I have recently learned that yoga is more than a practice done on a mat. Yoga is a mindset. It is a way of life. Of course the physical practice of yoga is a large part of creating that mental awareness, but it is so much more than only the physical benefits that happen during and even after a yoga session.
If you are unsure if yoga is for you, let me assure you — it is exactly what everyone needs. In this hectic world, we all need a moment of connection and calm.
Some things you should know before beginning your Yoga journey:
- There are all different styles of yoga for all needs and fitness levels. Here are a few I personally have practiced and enjoy for different reasons:
- Hatha Yoga is generally taught in the west as a practice focusing on basic postures. It is great for beginners.
- Restorative Yoga is just want it sounds like: a deep relaxing yoga practice. It’s great for long stretches and a rest for your body and mind.
- Vinyasa Yoga is a flowing, moving yoga from pose to pose, often set to music. In this practice, there are usually transitions from pose to pose that are fairly quick. Being familiar with basic poses can be helpful before attempting vinyasa. Vinyasa is one of my personal favourites, as I love to move, but in this practice I feel like I am in a moving meditation.
- Hot Yoga is a yoga practice done in a heated room (26-38°C / 80-100°F) . This practice isn’t for everyone, but I personally love moving through a yoga sequence while sweating. Each time I leave so invigorated. Bring a towel if you are giving this one a try.
- The Yoga Sanskrit vocabulary is large but you don’t have to be familiar with the terms to practice!Most instructors will explain any unfamiliar terms or demonstrate the meaning through movement or poses. Many poses have common names as well that are frequently used. There are so many terms that I am not 100% sure of but I try not to worry about that and just enjoy my practice. If you’d like to familiarize yourself with some common terms before giving it a go check out this website.
- People are not meant to be perfect.One of the beautiful things about a yoga practice is the experimentation with your body and the connection with your mind or a greater power or source. If there is a pose that does not feel good to you or that you are not ready for, you can skip that pose or modify. Listen to your body and do what feels right for you. If you are taking a live class ask the instructor for some help. After all, that is what they are there for.
- Yoga does not have to break the bank.You do not need a pricey membership or expensive clothing to enjoy a great yoga session. Practice at home can be just as powerful and uplifting. Check out this list of amazing suggestions for at home yoga on YouTube.If you want to add a little something special try lighting some incense, or using an essential oil like Sandalwood or Frankincense.
- You can wear whatever you want to practice. The important thing is that you are comfortable. I like to wear clothing that is breathable and allows me some flexibility. My favorite tights for yoga are from The Great North and Lululemon. As for a top, sometimes I wear only a sports bra or a comfy tank or even a sweater for ultimate comfort. Check out the hoodies from this awesome company from Saint John, NB. This company holds a special place in my heart as they orginate in my home town and their message is all about resilience and rising up. A great message for yoga if you ask me!
- Yoga can be done anywhere.You do not have to be confined to a studio or even your living room. Enjoy your practice in nature. There is nothing more powerful than connecting with your breath in the fresh air. All you need to bring along with you is your yoga mat.
The best advice I can give you about yoga is to have fun with it. Take some time and get to know your body and mind.
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