Happy International Yoga Day and Summer Solstice!
If you’re already a Yogi, high five! And if you want to celebrate the longest day of the year the Yoga way, 102 Sun Salutations is one option. Yeah, 102.
However, if you’re not yet convinced, this blog post is for you. Any excuse you might have for not practising Yoga, I’m going to crush it!
You might already know my story, but if you don’t, here’s the short version. Back in the day, I thought Yoga was weird, mainly because media had painted a different picture than what it actually is. But when I started doing more fitness, I needed something to stretch and relax my muscles and help me avoid injury. I went to a Yoga class, hated it because I was terrible at it, and started learning by myself at home. Three years later, I’m a Yoga teacher and can fight any excuse you have – because I used it too!
1. I don’t get it
So, what is this? Do I sit there cross-legged with the hands on my lap and trying not to think? Am I supposed to jump in a handstand? Do I fold myself into a pretzel? I hear you; it’s hard to understand what happens in a class until you go to one. And because there are many types of Yoga, I could answer Yes to any of those questions. It’s just a matter of finding what works best for you.
2. I already do other types of exercise
If you love your workouts, Yoga is not meant to replace them. But it’s a good addition to your exercise routine because it helps you relax the muscles and reap the benefits of the work you’ve done. It’s also excellent for injury prevention. And since it’s World Cup season, let’s take a moment to give Ryan Giggs a round of applause. He played professional football until he was 40… because of Yoga. It helped him deal with older injuries and prevent new ones. Many other athletes swear by it, so why not give it a go?
3. I’m not flexible enough
D’oh. Classic. If you ever said this, do know that this is the best reason TO DO Yoga, to improve your flexibility.
It’s like saying you can’t take a course because you don’t know the subject. Isn’t that the whole point of a course?
4. I can’t touch my toes
Neither can I. Seriously.
And still, I have the nerve to go in front of a class and teach. All jokes aside, in a forward fold (the pose that you’re referring to when you mention this “inability”), you can comfortably bend your knees until you touch your toes. The stretch doesn’t come from having straight legs, it comes from lifting your butt towards the ceiling. So you can both touch the toes and work on the flexibility of the back legs. Yes, you can have your cake and eat it.
5. It’s too expensive
I can agree that boutique studios can be pricey, but good old YouTube is free. If you need more affordable, online recommendations, Yogaia and AloMoves are my favourites. I have to mention that I haven’t stepped foot in a Yoga studio for almost two years after that first, unpleasant class. It’s nice to have guidance in the beginning, but you won’t get it anyway in full classes of 30 people. So if you do go to a studio, use your money wisely and opt for small groups where you can get attention.
6. I’m very unfit
There are as many styles of Yoga as there are types of people. It can be a dynamic Vinyasa Flow, a restorative Hatha Yoga class or a calm Yin Yoga. And you know what? There’s even such thing as Yogic sleep (Yoga Nidra)!
7. I have physical disabilities
One thing I love about Yoga is that it doesn’t have to be physical. Breathing exercises (Pranayama) have health benefits, just as the physical poses. And if you love a quiet moment, you can train your mind by meditating.
Now you’re curious but don’t know where to start?
This short, easy practice might be perfect for you and if you’re interested in meditation, I give you a few options in this blog post. I also wrote a guest post on the benefits of Yoga on Sarah Nourse’s blog.
I practice on AloMoves regularly. And of course, if you’re local, join me every Monday and Thursday evening at Hot Space Yoga in Ware, Hertfordshire. The classes are small, so you can get help when you need it.
Please ask me any questions you have about Yoga. If I can give any bit of guidance to get you started, I’ll be more than happy to do it!
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