Starting with Yoga

Start now.

Start where you are.

Start with fear.

Start with pain.

Start with doubt.

Start with hands shaking.

Start with voice trembling but start.

Start and don’t stop.

Start where you are, with what you have.


Quote from Ijeoma Umebinyuo


Starting your yoga journey…

Have you questioned whether you are flexible enough to be able to practice yoga? Do you have doubts whether yoga is as effective as a HIT class for a time poor person? Have you wondered what type of yoga to join and how often you should be practicing? Have you attended a yoga class before and didn’t enjoy it, hence you thought this is not for you?

These are a few of the questions I have heard friends and students ask and I would like to provide you with a few thoughts based on my own journey and what I have learned so far:

Firstly, yoga is suitable for everyone no matter whether you are flexible or not, whether you are strong or on your way to getting stronger, whether you are interested in the spiritual or physical side of yoga, whether you are young in age or young in your heart. The word yoga in Sanskrit means to join or to unite – and in its essence is a state of being where all opposites, distinctions and states are in unity. This means the union of the individual consciousness with the universal consciousness. It also means union of all elements: the physical, vital, mental, emotional, and spiritual. Yoga is a practice, and it is through this practice that our awareness of each of these vital elements of our being improves and we can understand better how one element might impact the other. All these elements working in harmony makes life fuller and more joyful.  In its essence yoga is the science of living life fully and purposefully and being in the present moment – enjoying the simple things in life, noticing what happens around us and in ourselves and being able to apply a fresh perspective to moments and experiences that make up life.

There are many forms of yoga – raja, hatha, jnana, karma, kundalini and more and everyone should choose the one that is best suited to their needs. What we refer to as yoga in the Western culture is mainly hatha yoga. Hatha yoga involves physical aspects including strength, endurance, and core work through asana practices. As well as cleansing practices hatha yoga has also embraced the practice of pranayama, bandha and mudra. What students notice is that by practicing yoga, not only they overcome pains in their bodies, but they also become stronger, have an increased coordination, flexibility, and balance, including regular usage of muscles they did not know existed. Yoga balances our nervous and endocrine system which influences us on every level, hence it works on our physical body and lays the foundation for mental and spiritual growth. It is not a HIT class and not comparable to anything else really because its benefits are holistic and stretch well beyond the mat into our everyday lives.

Yoga itself and how we practice is constantly evolving to adapt and better suit our needs. When I first started practicing yoga most classes were 90 min at least – which suited me and I loved. But life became faster and when I became a mother 90 min of practice did not fit into my day any longer and if you look around most classes these days are around 60 min and some even 45 min. Your own daily practice can be as long as you have time to fit in – it could 10 min or 2 hours. Going on the mat is about the discipline of showing up, but also about the quality and commitment to staying connected to your breath and body and feeling what is right for you in that moment. Furthermore, it’s about embracing an honest practice, letting go of egos and pressures and gracefully smiling when you cannot hold that balance for longer than two breaths on that day. It is also about shaking things, letting go of expectations, and connecting with yourself and others at a deeper level. As one of my amazing teachers said: “Often it is not about what you want, but about what you need!” It’s interesting how the mat becomes an opportunity for exactly this to happen.

So if you are new to yoga I invite you to test a few classes and see whether this is for you and you are ready for the journey, try different teachers, and try different schools– keep an open mind and stay curious and if you find something in those classes that moves you – stick to it because as BKS Iyengar says: “Yoga is a light, which once lit will never dim. The better your practice, the brighter the flame. “

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