YOGA 101 - Myths & Essentials

Yoga

I spoke with our resident yogi, Laurette Wilvers as we prepared to launch the yoga workshops at Illuminate. After our conversation, it prompted to me to go in search of some of the top myths about yoga, and what is REALLY needed to get started in this mindful practice. 

MYTH 1: YOU HAVE TO BE FLEXIBLE TO DO YOGA

This is simply not true. Comparable to saying that you have to be fit to go to the gym, or be clean to take a shower. There is definitely a relationship between flexibility and yoga but it is not a pre-requisite. Yoga helps us to become flexible, it is a practice. 

Conclusion: Flexibility is a result of yoga, not a pre-requisite.

MYTH 2: YOGA IS ONLY ABOUT STRETCHING

Although many of the asanas (poses) that a typical yoga class takes you through look and feel alot like stretching, yoga is so much more than the physical element of pose.

Yoga is about connection to self through breath. It is about moving your body, connecting with your breath and bringing into your awareness, the present moment. The 'goal' is to release excess energy so that you can sit and meditate, classically speaking.

Practicing yoga isn't just about what happens for the sixty minutes that you areon your mat, it's about what you take from that session to carry with you throughout the rest of your day. 

Conclusion: Yoga is a gateway to heightened awareness.

MYTH 3: YOGA IS TOO HARD

Another big myth that is often heard is that yoga is too hard, or more specifically, "beyond my capability." 

Many people are scared to step out of their comfort zones to try something new. They may be afraid they can't do the poses or that they won't be able to follow along. 

Some of the greatest lessons that can be learned through yoga are to listen to your body, progress at your own pace, and to let go of judgment and criticism, both of yourself and others. Plus, there are a variety of positions and modifications for poses that allow for individual differences and ability levels. 

Conclusion: Yoga is only as hard as your perceive it to be.

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So now that we have de-bunked some of the top myths, let's look at 3 essentials to starting a yoga practice - and it's not a fancy bag or highly fashionable tank top and leggings....

ESSENTIAL 1: A QUALITY YOGA MAT

All too often people starting out aren't willing to invest in a good quality yoga mat for fear that they won't continue the practice. But the truth is, the mat may be the very reason people don't return. As Laurette shared with me, "Your mat can very likely be the deciding factor between liking yoga, loving yoga, or throwing the practice to the birds."

ESSENTIAL 2: TAKING THE FIRST STEP

Procrastination is not forward movement, and when we don't move forward, we become stagnant and squeeze off the natural flow of growth & evolution. Just making the conscious choice to show up for a class is movement towards growth. And growth will always lead to new discoveries as we stretch out of our comfort zones and into self awareness.

Even if you attend a class, and feel it is not right for you, I can almost guarantee that it will not be time lost. There is always something to learn about yourself, people to connect with and the opportunity for self-realization in every class.

ESSENTIAL 3: INTENTION

Our thoughts are very powerful! If you attend a yoga class thinking that it is going to be hard, or that you are not experienced enough to do it, or that it's just a fad, that is exactly what you are going to get from it.

Shift your thoughts into believing that there will be something for you in every class. Even if it is just self-discipline to attend. Remember yoga is a practice not a perfection; and in practice we progress; and in progress we grow.

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So there you have it! Illuminate offers yoga classes for every level of practitioner. From beginner to seasoned and everyone in between. You can check out our class schedule here.

If you have never tried yoga, or have been thinking about getting back on the mat, I strongly encourage you join a class. Not only will you be giving yourself the opportunity to release stress and excess energy, you will also be surrounding yourself with like minds as you connect into, balance and align with body, mind and spirit.


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