Written by Alix Rassel
Whilst attending regular yoga classes at a studio is something I would always recommend to people; sometimes that’s not always an option. Perhaps you work long hours, like I use to do, and don’t have the time to go to a class. It could be that you already are a member of a gym or other organization and don’t have the budget for regular classes. Whatever the reason maybe, it’s always a good idea to have an established home yoga practice. For me the reason is not to perfect those most complicated poses but to make your whole mind and body feel better. As my mentor, Tara Stiles said “Being good at yoga
shouldn’t be a thing. You don’t need to be good at drinking water or being kind. You get the benefits from doing it. The benefit of yoga is that you feel better and have a better connection to yourself and the world around you.”
So where to start you may ask?
I know this is sometimes difficult if you live in a cramped space, but find somewhere in your home that fits a yoga mat and is relatively quiet. You don’t need a dedicated room complete with altar and incense to start practicing.It’s ideal if your yoga mat can be next to a wall, for relaxing poses, but if you have a Yoga block or rolled up blanket, you can use that as a prop. The summer months are coming, so it’s also the perfect time to practice outside. There is nothing like the feeling of air on your skin and breathing pure oxygen in a yoga practice. In fact a lot of Yoga events suddenly ‘pop up’ around the summer, so be on the lookout for those too.
Yes, you are going to need one of these to practice on. If you are completely new to Yoga and not sure if you even like it, then I wouldn’t invest in an expensive mat to start. You can get an ‘Okay’ yoga mat in H&M for 30Euros. Just be careful of the ones made of foam because they don’t stay flat and it looks like you are trying to surf on your yoga mat! If you are ‘serious’ about Yoga then it’s good to invest in a quality mat. You can support your local yoga community by purchasing one at a studio, where the teachers will be happy to make recommendations. If you want to support a BENELUX brand, then I can recommend OH Mats based in Amsterdam, who make the most beautiful mats.
To App or not?
There are a million Yoga apps out there some specializing in certain ‘styles’ of yoga and others offering more general classes. There are also schools of Yoga, such as Ashtanga, which require you to go through the same set of poses in each class. So it depends a little bit on what you are looking for and how disciplined you are. Apps can be helpful for those who need a little motivation getting on the mat. Something like Yoga with Adrienne’s FWFG would be perfect for this. They offer monthly incentives for completing each class in a virtual online community. My sister uses this FWFG for her daily practice and swears by it.You can also purchase a book (yes they do still exist) giving you the basics of yoga philosophy as well as
an illustrated list of asana’s (postures) and instructions on how to perform them safely. I may be a yoga dinosaur but I would always suggest to people starting yoga, to learn some of the philosophy behind it.
When you live Yoga as a lifestyle, like I do, it can dramatically change your life in all sorts of positive ways
you didn’t believe possible.They is always trusty “You Tube” if necessary and I’m sure Yoga with Adrienne has a channel. This is super convenient and cheap and if you just doing yoga at home, might be the best way to start. Try a few
different teachers and then stick with one you really like.
Don’t panic if you haven’t got all the fanciest yoga props at your disposal. Items around the house will
work just as well. If the practice asks for a strap, you can use the string around your bathrobe or perhaps
something like a belt. If you get asked to use a block, then a large book can work just as well. It’s always
useful to have a blanket handy as they can become ‘makeshift’ bolsters, knee supports and most
importantly provide some coziness for your savasana (final resting pose.)
To get the best possible benefits from your yoga practice, it helps if it’s something you do regularly. The great thing with Yoga is that there is no ‘set time’ for you to practice; it could be 10 minutes in the morning or 15 minutes four times a week. It’s entirely up to you. There are some ‘schools’ of Yoga which are very rigid in their requirements for practice and you need to allow at least 90 minutes of your day. However, there is no ‘rule’ as such to say you have to practice for a certain amount of time. Find what makes you feel comfortable and works with your schedule, this will mean you’re more likely to stick with it. Regardless of what activity you are doing, practice does make a difference, but there is no perfection
in something like yoga.
In terms of what time during the day you practice yoga that is entirely up to you. If you are an early worm maybe you can get some sun salutations in before going to work? If you start work early, perhaps the evening when you get home is the best thing. When I worked in the corporate world, I would immediately put my yoga clothes on and go and practice, either in the apartment or out in a park during the summer months. It really is just a question of preference.
If Yoga ever felt like a task to me, I would have given it up years ago. Now it feels second nature, like
brushing your teeth. I’ve practiced yoga all over the world, because you can take your mat anywhere
with you and its felt great; especially when the sand is between your toes. Perhaps you try yoga and it’s
just not for you, or you have to search for the style you like the most. Whatever situation you find
yourself in, remember to have fun.
Alix is a 500HR+ registered yoga teacher and has studied under some great teachers including Doug
Swanson and Bernie Clark. You can find out more about her from her Facebook page: