ideas on how to enter a new space with grace and gratitude, while also staying true to yourself and your needs.
Enter with an Open-Mind
We all perceive and practice in unique ways. If you research the studio or class type ahead of time, keep an open-mind to the style of teaching and style of class. Maybe the teaching style is unfamiliar to you or you feel intimidated by the class description. Just remember to listen to your body and try to leave preconceived notions at the door
Join a Friend or Ask a Friend to Join You
If you know someone that’s interested in yoga or has a membership to a studio, consider practicing in a new space with them! If they have a studio membership, they can offer some insight on their favorite studio, and they might have a guest pass to share.
Take Deep Breaths
Sometimes it’s challenging to practice what we learn on themat in everyday situations.If you’re nervous or feeling anxious about entering a new space, build in some buffer time for yourself to sit in your car, outside the studio, or on public transit to close your eyes, and practice square breath to bring balance to your sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems.
Offer a Friendly Greeting
Sharing that you are new to the space can go a long way and will open the door to a tour from staff or teachers and a warm welcome
Explore the Space
Give yourself a few extra minutes to find out where the bathroom is, where you can put your belongings, if there’s a water dispenser, etc. and whether the teacher is suggesting any props or tools for class. If you’re early and the space has products for sale or a boutique, you can browse the offerings to feel more comfortable
Ask Staff and Teachers about Offerings
Most studios or teachers will have upcoming workshops, classes, or offerings they can share with you. Asking these questions helps build a relationship with the teacher and learn more about the opportunities to practice.
Pause Judgment & Reflect
Refrain from judging the studio, teachers and staff, and other yogis until your session is complete and you’ve had some time to reflect on the experience. Give yourself time to decide whether the class you tried and/or the teaching style worked for you.
We all experience and interact with the world around us in different ways. I hope these thoughts help prepare you to overcome any fears of entering a new space in the yoga community. These tips can also translate to most areas of life where you might be “new” or unfamiliar. Growth and inspiration are often found in those spaces of tension or discomfort. So try out a new style, teacher, studio, or practice and see where it leads you! Building community can be a challenge, but it’s always worth the effort.