What are your first assumptions when you think about taking a yoga class? “It’s only for flexible people. You need to be a spiritual person to enjoy yoga. Yoga isn’t a challenging physical activity. There is an ideal body shape needed to excel in a yoga practice.”
These assumptions are common societal and individual misconceptions regarding the perceptions of yoga practice. The reality: yoga is for all bodies and open to everyone.
Why do people become interested in yoga?
Most people say, flexibility. Yoga is a practice that helps people become more flexible. Even with regular practice, some people may never get to the full extent of a pose that requires maximum flexibility. And that’s okay. Yoga isn’t a competition or a ‘one size fits all’ approach. Finding modified poses, instead of full expressions, is a great step to growing in your practice safely.
The spiritual connection is also important to people. Yoga is inclusive for people from all religious backgrounds to help guide them closer to a mind and body connection. The mind and body connection can be described as a relationship between an individual’s thoughts, attitudes, and their physical well-being. Many people experience yoga as a catalyst for their mind and body connection by supporting them to slow down and become more intuitive to their physical and mental needs.
What type of physical activity is yoga categorized as?
Yoga can vary with intensity depending on the style an individual may practice. Hatha yoga is a style that consists of holding standing or floor poses at a slower pace, and holding for five to ten breaths. It includes strengthening poses that build muscle strength. In addition, there is Vinyasa yoga which is a style that utilizes a flowing sequence of strengthening poses, only holding these poses for a short amount of time of one to three breaths. Yin yoga is a practice at a slower pace which consists of mainly floor poses, only holding poses from 2-5 minutes. Yin focuses on flexibility, relaxation and slowing down the body.
There are many other beneficial types of yoga practices, but the three described are typically the most prevalent practices. Hatha Yoga Example
A practice for ALL bodies…yes, yours!
Finally, yoga practice is intended for all bodies. There is no such thing as a particular body shape, or ‘yoga look’ that can only practice yoga. Strength, breathing exercises, mobility and body awareness are all components of yoga that can be performed by any individual interested in learning. Another cause of apprehension among people curious about trying yoga is that they need to dress or look a certain way, or purchase expensive clothing. Despite the trendy marketing of popular brands to promote leggings, extravagant sports bras, and crop tops, they are not the norm for yoga wear. The truth is, wear whatever makes you feel comfortable.
Attending a yoga class or yoga private session can be a vulnerable experience to start as newer yogi, and moving the body in clothing that feels comfortable is important for a yoga practitioner.
What’s the next step to start my yoga practice?
Still nervous about attending a yoga class for the first time? Know that we all start somewhere and when you’re ready, begin your yoga journey knowing that you are enough.