After speaking with friends and family, I realized those who have little to no experience in yoga are confused as to what yoga is and what it can do for them. Many people are actually quite hesitant to try or continue yoga for a variety of concerns that are usually nonexistent. If we try to attack and remove these misconceptions, you can find yourself enjoying all the benefits a regular yoga practice can bring you. The best part about yoga is that there are so many different kinds that can suit any or all of your needs.
What type of non-yogi are you?
The “yoga is too slow” gang
Of course! Some yoga is meant to be practiced at a slower, mindful pace. Make note of the yoga class you took and whether or not it was restorative or yin yoga. These are both meant to be done at almost a snail’s pace.
But that being said, there are also “power yoga” classes and “flow yoga” classes that move at a quick pace, link movement with breath, and flow from pose to pose without the lengthy holds.
Moksha is a great starter yoga for those who have a hard time keeping their mind still. The classes feel more like a circuit and less meditative. The “power yoga” classes come with plenty of sun salutations, core work, and require lots of “power”. I promise you will get your workout in. If you are looking for the ultimate yoga workout, “yoga sculpt” classes are practiced with handheld weights during a majority of the class.
The “I’m not flexible enough for yoga” gang
You need yoga the most!!! If you consider yourself an inflexible person, yoga could actually be providing you with the maximum amount of benefits! Are you spending your day sitting at an office desk or driving from meeting to meeting? If your workouts consist of strength training or cardio only, this can cause your muscles to tighten further.
Why is this a bad thing? With tight muscles comes a variety of issues. There will not be just one symptom, but most likely a chain reaction. Tight muscle groups lead to the opposing muscle groups overcompensating for those tight muscles. The muscle group that is going into overdrive to compensate is significantly more likely to be pulled or strained from being overworked.
For example, if you have tight iliopsoas from constantly sitting all day, your hamstrings and glutes are likely compensating, creating lower back pain and strain.
Yoga provides individuals with a balance of strength and flexibility through active stretching. But not to worry, all yoga classes will have modifications for those who cannot attain the full posture. Most instructors will have everyone start in a beginner pose and slowly work their way into the advanced-flexibility expressions. Everyone has to start somewhere! So maybe your first yoga class during the forward fold you will touch your knees, but by your twentieth or thirtieth you’ll be touching your toes! Even a little stretch for tightly wound muscle goes a long way!
The “high-stress career” gang
Unfortunately, I see this way too often in athletes who psych themselves out before games or high profile business professionals before big meetings. Their jobs are based on their ability to perform during those few minutes or hours.
Understandably, athletes may not be looking to add additional physical training to their workout regime. In addition, business professionals may not feel they have time to add a workout in to their already busy schedule. Both of these types of individuals could benefit from the slow placed, stretch based, meditative based yogas.
Taking 15 mins at the start or end of the day to meditate and reflect can work wonders. Maybe even 1 hour before a big meeting or game. Maybe using yoga breath work to activate the parasympathetic nervous system. This will signal to the body that you are not under distress and can allow you to perform to the best of your abilities.
Stress can also be held in different parts of our body and yoga is a great way to release these stressors that you may not have even known were there. Your boss and your body under stressful conditions will thank you if you incorporate a little yoga here and there!
In conclusion, if you are looking to or hesitant to trying yoga:
- determine why (too tight, too busy of a mind, etc)
- find the type of yoga that meets your needs (restorative, workout based, etc)
- give it a try!
Always remember, #yogaisforeverybody
with love, always… xo