Yoga has become a huge part of my life, especially over the course of this year and it’s helped me immensely, in so many areas of my life. Every time I roll my mat out, I feel safe and grounded. It’s calmed me in times of stress, it’s helped me get back into some sort of exercise routine again after years of crippling anxiety, weight gain and doing next to no exercise and it’s helped me gain flexibility and more awareness of my own body. I went to my very first Yoga retreat earlier this month and although some elements of it weren’t exactly what I was expecting, I absolutely loved the experience and what I gained from it and there will be a more detailed post about what I learnt from my Yoga retreat on my blog next month.
I’ve spoken about Yoga a few times on my blog before and there’s always the same comments that crop up time and time again. “I can’t do Yoga because I’m not flexible” and “I would love to do Yoga but I don’t know where to start!” are probably two of the most common. And I can understand why. There’s lots of misconceptions around Yoga and it’s such a broad concept that it certainly can be difficult to know where to start if you’ve never done it before.
So, I wanted to put together a post with things you should know about Yoga if it’s on your New Years resolutions list for 2019, give you a bit of guidance if you’re not sure where to start and hopefully banish some misconceptions!
Firstly, you do not have to be flexible to do Yoga
Okay it makes sense why people think this but it is in fact utter rubbish. That’s like saying to someone you can only go running if you’re fast or you can only lift weights if you’re strong. Yoga can improve flexibility; I was the most inflexible person ever before I started Yoga (literally, I couldn’t touch my toes!) but the improvement has been tenfold. Flexibility is a nice bi-product of Yoga, that’s all.
Find a type of Yoga that works for you
I do all my Yoga practicing at home. That works for me because I suffer from anxiety so I like being in my own space. When I went to my Yoga retreat, it was my first experience of doing Yoga in a class with other people and I found that I didn’t particularly enjoy that as much as I do with my home Yoga practices. But of course, lots of people love the communal element of doing Yoga in a class and there’s plenty of places to find Yoga instructors too!
All teachers are different and will focus on different things
In the process of finding yourself a teacher, either in person or an online teacher, it’s worth remembering that all teachers teach differently and will focus on different elements of Yoga. I use Yoga With Adriene at home, who’s a young, fun and upbeat teacher who makes you laugh and constantly reminds you to just find what feels good and not take anything too seriously. But the teacher from my Yoga retreat was intensely spiritual – and that’s just not me. So I found it a bit uncomfortable. And that’s fine. It’s all about finding what works for you, depending on your own needs and beliefs. And if you don’t believe in anything at all, Yoga can simply be a brilliant exercise regime!
Remember that Yoga is what you make it
Yoga can be incredibly in-depth and a little overwhelming at the beginning with all these new words and poses you’ve never thought about maneuvering your body into. Whatever teacher you choose, chances are they’re probably going to say some things that go over the top of your head too. The beauty of Yoga is that it’s yours and it is what you make it. If you do’t want to say “namaste” at the end, you don’t have to. If a pose is too advanced for you, adapt it. Or if like me, you’re not a spiritual person, that’s okay too. Yoga is still for you. Take from it what you need and leave what you don’t.
If you have any other questions about starting Yoga, please do leave them below as I’m happy to answer them. If you’re planning to start Yoga in the New Year, I’d love to hear it!
* This post is sponsored by Bidvine