Everywhere you look there seems to be Yoga of some description and it's so amazing that this wonderful practice is spreading and people are finding their groove. New styles are cropping up like mushrooms; from Meowga (yoga with cats) or SUP yoga, suspended in Aeriel silks or completely naked, there seem to be a yoga to suit any and everyone. GREAT. But it can leave you a little lost when it comes to the most important practice of all... the one you do daily.
So if you're putting off a daily yoga practice because you keep telling yourself you haven't the time or you don't have any DVDs to follow, or even have a proper mat ....STOP and read this. Tonic yoga teacher Pip debunks those misconceptions and proves how little you need to get started and let the yoga flow IN.
Five things you think you need for a home yoga practice ..but really don't! :
1. A yoga mat..
With the recent boom in the yoga industry the price of mats have boomed too! With the latest non-slip material, alignment mapped out, added chakra designs and even a smart yoga mat that you use with an iPad it's easy to think this is what's going to take your practice to the next level. However, for purists such as Ashtanga yoga teacher Brian Cooper author of the art of adjusting it's all about ditching that sticky mat. He claims by being stuck to your mat you are not using the necessary muscles needed in many asanas especially your downward dog by having all the work of not slipping being done by the mat. He advocates a smooth wooden floor as the best surface. So save your money if you've got a yoga ready floor and give it a try, or invest in a traditional woven Mysore rug if you have carpet.
2. Fancy yoga clothes..
There's no doubt that wearing the latest £80 reversible leggings may make you feel ready for action (and hopefully they'll last a lifetime at that price), but at home it's just you and your practice. As yoga is best practiced first thing in the morning does it really matter if your still in your PJ's, your underwear or dare I say nothing at all? What's important is that you get breathing, feel comfortable and unrestricted and the skin can breath as freely as you.
3. Calming zen music..
A misconception of yoga is the assumption that you need to have a bland relaxing soundtrack. You can do yoga to whatever soothes your mind and helps you go into a relaxed mental state. You're at home so create your own studio soundtrack and make your own playlist. You can focus on the breath and get your flow Marvin Gaye, Adele or Foo Fighters, or simply nothing at all..experiment with sound and you may be surprised.
4. Lengthy advanced instructional DVDs..
There are many incredible teachers out there who know their s*** and have provided some fantastic resources and no-one is saying that having a dvd to show you the ropes isn't helpful ...however they can also be distracting and potentially hazardous. If you find you're spending more time craning your neck to look at the screen attempting an advanced posture that really you're not ready for, or you fast forward through 75% of it - it's time to book a private one to one yoga session.
A private lesson with a yoga teacher in your home can set you up for a manageable realistic home practice. Explain to the teacher how much time you can dedicate to your practice, what you want to focus on such as stiff hips or tight shoulders and any past injuries or surgeries. The teacher can with you show you some key sequences to practice and can even help suggest the best room or area to do this at home. Any money you spend on this you will reap back in your practice a million-fold!
5. Hours of spare time...
One of my key pointers I tell every student is a daily 10 minutes is a yoga practice. You do not need to spend 2 hours sweating it out every-damn-day. You can, if you're lucky enough to have the time but getting out of bed, putting the kettle on and doing a couple of sun salutations with 5 minutes of mindful breathing in your pyjamas before breakfast is a worthwhile yoga practice. More than that, it is a valid and important one that your body will thank you for. This may grow into longer sessions at weekends as your body adjusts and eases into this new routine- that you will discover is as necessary for your health as brushing your teeth every morning!