When we aren’t running around doing errands or life admin, we sit on public transport, in meetings or on the couch, often mesmerised by our phones and laptops. In our ultra-connected world we are always on, always accessible, always somewhere other than where we physically are. All these distractions can work as a buffer, separating us from what is really happening and how we are feeling in each situation. So it’s more important than ever to take a moment, pause, and breathe. Yoga and meditation can help you to come into the present moment, and to increase the agility of your body and mind.
In my time practicing and teaching yoga, I’ve learned that it can be something different for everyone. From sports recovery and rehabilitation to improved agility, balance, posture and muscle strength, yoga can offer relief and work as a gateway to better overall health. This ancient practice has developed over many centuries, and today you can experience a myriad of different styles, from traditional ashtanga and hatha to rap… or even goat yoga.
But just as yoga isn’t always about kooky variations, it also doesn’t always have to be about incense and candles or putting your legs over your head. It can simply be about taking time for yourself, a moment to stretch and strengthen your body, to close your mind from life’s natural clutter and noise. At best, it will give you much more than the hour it takes of your time.
Whether you’re going to your first or your twenty-first class, here are a few things to keep in mind with yoga.
1. Be gentle
You don’t want to hurt yourself, so pay extra care and attention to your teacher’s cues and instructions, pose alignment and transitions from one pose to another. Take breaks, rest, and ask questions after the class if anything was left unclear.
2. Be curious
If you didn’t like the first yoga class you went to, try another teacher and/or style! There are various different yoga styles with thousands of different variations to the asanas (poses), so don’t give up after the first go. Maybe you’ll take a little bit longer to find your practise. If you have found your favourite style and teacher, stay curious with exploring different asanas and variations. Always keep challenging yourself, going deeper with your poses and trying new things as you progress.
3. Be patient
Don’t expect to be able to do a handstand right off the bat or to be able to put your palms under your feet while standing if you haven’t done any stretching since elementary school. Progression happens gradually, and not in a linear curve. Some days will be like treading through a field of mud, others you’re on cloud 9 and have perfect balance. This is the beauty of practising yoga and being human: we change daily, and our practise changes with us.
Yoga should be accessible to all. It is not a competition or a race, and it is very important to remember that you are on the mat for yourself.
I teach yoga at The Collective, and in these classes we embrace everyone’s different background and level of experience. Everyone is welcome to come and challenge themselves, to relax and rejuvenate, to take a brief break from their life, and to completely focus on their body and breath. We encourage newcomers to join, try yoga and see how they feel afterwards. The classes are curated based on the group’s needs, and there is no forced spiritual aspect to the practise. We start with a short mindfulness meditation, and always finish the class of with relaxation, a little massage and some deep breathing, but whatever happens in between is up to the group, their needs and energy levels. The yoga classes are structured to give you balance, strength and offer deep relaxation both for your mind and your body.
Come try it for yourself and see how you feel! For more info, head to the app or come ask some questions at the hub.
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