Everyone seems to do yoga these days, from your best friend to your colleagues to your granny. Even dogs and goats get their Zen (on Instagram at least :)). But if you haven’t been in Warrior 2 or the downward facing dog yet, or only know all the poses from Instagram, it can be a little intimidating to start. What if your hands sweat and you slip off the mat? And what if it’s not fun? What if you can’t manage the poses or it’s way too esoteric for you?
Okay, let’s just cut to the chase. There’s a reason why so many people have jumped on the mat in recent years. “Yoga is a non-judgmental practice”, so there is no reason to worry :).
But before you start with yoga, ask yourself why, because the most important thing in yoga is your attitude.
1. How often should I practice yoga?
There’s no right and no wrong here. Of course it is great to start every morning with yoga, but most of the time we fail because of the implementation. I think that it is good to practice less but on a regular basis. As I do it the same way myself and flow about three times a week. I prefer to go to classes that last about 90 minutes. Then you can also be sure that you get everything that belongs to a class. But you also make sure that you are not starting to get in the flow when it is almost over again. Here everyone has to find a routine for themselves. For example, it helps to practice for five minutes, but every day.
Better less, but regularly.
2 Which yoga style is right for me?
Not every yoga style appeals to everyone. But there is a yoga style for everyone :). Here you have to try it out, because there are quite a few. To the main directions belong:
- Ashtanga Yoga
- Anusara Yoga
- Iyengar Yoga
- Jivamukti Yoga
- Spirit Yoga
- Kundalini Yoga
- Yin Yoga
- Sivananda Yoga
In the beginning it makes sense to invest some time in the different yoga practices and see what you like best. So don’t give up right away :). I am a Multi Yoga Teacher and love diversity. Every style has something great and yet I love to bring in my own style. Ever since I’ve been in Berlin, since about July 2017, I like to practice Jivamutki Yoga. Jivamukti is a method developed by David Life and Sharon Gannon in 1984 that aims to reunite the physical, philosophical and spiritual aspects of the practice. The Asanas can be very powerful and spiritual.
If you have a lively temperament and a tendency to breathlessness, as I do :), it doesn’t necessarily mean that you should choose only dynamic and sweaty yoga. If you’re more phlegmatic, you might want to try a wilder style.
3. What if I can’t do some poses?
Instagram tempts us here to many Asanas, which look great but for our body at first might not be so great at all. It is a process – “2 hours on the mat and 24 hours off the mat” – as my Yoga Guru used to say. On our mat this means we practice for ourselves no matter what others do. For every pose/asana there are levels and the most important thing is that you recognize your level. Patience is key in this case :).
4. The most important thing in your practice?
If we only want to learn physical contortions, the integrative power of yoga will be missing. This consists in experiencing oneself as part of a whole union. To recognize the connection with the earth, the world and the beings included with it. Nothing is separate, but everything is connected, through the breath. In order to understand the interaction of physical and mental effects, the breath is our essence.
It is regarded as the most important tool and is linked to the nervous system and builds a bridge between body and mind. By breathing calmly and consciously, we do something for our body and also convey to our mind that everything is alright. The art is to keep the breath calm and deep even in exciting situations. And that is what we train in yoga. If we manage to maintain control over our breath in stressful situations, we also control the situation. You stay in touch with yourself.
5. The others can do splits…
This practice is for you and only for you! Your body is unique as well as your whole being. We always catch us comparing ourselves with others. Yet it is just so beautiful that we are all unique. And even if we know this, we all wander off with our thoughts during the class. From to-do lists to daydreams to relationship dramas our thoughts drift off. Just as our bodies flow from one movement to the next, our thoughts also have a rhythm. And this is exactly one of the gifts we learn in our yoga practice. We learn to recognize when our thoughts capture us and then know how to free ourselves again to connect with the present moment and all that it contains.
Do you have anything else you would like to know or add? I would be happy about that. If not, we will meet on the mat :)!