Updated: Jul 28
Have you ever thought any of the following?
‘I’d like to try yoga, but I don’t have the right body for it.’
‘I’ll never be good at yoga – I’ll never look like ‘them’ (insert image of Instagram-ready, pretzel-shaped human)’
‘I don’t understand yoga – is it just stretching or is it a workout?’
‘I’m not sure about the spiritual side of yoga.’
‘I usually skip the relaxation bit – I don’t have time.’
Most people know that yoga is good for you, but there are some misconceptions around what exactly yoga is and who it’s for. We wanted to clear a few of those up. Let’s start with what yoga isn’t…
Yoga isn’t…just another exercise class
The benefits of our online yoga classes are many: they can improve flexibility, mobility, energy levels, balance, sleep, circulatory health, stress management, immune response and more. Some styles also build up a sweat, with a faster pace and strength work (try our Asana Sweat class for a taste of this).
Today’s yoga classes focus
predominantly on asana (poses), but the origins of yoga date back thousands of years, with the movement element being a relatively recent addition. Asana is just one of the eight limbs of yoga – the others include pranayama (breathing techniques), working with the mind through meditation and ethical guidelines to live by.
It’s not uncommon to feel resistance to the quieter moments of a yoga class – the breathwork, relaxation and meditation. If you find yourself skipping these, it might be interesting to explore why they feel unnecessary or uncomfortable and perhaps try them for a while to see how it changes your experience.
Yoga isn’t…a performance
In dance or gymnastics, movement comes with aesthetic considerations. In yoga, we build poses from within – the most important thing is how they feel, not how they look, and one pose looks very different in different bodies.
Being bendier doesn’t make someone ‘better’ at yoga (and chances are the person who pops straight up into wheel pose could do that anyway), so try not to compare your practice to anyone else’s.
A truly ‘advanced’ yogi is one who listens to their body and moves in a way that fits their energy and needs on that day. Maybe you can do the most physically challenging version of a pose, but maybe it isn’t the best option today. Your yoga practice is for you – you don’t need to impress anyone.
One of the biggest challenges in a yoga class (and in life!) is learning to appreciate it however it unfolds, without wishing anything was different. You may find that over time you feel stronger and more flexible, but the real goal is to keep showing up on the mat with the knowledge that there’s no end point, no graduation, no black belt to achieve. Approach your yoga practice with an air of curiosity and self-enquiry, and you’ll never have a ‘bad’ yoga session.
In our next post, we’ll talk more about what yoga is. We love hearing from you. Let us know if this post was helpful and if there are any elements of yoga
you’d like to know more about?