What is Yoga?
Yoga is a Union, of body, mind and spirit. It is an ancient practice that focuses initially on strength, flexibility, relaxation, balance and breathing to boost physical and mental wellbeing.
All of this is done with the higher aim of bringing the practitioner closer to their true bliss and a higher understanding of themselves, life and the universe as a whole.
Yoga is a safe and effective way to work on many issues regarding ones health and wellbeing. Not only is it great on the physical level but it is also wonderful for calming, centering and focusing the mind.
What are the benefits of Yoga?
Here are just some of the noted benefits of Yoga:
Aches and pains
Great for Circulation
Can boost immunity
Helps maintain a healthy nervous system
These are just some of the benefits of Yoga. Of course these would not be immediate and are not guaranteed. However, there is abundant research to back up all the benefits. And I can safely say from my own personal practice and through teaching others full time for several years that I have witnessed these positive effects either personally or in others.
* Please be aware however that Yoga comes in many styles so it is very important to find the one that is right for you.
How did I get into Yoga?
I got into Yoga through injury, over 12 years ago, I suffered with back problems that caused me a lot of pain. Through Yoga I found a way to strengthen and rebuild my entire posture and haven't looked back since. From there I discovered the deeper benefits of the Pranayama breathing practices and relaxation techniques in a time when I struggled with sleeping due to stress. Over time I moved onto the more physical practice of Ashtanga and Vinyasa Yoga which provide something else completely, I found these styles built my focus, strength and stamina as well as centering my mind. I now observe a practice that draws on inspirations from many styles including Hatha mainly but Vinyasa, Satyananda, Jivamukti, Yin and Kundalini are all incorporated into my own practices and teaching style somewhat.
From having personal experience of the wonders of Yoga I then cultivated an interest in how it helps others. It truly is amazing to see as a teacher how something can change a person in a positive way before your very eyes. I believe Yoga truly is for everyone, it is such a vast practice and the benefits span the entirety of a person's wellbeing. When it is practiced with a concious and caring mind, and under the instruction of a good teacher the benefits are really too great to mention.
I've not done Yoga before, what do I need to know?
First thing is first, find the right class for you. Yoga classes vary considerably in terms of intensity, aims and general style. Do a little research first to make sure you have the right session for your needs.
Don't push yourself too hard. Yoga is a non-competitive practice and should be done for yourself, to the best of your ability on the day. On the other hand, challenging yourself within your safe limits is also great. Find that fine balance of encouraging yourself to practice to your best, without comparing yourself to others, practicing with an ego, or feeling deflated by the elements you find challenging.
Don't Wear Socks. Please take shoes off as soon as possible when you arrive. You must not wear shoes or socks during practice. And please never step onto a Yoga mat with shoes on.
Arrive a little early. Just enough to get settled, it's always good to feel acquainted with the space and have some time to stretch or relax before the session. That being said, it may not be appropriate to arrive too early. around 15-20 minutes is advisable for my classes but please check with other studios on their policy.
Eating before the class is not advisable, nor is it to be really hungry. Eating around 4 hours before class is ideal. Also keep hydrated throughout the day.
Get a good mat, it really is worth investing! One with good grip really is a must for any budding Yogi. It genuinely makes the class less enjoyable if your mat isn't up to the job. I will be happy to help with mat purchase advice if you are a little lost.
And finally, enjoy it :) Yoga is a wonderful practice. So let go of any preconceptions or worries if you have any and have fun :)