I am not an exercise lover. Sure, I love the way it makes me feel after, but getting over that initial ‘urghhh I don’t wanna’ voice in my head is hard. If I could, I would laze in bed all day every day watching Grey’s Anatomy, reading magazines and eating all the chocolate. But apparently that is frowned upon…
So instead, I do my best to exercise. Keeping a routine is tough at times, but the one practice I always come back to is yoga.
To me, yoga has it all. Depending on the style or class, it can strengthen and tone, it can stretch and relax and it can certainly get that heart rate up.
Mentally and emotionally, it gives me space.
When I practice yoga, I am totally there, in the moment. I’m thinking about my breath and the way my body is moving. After, I feel like I’ve had a massage. All buzzy and floaty. I feel calmer, less anxious and like a weight has been lifted.
I use it after work as a gateway to relaxation. A little yoga, a hot shower and I’m there. Interested in giving it a go yourself? Read on.
Photos by John Gent.
How to start a yoga practice
- Find a local class – If you’ve never tried yoga before I would recommend going to an in-person class so you can be guided by a professional.
- Try different styles – There are lots of different styles, so don’t be put off if you don’t like the first class, you may just need to try another style. I like Hatha, Vinyasa and Yin myself.
- Stop comparing yourself – Yoga isn’t about being perfect at the poses or looking like those ‘wellness’ instagrammers defying gravity. It’s about being in the moment and finding space within the pose.
- Take your practice home – Once you feel comfortable doing yoga in class, take your practice home. I like to follow online classes on Ekhart yoga, but there are plenty of free apps available.
- Make it enjoyable – Light a candle. Turn the lights down. Burn some incense. Make your yoga practice an enjoyable venture and don’t push yourself too far.
- Free-wheel it – Don’t feel confined by following an app or online class. Your body often knows better in regards to what it needs, listen to it.
Improving self-awareness is something I feel strongly about, and yoga helps me with that. Need some inspiration? Follow my lovely friend and yoga teacher, Zoe (Lavender Yoga) on Instagram!