“Close your eyes and imagine the best version of you possible. That’s who you really are. Let go of any part of you that doesn’t believe it.”
The great thing about yoga is you don’t need a lot of equipment to get started. Props can be helpful to increase flexibility and accessibility to certain asanas, however, you can improvise too. You don’t even really need a yoga mat, however it is helpful if you get sweaty palms or want to try inversions and other balancing poses.
The key props are;
• Yoga mat (or a towel)
• Yoga block/s
• A strap
• A bolster
• A blanket
If you are new to yoga, find yourself in lockdown or are away traveling and can’t bring your props with you, look for items that resemble the props. A towel can do as a mat, a book instead of a block, a belt as a strap, a cushion as a bolster and any blanket is suitable. You can also practice yoga without any of these things.
Once you have some props, you need some guidance. There’s plenty of youtube videos and apps, or you can jump in to ‘The Yogi Hub’ on our home page for some beginner classes to follow along with right from your phone or laptop. Music can also help you to get out of your head. The benefits of a regular yoga practice isn’t just the mobility, strength and flexibility you can gain, the best benefit is finding calm, reducing cortisone (the stress hormone), and practicing mindfulness. A yoga practice doesn’t stop on the mat, a true yoga practice carries on in to your daily life.
A common misconception is that you need to be flexible to do yoga. Flexibility is the result of a regular yoga practice, not the requirement. Yoga is more than making pretty shapes, it’s about feeling in to your body, moving with the breath, gaining mobility and awareness, softening and flowing. It’s about how it feels, not how it looks.
An important thing to remember too, is that all bodies are built different, and some poses (asanas) just aren’t possible for some bodies, this is why we have modifications and props available to still receive the benefits not matter what body you live in.
“Yoga is a dance between control and surrender – between pushing and letting go – and when to push and when to let go becomes part of the creative process, part of the open-ended exploration of your being.“
– Joel Kramer
In the early stages just start where you are at, breathe in to each asana, using the breath to push a little deeper each time. Over time, what was once hard will be easy. It’s really important not to force your body in to asanas it’s not ready for. It’s not a race. It can take years of daily practice to achieve some of the shapes you see on Instagram, so have your expectations set accordingly. The most important part of the yoga practice is to ensure you are doing it safely.
Start with Sun Salutations to warm up the body or a beginner/all levels flow and do this on repeat every day. You don’t need to do a 90 minute session every day to gain benefits from yoga, even just 10 minutes of stretching and moving is enough some days, and rest days are ok too, try a meditation instead. Even the yogi masters wake up stiff in the mornings, so it’s important to warm the body up before attempting anything that could strain you.
What ever your reason is for starting a yoga practice, try not to compare yourself to others, do it for you, do it safely, breathe and enjoy the flow.