Sarah Fretwell

Yoga, Movement, Mobility, Wellness

Getting into movement: Where to start if you're a beginner

Health, Yoga, MovementSarah FretwellComment

Being a beginner is one of the best places to be. Let me explain why, as you’re probably thinking I’m crazy here.

I’m going to talk about this in the context of movement. When you first recognise that you are a beginner at a form of movement, two possible reactions can happen in the mind. You can either fall into a pit of despair and hopelessness, believing that it’s too late to start now when you can’t even touch your toes. Or, you can put on your student hat and recognise that yes, you are probably going to be the worst in the room, but you’re here to learn. I strongly recommend that you choose the latter reaction.

As soon as you accept that you’re a beginner, you start to evolve. Things that you never considered possible start to become your new goals. You enter the process of learning, rekindling the spark inside you that craves new information and exploration. You start to feel a sense of excitement, similar to the excitement you feel when you discover a plot twist in a book or in a film and can’t wait to find out more. The questions start to flow like never before: how, why, what, when, how long, what else is there? What more? You often feel an urge to dive head first into whatever you’re discovering at rocket speed. This is the start of something huge, and it can impact your life in the best way possible.

The good thing is that it really doesn’t matter what age you are, how flexible you are, whether you can touch your toes or squat like a sumo. What matters is that you approach your new found interest in movement with an open mind, a willingness to try and try hard, an acceptance that it will be challenging, and above all the desire to thrive in your own body, not just simply live and move sub-optimally.

Way, way too many people out there are living sub-optimally. We should move because our lives depend on it, not because we simply enjoy it. Movement is crucial for maintaining not only a healthy, supple and young body, but a young mind. Have you ever noticed that when you sit down for long periods of time you start to feel stagnant, uninspired and lethargic? Movement is the best way to prevent degeneration of your brain. When we rotate our arms and legs, twist our spines and move better, we activate and stimulate the hippocampus in our brains, training our brain to perform better. The mind body connection is real kids.

There are plenty of beginner’s movement classes out there, especially in London. So ask yourself: What form of movement am I interested in exploring? Do you like to dance? Why not find a dance class you can go to, such as Salsa or contemporary dance. Did you used to like gymnastics? Handstand classes or gymnastics classes will likely be right up your street, and there are plenty out there for adults. Do you enjoy learning about philosophy and like the idea of a moving meditation or a flow of movement? You could try several yoga classes and explore different teachers. Can you imagine yourself inverting or moving continuously? Why not try Capoeria, martial arts or even Parkour if you’re a bit of a dare devil. If your ultimate goal is to be able to do the splits or a forward fold, mobility training could be your first step.

Start with one, and then explore more, because the crossover is so interesting in the movement world and you’ll soon discover that once you start one movement practice, it opens the door to a whole new world of movement for you to explore. The options are broad and there is a plethora of different movement styles to choose from, and the more experience you gain with different forms, the more you’ll be able to start picking and choosing bits from each. For example, I love the creative, fluid Vinyasa yoga styles, but not so much the set routine of Ashtanga yoga, so I pick out the more creative forms. I don’t love lifting weights, but I like bodyweight training, so I practice mobility training and go to inversions and handstand classes as well as yoga. You get to pick, so get experimenting and work out what you love and why.

If you prefer a more 1:1 style of training instead of classes and like having someone there to help push you forwards and give you goals, then 1:1 yoga lessons or mobility training will likely suit you. I offer both private yoga lessons and mobility coaching (in-person and online) that are completely tailored to you and your own goals. Find out more here.

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Any questions, just ask. And please share this article with any and everyone you know who thinks themselves and their body is a lost cause, they’ll thank you later.

Yours truly,

Someone who loves to move and gets highly agitated when made to sit down in a chair for more than 30 minutes. x