Hey everyone. Since we’re finishing up our Seven Days Of Yoga Challenge, I thought it would be fun to have a yoga themed guest post. Of course the first person I thought of was H-Woman, who just recently received her certification as a Yoga Instructor! H has been blogging since 2008 about yoga, running, travel, her furbabes and more. Be sure to stop by her blog, H-Woman’s Random Rambling, and say hello.
Take it away, H-Woman!
I’m totally honoured that Lynn asked me to do a guest post—I’ve never done one before! So, here goes!
1. How long have you been practicing yoga? How did you start?
The first yoga class I ever attended was at the women’s only gym I joined with my roommate, Val. The year was 1995-ish. The teacher was incredible. She was in her late 50’s, I think, and her presence filled the room. Her posture was incredible and she was strong without being overly muscled. I was intrigued….Then I moved around a bit and found myself wanting to know more about yoga (I was living in Prince Rupert, BC and there weren’t many options for yoga). So I bought a book by Rodney Yee. I still refer to it.
I dabbled here and there for awhile and I discovered my teacher, Kate Potter (katepotteryoga.ca). She is responsible for Namaste Yoga as seen on tv. I dabbled some more. After my dad died, I discovered my yoga mat again. I practiced daily and the asana practice steadied my mind so that I could deal with the stress of life off of the mat. I attended yoga retreats with Kate and discovered a great community of yogis in my own city. I had practiced yoga for over 10 years before I ever set foot in a yoga studio.
Long story short, I wanted to deepen my personal practice and share yoga with others, so in February I started my yoga teacher training. My teacher, Nora (yogaandwellness.ca), is the only Anusara teacher in Alberta. I’m so thankful that the organizational gods conspired to make my training a reality. In June, I got my certificate, so I’m now officially able to teach others!
2. I’m not bendy/flexible at all. I can’t do yoga, right?
The non-bendy, non-flexible (as well as bendy and flexible) are able to do yoga. The beauty of being non-bendy is that your body will tell you when to stop. Very flexible people often don’t feel the same things and have to work doubly hard to protect their joints and muscles. But ANYONE can (and everyone should) do yoga!
3. How do I know what kind of yoga is for me?
You need to experiment here. You need to find what resonates with you. There are lots of styles of yoga and they all have their merit, but you need to explore for yourself. I can tell you what I like, but you might like something very different.
Most studios offer a first week special. Take advantage of it! My caveat though—go to classes taught by different people, different classes (if possible) and at different times. That way you’ll get to experience how every class is different and you’ll see what you like and what you don’t. You’ll also see how a morning practice feels versus an evening or afternoon practice.
I would definitely encourage you to learn the poses with a teacher, though. Proper alignment is critical to prevent injury. I could go on and on about the different styles, but that’s another post in itself!
4. What is it about yoga that keeps you coming back to your mat?
The number one reason: it’s the only place where I feel graceful, peaceful and grounded. All at once. Obviously, Nerm feels the same way!
H-woman’s Top 3 Yoga Tips
1. Honour your body.
What you were able to do yesterday may not be possible today. Respect what your body is telling you. Words of wisdom from my teacher Vishvketu (http://www.worldyogafamily.com/teachers.htm#1): Yoga is a work-IN, not a work-OUT. From Nora: If you’re really doing yoga, you won’t hurt yourself. (You need to be present in every moment, every breath, every pose, not thinking about your to-do list!)
2. It’s called a practice for a reason.
But you knew that, right? How are you feeling after practicing daily for five days? =)
3. Your breath is the most important thing.
Sit on your mat. Place your right hand on your belly. Place your left hand on top of your right. Sit tall. Close your eyes. Bring the head of your arm bones up and back, so that your shoulder blades cup the back of your heart. Breathe in deeply through your nose, into your belly. You should feel your hands being pushed out by your belly. Pause at the top of your breath. Exhale, slowly through your nose, feeling your belly draw in. Pause here, in that space between the exhale and the inhale. Repeat. This is yoga.
Thanks again to H-Woman for doing just a great job on this post!! If anyone has any questions, please feel free to leave a comment or visit her blog – http://h-woman.blogspot.com.