What is yoga?
If you look up the word yoga you will find the following definition - a Hindu spiritual and ascetic discipline, a part of which, including breath control, simple meditation, and the adoption of specific bodily postures, is widely practised for health and relaxation. In ancient Sanskrit, yoga originates from the word YUJ, which means "to join". The union of the parts within ourselves, a union between individuals and the universe and with other people.
Put simply though I believe yoga is what you want it to be. Some people use it as a stretch workout, others a spiritual class and for some, it's a dedicated hour to get away from the pressures of modern day life.
I hear people often say that yoga isn’t for them when actually, yoga is for everyone! From young to old, the less flexible to the fully flexible or the graceful to the, shall we say, slightly uncoordinated. There's a style to suit everyone. Many gyms are offering Hatha, Iyengar, rocket, anti-gravity and Ashtanga plus many more styles in between and there are many studios opening that focus purely on yoga.
With so many of us running from one thing to another, work deadlines to meet, social engagements to fulfil and the constant pressures of social media creating FOMO (fear of missing out), I truly believe that yoga gives you the opportunity to take time out and just relax and breathe.
5 tips for those starting out in yoga:
1. Don’t be scared! Yoga is for everyone and actively promotes inclusivity. You will find all abilities in the same class so don’t be intimidated if you’re a beginner.
2. Walk don’t run! Yoga is a personal journey and you should never feel pressured to going beyond what your body is capable of. This can change week to week as well, so remember to always listen to your body.
3. You’ll hear a lot of talk about matching breathing to movement and it really is key. Try not to overthink and let go. Breath is just as important as the physical poses.
4. Dress loosely. Yoga is deceptively physical. Wear comfortable clothing that allows your body to breathe and helps you reach those poses.
5. Switch off. Never skip the meditation at the end, it's part of the class and ideal for allowing your body to adapt to the challenges you’ve put it through and helps your mind to organise your thoughts.
|Della Bhujoo is an experienced yoga and Zumba instructor based in South West London.
If you're interested in starting yoga, Della will be able to help you find your nearest class.
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