A Note to All Our Blanket Yoga Newcomers

Tara Filip

Each week we are honored to welcome new students to our classes. Our Newcomer’s Academy often has four, five or more new students who join us to try Blanket Yoga. Our goal is to build community one new student at a time, while offering this style of restorative, supportive, life-changing yoga to as many people as we can fit in the studio.

Our newest students will often walk out of class feeling great! Pain free! More flexible! They will come back the following week and feel even better! And then they slowly disappear. Maybe they come back a few more times, but (best guess) 7 out of 10 new students don’t return after a couple classes. Of those three remaining, only one or two will become regulars. We started to look at the trends and wondered what was going on – after all, they left feeling better than they’ve felt in ages!

I decided that we need to be more honest and let you in on a little secret – we know why you’re not coming back, and we want to help. After many emails, questions, conversations and deductions we’ve determined the TOP TWO reasons people stop coming – despite the fact that they LOVED the class and it made them FEEL GOOD again. If you can identify with one or both reasons, we invite you to make the commitment to come back to class.

Reason #1

We work really hard at mastering our schedules, fitting everything in, making sure we aren’t late, remembering to pack a lunch, and keep track of the car keys. Our calendars are full of obligations, appointments, and mandatory to-dos. Then someone invites you to try out this new yoga class. Fitting in one class is manageable, right? Just shift a few things and the night is free to try out something new. And wow, did that class feel good! OK, maybe you can squeeze one in next week, because you really like how that felt. And then the dog gets sick, the kids start rehearsal after school, there’s dentist appointments and oil changes for the car. We get it. Life gets busy and our schedules fall apart.

What we also know is that it takes 30 days to create a new habit. So we ask you – what would it take to build in yoga time? To make your yoga class a non-negotiable on your schedule? To choose the class that best fits your schedule, and then protect it. Our answer: Make it a priority for a month. If you need to miss a class, replace it with another one in the same week. Then see how easy it is to make yourself and your yoga practice a priority – because it makes you feel good again, and you deserve it! You deserve to live free from pain and limitations. Your body deserves the opportunity to walk taller, stand firmly, and move gracefully through this life.

Reason #2

It hurts! You went to a class, left feeling great, and then a day or two later you were achy and stiff. Maybe an old injury flared up, or it was hard to get through your day without feeling uncomfortable. You woke up in the middle of the night and the pain in your leg muscles made it hard to get back to sleep. That, my friend, is what we call ‘relapse’. It is common, it will go away, and I can explain.
First, let me ask you, how many years did it take you to get where you are today? Tight muscles, painful lower back, limited range in your shoulders, a hunched neck and poor posture from the computer, tablet, or phone. Then, in your new yoga class you start to soften those spots. Blood begins to flow through those tight muscles, oxygen fills into new area of your lungs offering relief, more fluid motion, and ease. When we rest into savasana and participate in the guided awareness, we allow our mind, heart, and body to settle in, settle back, to restore and realign with our True Self – one that is pain free and fluid motion. A few days later, the repetitive motion of your life begins to shorten those muscles again, returning them to the tight, curled up place they started from and that is what we call relapse.
In a few more days you felt better and decided to try another class with the same result – you left feeling amazing, and then you were achy and stiff a few days later. So it must not be working, right? It must be the yoga causing the pain. This is true in a direct sense, but the BIGGER TRUTH is that the yoga will – eventually – make the pain go away and, ironically, you’ll experience that same achy feeling when you don’t do enough yoga!
So, the answer to BOTH reasons is simply, DO MORE YOGA.

It’s not just a mantra or slogan, it’s real. It works. We invite you to test out our theory for your self and, well, come back to another class and try it again. Talk to your teacher, ask for ideas on dealing with the relapse between classes. You might just find that it really is the yoga, and it really is changing your life one asana at a time.

Bonus: Blanket Folding 101

Here’s a video for you that covers the basics of blanket folding. The art of folding blankets if part of the practice; there is precision in our alignments and our propping that allows maximum release and benefit of the practice. Om namah shivaya


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