Yoga is a wonderful way to not only feel better about your body, but it is a wonderful way to get in touch with all aspects of your being.
Unfortunately, many are intimidated about beginning a yoga practice, perhaps because of the way that yoga is portrayed in popular culture: perfectly fit yogis doing perfect poses.
If there’s one thing I’ve personally learned through my nine years of practising is that yoga is always about personal progress, never about perfection.
In order to attempt to break some of the common misconceptions about yoga, I’ve turned to one of my instructors: London-based Tara Fletcher to share five things she’s learned through yoga that I believe everyone should know:
On having an ‘essential’ yoga mindset:
(There is) no essential yoga mindset, just bring yourself and an intention.
On the relevance of yoga to the many:
I think in the world that we live in today people are looking for a way back to nature, to start listening to our bodies, relaxing the mind and trying to focus on the important things in life, family, community, nature, love, happiness,
Yoga allows you to clear your mind and just be at one with your body and your breath, it reminds you to be present to focus on the here and now, not what has happened in the past or what may happen in the future, you learn to breathe and enjoy the moment that you are in.
On the benefits of a consistent yoga practise:
I am stronger, emotionally and physically, I am more grounded, emotionally stable. I am happier and healthier, fitter and I make decisions based on my wellbeing most of the time. When you contract and stretch muscles, move organs around, and come in and out of yoga postures, you increase the drainage of lymph (a fluid rich in immune cells). This helps the lymphatic system fight infection, destroy cancerous cells, and dispose of the toxic waste products of cellular functioning.
On the impact of yoga on students:
Yoga has a different impact on different people. I have seen people build in confidence, improve illnesses such as depression, asthma, lose weight, increase their strength and flexibility. It can open people up emotionally and give people a sense of wellbeing and self-worth. Yoga is a lifestyle not just an exercise and it does change people physically and emotionally for the better.
On her favourite aspects of yoga:
The learning and progression never stops and sometime things just come to you – you could have been trying hard for years to get into a posture and one day you try and all of a sudden you can do it…it just happens.
You are working through something off of your mat and the principle and insight brings you the strength or inspiration you need to get you through it. Its an amazing feeling of awareness and achievement.
However, once this has been achieved there is always more to learn or something else to work on… it teaches you compassion, grace, lightness. One of the best thing is you can practise for any length of time anywhere with no need for any equipment but yourself and your breath and you can use the principles and tools in your everyday life.
About our contributor, Tara Fletcher:
So I am a Londoner, a cockney (so born within the sound of Bow Bells in the city) I am lucky enough to have travelled a lot although I always come home; there is something special about London. I lived in NYC for a while too which is where I first came into contact with Yoga – it was a combination of yoga and tai chi and was physically very challenging but also pretty spiritual, I enjoyed it immensely and that is where I found yoga 15 years ago.
Yoga has been an amazingly positive influence in my life. I had thought about teaching for some time and only qualified in November 2013. I love teaching as much as I love practising…feeling the energy of the class and seeing the difference in the faces of your students when they come out of Savasana is a privilege.
A special thank you to our contributor: Tara Fletcher. You can find her teaching around London at Energybase, Younique, Blue Cow Yoga, Lite-Up Studio and various other places.
Image Source: Tara Fletcher