Is yoga for everybody?

 

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Back in the day, way way back in the day, yoga was only for a few, and only for men. It was a sacred practice and mostly practiced in complete solitude & isolation.

Times have changed. Yoga is now a common good and belongs to everyone and anyone. Yoga nowadays comes in so many forms and styles that almost everyone will be able to find a style that suits their personal needs.

And even though not every yogi will agree with me that it’s OK to adapt this ‘sacred practice’, I believe that it is amazing that we can bring yoga to everyone. We are in it together! In one way or another.

One of the main reasons why I love to teach BoxingYoga is because I am able to bring yoga into a group for whom stretching is far from the list of priorities, even though all fighters know they have to. Coming to a yoga school is intimidating, because they feel they are too bulky, not flexible enough or are turned off by the ‘wishy washy’ music / talk.

The great thing with all these different styles is that eventually we all work towards the same goals. Ultimate bliss, a connection with the Self and less suffering in our lives. So does it really matter how you get there? Does it matter if you are able to connect with the Self via a sweaty class or one where you are chanting? Does it matter if you start with philosophy or if that might become part of your practice later? As long as we are able to create a steady and stable breath, a calm heartbeat and a quiet mind, we are working towards our own liberation.

Some days I love a strong intense work-out, other days my body is craving something slower, something to restore. Some days I want a straightforward physical class, on other days I’m looking for deeper meaning and philosophy. Our bodies and needs are not the same, every day is different, every time when we step onto the mat is different. As long as we can understand that, all that we need to do, and all that is asked, is to show up, do the work and be honest to yourself about what you can and cannot do.

Enjoy your practice! Because YES, yoga is for you and for everyone!

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5 steps to find your yoga style

Yoga has become more commonly accepted, but some misconceptions still cause some people to reject it. In this blog I will try to clear up these misconceptions!

People often cite these two reasons for why yoga isn’t their thing:

  1. I am too stiff
  2. I am not the type of person that likes to sit around and do ‘zen things’. I don’t know how to find the peace in my body.

Both of them are misconceptions about yoga. The first one I already thoroughly discussed. The second one is linked to a very important choice in yoga: your teacher and the style of yoga.

Yoga is a collector name for many different approaches to how to connect your mind, body and spirit. In the past decades many different styles have been developed. Some became more popular and others are more low key and unknown. Finding the style that fits you is essential to your enjoyment of yoga.

The common ones you will come across often are Hatha Yoga, Bikram Yoga, Iyengar yoga, Asthanga Yoga, Vinyasa Yoga, Kundalini Yoga and Yin Yoga. If you want to know more about the different styles, there is a perfect description of them on this website.

So how to pick your style, school and teacher? I see 5 steps to find your style:

  1. First think why you want to do yoga, or why you are doing yoga. What is it you want to achieve with it? This will help you to eliminate a few styles.
  2. How do you want to practice? Big group? Smaller group? Private? This will help you find a school and / or teacher.
  3. Ask your friends who practice what style they do, which school and teacher they go to. Let them explain why they like it.
  4. Make a selection of 5 schools and teachers and go there to try out different styles, teacher and schools. Where do you feel most comfortable? Where can you find what you want to reach in yoga?
  5. Start your practice as many times per week or month as you want. Find the right pace to ensure you enjoy your yoga and get the most out of it.

It sounds like a logical process but often people get stuck with one teacher and style because it is taught at your gym or work. I know many people that quit their classes, because they weren’t sure it was what they wanted. My belief is that you just haven’t found your style or teacher yet! Keep on looking, because you will feel it when you have found it.