Ever had someone try to turn you onto yoga, but you felt no interest? Or perhaps you frowned in recollection upon that one time that you gave it a shot, and were too turned off by the quick movements of a Vinyasa flow class. Granted, if you haven’t tried yoga before, and if you aren’t physically active already, then an hour of sun salutations might appear to be challenging, frustrating, and possibly discouraging. But what you might not be aware of is that there’s multiple permutations of yoga styles, and quite a few classes in the city that offer a slow, gentle introduction to the practice, like Restorative Yoga and Yin Yoga.
Many normal aches and pains come from wear and tear, the passing of time. Setting aside at least an hour a week for stretching can do remarkable things for your body, from increasing blood flow to overall energy. Perhaps what you need to break down your fear and/or misunderstanding of yoga is to just stretch it out with long, drawn-out hip-openers rather than down dog, plank, cobra, cow, repeat, ad infinitum.
And another thing you should be reminded of, before entering a class that might be too rigorous at the beginning? Breathe. As Anna Nalick says (or sings)…”no one can find the rewind button, so cradle your head in your hands and breathe…just breathe”. Perhaps though your hands will be stretched out in front of you, your cheek gently resting on a yoga mat or bolster as you just breathe. And breathe deep and constant.
I’ve probably been a shallow breather all my life, reserving deep breaths for trips to the doctor’s office for that moment when they put the stethoscope on your chest to get a reading of your lung capacity. Of course we all know that breathing is a fundamental to living, but it is incredibly easy to skimp on the quality of your breath. Yoga really serves as a helpful avenue to advocate for healthy, deep breathing. With the combination of giving your body much-needed stretches and breaths rich with depth, you’ll begin to feel completely different, and perhaps, more willing in time to give yoga a better chance. Just remember, whether it’s for you or your friend, start with the basics, at your own pace and flow.