What's Yoga all about? What it isn't? Will I be okay?
Welcome to my first blog!
There is so much I want to talk about and so much I have to say with regards to the journey of Yoga and delving into the specifics that I’m so excited to start writing a blog! What I want to do first and foremost is get BACK TO BASICS though. Yoga can appear extremely daunting from the outside looking in and from experience can bring about a feeling of ‘that’s not for me’ or ‘I can’t do that’ I have felt the same in the past. I myself am not naturally bendy nor was I the kid at school that could do handstands or cartwheels, I have seen myself as more sturdy character built for other sports, less delicate but I got the whole idea WRONG. I want to start with a little bit of what Yoga is all about, a little background and some reasons why you shouldn’t be afraid to give it a go!!
What it’s NOT!
Yoga is NOT the practise of gymnastics OR a ‘sport’ it really is a way of living your life and more a means of internal development rather than your weekly ‘physical exercise’ or this is how I see it when I reflect on the benefits it has given me. The physical benefits are plentiful and not to be underestimated but as far as being ‘good’ at Yoga? In my assessment of this, if you are arriving at your mat, ready to give 100% effort to not only the physical poses but also connecting to your inner being, shutting off the outside world and being open to the experience of learning, then you are ‘good’ at Yoga! "If you have a body and do Yoga, then you HAVE a Yoga body!!"
Whats it all about?
Yoga in Sanskrit translates loosely into ‘Union’ or ‘yolk’ so imagine how the yolk of an egg binds all the ingredients together for a cake, that’s like Yoga lol! So what are we bringing together? It is the union between your body, mind and spirit. This sounds like an airy fairy meme but this connection is something we are deeply lacking in the way we live our lives, we often fail to connect the dots as to how everything is interlaced, the condition of our body, how we feed ourselves, how we feel, our environment, our habits, how we think, our emotions and the inner state of being (our true self) which went out the window years ago it seems!! I’m beginning to feel that while technology and science soldiers progressively forward, we as humans are now stopping to assess our life situation and feeling like ‘erm no, this can’t be right!? Surely there is more to my life than this?’ and making conscious decisions to come back to basics and delve deeper into the state of consciousness. The World is waking up. Well this is what I think/hope.
A Brief History….
I won’t blab on about the history of Yoga as there is a lot to it and I can cover this another time, (or perhaps you can google it hehe) but in a small nutshell, the first records of Yoga dates back over 5000 years ago in India, it was never referenced in the form of physical movement initially but more a connection inside through meditation, in fact the only reason the physical movement came into the practise was to help ‘yogis’ have strong, supple bodies which allow them to sit in meditation for longer!! (or so I read) In the early 20th century Yoga travelled from the East to the Western world and just EXPLODED from there really. Since then Yoga has developed many different types and styles. I really think it’s about trying out a few different classes and finding out what is best for you. I’ve got to say I’m more into the slow and controlled style of Yoga, rather than POWER Yoga, I’m not directly looking for a workout from the practise but YOU could be? There is something for everyone. Beer Yoga, dog Yoga, Nude yoga (whatever floats your boat!) It’s all about finding the right class for you and very importantly the right teacher/guide for you. It’s not a one size fits all!
Is it all confusing Airy Fairy nonsense?
Sometimes there are things teachers say and do that are hard to understand…..I remember being in my first Yoga class where everyone ‘OMMMM’D’ I actually couldn’t control myself, it hurt me to hold back the hysterical laughter that wanted to come out. WHAT are these people doing? Some of the guys had a really deep OMMMM that sounded like it was coming from their soul, I couldn’t help it, a little chuckle came out of me throwing everyone off their vibe. I didn’t want to be that person but I couldn’t help it, it was just bizarre to me. I think what it comes down to is lack of understanding. I didn’t know this was the sound the universe made when it was created? Durrr Lol. How was I meant to! I think some teachers don’t remember what it’s like to be brand new which is why I want to bring things back to basics a little more. Just to let you know I sadly don’t do the OMMMM in my Yoga classes, I really love it but I’m met with the same smiles I had all them years ago and I can see and feel the pain in my students not to laugh. I love OMMM’ing and chanting, the vibrations can be so powerful. But more about that another time…. J
I have been really confused in Yoga classes before. I remember trying to do double inhales or exhales on occasions because I had already inhaled and then the teacher instructed an inhale so I just inhaled more :-D Try to let go of the idea of perfection, the breathing with movement is something that clicks into place over a few lessons, you aren’t being judged on your ability to breath! In fact, you aren’t being judged on your ability to do the poses either. A good teacher will want your body in a safe alignment but as far as getting your forehead on your knees?? Nahh, I’m not concerned. As long as you are trying your best!
I’m really unflexible…I can’t do Yoga
This is sometimes confusing to hear this….like yes, if this is the case then surely you NEED some Yoga? No? LOL No teacher is expecting you to arrive at your first class and be able to bust into the splits!! You don’t need to be flexible to begin Yoga and it’s disappointing to think a lot of people are being held back by feeling like they are inadequate before they have actually attempted to come along. I think that socials have a big part to play in this feeling as scrolling through Insta there are so many beautiful images of women and men moving their bodies in crazy ways and this is actually quite inaccurate to the content of an ‘actual’ yoga class in real life. Unless you unknowingly wander into a class for advanced Yogi’s most teachers are going to be understanding and gentle with you and there will usually be plenty of variations you can follow. There may be things that you can’t do and that’s fine, they will be for another day.
You’ll never know it all, and that’s okay!
I am on a learning journey myself and the great thing is once you begin with Yoga, you will NEVER stop learning, that’s one of the things I love about it, it’s a journey. The way we approach Yoga can have so many direct lessons to the way we approach our lives that it really isn’t just down to the hour that you spend on a yoga mat. There are multiple lessons to learn and continue learning. It is like shining a torch inwards to see what’s there? Are there some changes to be made? Areas to improve on? Appreciation/love that you are lacking? Bringing awareness to these revelations can lead to powerful change.
In conclusion I really would encourage that you allow yourself to be a beginner, be brave to try something new, every person you see in the media or around you started somewhere, you don’t need to be good at something you have never done before!? Find the right guide for you to begin your Yoga journey. You won’t regret it.
In my next Blog I will speak about the benefits of Yoga, there are so many, it’s pure magic when you get into it properly and find the right class for YOU.
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