Yoga’s benefits are plentiful and there is a practice designed to suit for every body and mind. Yoga is not the fitness industry’s latest buzzword or newest fad, yoga has an extensive and respected lineage with its original Vedic texts dating back 5,000 years ago.
Somewhere in the last 2,000 years, the Sanskrit term asana, which originally translated to ‘seat’, transpired to ‘posture’ and we began to understand yoga as a means of physical exercise, particularly in the western world.
So you’ve read the articles, spotted the new studio down the street and you’re ready to get bendy with the best of them? Perhaps you’ve been practising for a while but your yogic-flame has started to dwindle? Before you jump into the very first yoga class you come across or continue practising fruitlessly, there’s a few things your yoga teacher wants you to know.
‘I’M NOT (FLEXIBLE /YOUNG/STRONG… INSERT OTHER STEREOTYPE HERE) ENOUGH’
It’s a common expression but one without any logical basis. Not practising yoga because you’re inflexible is on par with saying you’re too dirty to take a shower. Just like all good things in life, practise leads to progress and the brightest buds take the longest to bloom. Be patient and kind with yourself, there is no magical or fast-track way to achieving your intention.
Your mantra: I am right where I am meant to be.
The late BKS Iyengar, founding father of Iyengar yoga, proclaimed that by regulating your breathing, you will be able to control your mind. Controlled breathing allows you to connect with the present moment and to more easily navigate through the fluctuations of your mind. Focus on your breath first, even if that means spending the class in child’s pose. Being still and focussing on slow, conscious breathing is infinitely more beneficial for you than muscling your way through a power yoga class while holding your breath.
Your mantra: I inhale positivity and exhale negativity.
PLEASE STAY FOR SAVASANA
Would you remove a cake from the oven before it’s ready? It’s unlikely. Just like your baked goods, you need that extra 5-10 minutes to fully reap the benefits of the time spent on your mat. Savasana (corpse pose), the meditation portion of class that concludes your practice is the most essential component as it enables you to notice your Chitta Vritti (mind chatter) and to practise stillness amidst it. Notice, but do not give in to the urge to leave. Groceries, cooking dinner and overseeing homework can wait. This is your time, enjoy it.
Your mantra: I allow myself time to absorb the benefits of my practice.
This article was originally published in Issue 4, Breathe Magazine – Dream On.