What does it take to practice Yoga?
There is a large number of excuses or ideas one comes up with to avoid a Yoga class. “I’m not flexible enough” or “it’s for chicks” or even, “I don’t own any tights”. In this day and age we see some really awesome stuff on social media. Beautiful women wearing very little and standing in a pose where her leg is all the way up around her neck. Or a guy with rippling muscles (which you can see because obviously you have to do yoga topless,) on a tropical island. These beautiful (often sponsored by active wear brands and photo-shopped) images show how trendy one must be to practice Yoga. It’s crushing, but the reality, your tights don’t even have to sport logo on them!! Yep it’s true. Read on as Jana calls BS on Yoga stereotypes and gets real about what it takes to practice Yoga.
I have to wear the latest active wear to practice yoga.
You can wear anything you are comfortable in. The aim is to be able to move freely and not being restricted by super trendy tight compression pants or having to worry that something moves too much and uncovers too much skin. And please, I am a big supporter of shirts for men. It is always appreciated that everyone wears a top and leaves the topless or bikini look for the beach! Don’t be distracted by what you or anyone else looks like, be mindful of the postures and the flow of the class.
I have to a have a yogi body to practice.
There is no such thing as a Yogi body shape. Even though looking around instragram, it appears that one has to be skinny and ripped. Yoga is tied together with the old wisdoms of Ayurveda. Ayurveda is one of the world’s oldest healing systems and is based on the belief that health and wellness depends on the balance between mind and body. Ayurvedic/yogic principles acknowledge three “Doshas”. Doshas in Ayurveda refer to your unique physical and mental constitution, which influence your personal well-being. Each person has their own dominant dosha or combination of these elemental forces. The way our body’s differ, so do our thinking and movement patterns. Practicing Yoga helps balance these doshas. So just as we are all unique human beings, there is no Yogi ‘body shape’.
I have to flexible to join a Yoga class
“Saying you are not flexible enough to practice Yoga is like saying you are too dirty to take a bath.” Different props (bolsters, blocks, blankets and belts) will assist, so everyone has the chance to experience the poses. Don’t be afraid of using props. It is good practice to acknowledge what your body is capable of doing. Leave your ego behind and use props so you can experience the full benefits. It is not about forcing your body into postures rather being able to breathe into it.
A fancy and expensive yoga mat is the best yoga mat
There is a huge number of different mats out there, and it’s those clever marketing people’s job to make you think you need ‘THE BEST’ and ‘MUST HAVE’ of this season! Geometrical lines and circles will help your “alignment”, Sanskrit symbols will enhance your “spiritual practice” and under no circumstances must you share your mat or you will receive “someone else’s energy”… ah what?!?!
No, no and no! The thickness of the mat will influence how we feel the surface underneath us. Thicker mats will make balancing more challenging. Some mats will have more ‘grip’ but how we grip the mat is also influenced by the muscles we use, or are too lazy to use! Geometrical lines may look pretty but are certainly not necessary. Beautiful prints like the Om symbol look pretty but will not improve your practice. All of this has to come from within. Oh, and sharing mats can be unhygienic. If you practice in a gym, the mats should be cleaned after every session. If you are unsure, take a spray bottle of disinfectant and give it a quick spray and wipe. We have our own DIY disinfectant here at b3. Want to make your own too? Click here to see how Jana makes the b3 disinfectant blend.
Yoga is for women only
Yoga practice does not discriminate by gender or age. It is beneficial for everybody. If you are male, you do not have to join a specific “men’s only” class, the practice is usually suited for everyone. With specific conditions or needs, a specialized class or one on one might be advisable at first but this is not dictated by gender.
I am just not good at it
Yoga practice is nothing to be “good at”. It’s non-competitive! The ‘look’ of a posture/pose will vary from person to person. It’s more about what it feels like for you. As mentioned before, if props are needed to get into the posture safely then this will help your overall practice greatly as opposed to forcing yourself into a posture because you are trying to look like the person next to you. Always listen to the cues of the teacher and leave your ego outside the door and concentrate on yourself and not on someone else.
What if I need to fart?
Do it. Seriously. No bullshit.
That elephant in the room everyone is frightened of. If you are really worried about your windy situation, then try eating foods, which won’t make you bloated before joining a class. And if you let one slip, who cares? Don’t stress! The aim is to relax into the poses and practice, so with a body that is relaxed it can happen and trust me, no one will be laughing at you or make fun of you. The class will just go on.
So what does it take to practice?
You don’t need fancy active wear or the latest mat. Nor do you need to get “in-shape” or be flexible to start yoga. All it takes is time you dedicate to yourself. Leave your ego at the door, acknowledge your body and mind’s ability and enjoy movement for what it is.
** All active wear and props are owned by Jackie and Jana. This article is not about saying you can’t own a fancy mat, great workout wear etc to enjoy your yoga practice, but more that it is not a necessity. Enjoy your practice, your way xo
Click the video below and find out how Jana got into Yoga and her journey in discovering self and body awareness.