photo credit: Stuart F Taylor, Illustrator & Writer, London UK
‘What is yoga?’
Such a good question! And for everyone, it’s something slightly different.
“A place to breathe, time out of a busy day, a good workout, sweaty fun, my calm and spiritual practice…”
Everyone’s got a unique interpretation of this ancient practice, and you can find just about every version imaginable of yoga these days: Traditional Yoga, Yoga for Runners, SUP (Standup Paddleboard) Yoga, Snowga, Club Yoga, Flowmotion Yoga… You name it, it’s there!
Now really is the perfect time to explore what’s on offer, and find a suitable style for you. And I’m thinking, your style just mightn’t be the same as your…
…Friend Whether she’s an Ashtangi or likes it hot – Bikram style, you and your best pal might not have the exact yoga style in common. Perhaps you could go to a few classes together, then branch out and do it solo, choosing a class that really appeals to you personally. It’ll invite great discussion topics: prop central vs mat only, what the chants actually mean and finding your unique position on vegetarianism in yoga. Plus, who knows – you might meet some new yoga buds in that Antigravity Yoga class you’ve always wanted to try!
…Teacher Teacher’s word is gospel, right? Well, not always. Instructions and teachings are there to guide you, keep you safe and offer you a point of reference along the yoga journey, but there will be times you disagree with what your teacher is saying. Maybe their interpretation of the yamas and niyamas is a bit old school for you, you would prefer silence in the class instead of ‘atmospheric’ hippy music or perhaps you just don’t think your back will arch any more once letting go of limiting beliefs! You never know, your teacher might actually want you to question their position on things, stimulating interesting conversation.
…Inspirer How wonderful is it when you find someone you really resonate with? Their personality shines, and offering suits you down to a tee. With this Yogi, you wait on their every word and asana, wanting to shout “yes” to the rooftops each time they speak! Amazing – but it’s also important not to get too carried away with seeing their brilliance that it casts a shadow over yours. Find time to tap into your own strength and energy, allowing space for your unique voice and yoga to emerge. Inspire you, yes. Replace you and your yoga, no.
…Former Self There’ll be changes along the yoga journey. What you’re drawn to today might not resemble the same as it did 5 or 10 years ago. A daily practice may have become more now and again, or even time out to gain a new perspective. Notice if you’re keen for a strong or gentle practice, morning or evening. Staying open is key, and being able to go with the flow – especially if things seem a little stagnant or same-old.
Let time and exploration lead you to your style, or many! Whether you choose to Om, eat vegan or opt for a more restorative practice… put your own flavour on yoga, so that it brings you, as an individual, alive, more peace, balance…. whatever you’re looking for in yoga, I guess.