Why Does Everyone Recommend Yoga?

Many clients I see tell me that they have been told numerous times to try yoga, by their friends, family, GP and I find that I am yet another person encouraging them to give it a go. So why are so many people, including health professionals prescribing yoga as a great thing to practice?

Part of being human is experiencing different thoughts and feelings, sometimes helpful and sometimes completely useless and unhelpful. Yoga can help you to calm your busy mind and regulate your emotions. Practicing yoga has been shown to alleviate feelings of stress, anxiety and depression. Additionally, there are physical benefits of yoga such as weight reduction, increased flexibility and muscle strength. If you are human being then you are likely to benefit from yoga.

Before you embark on your yoga journey and try a class, it is essential to know how to approach the physical practice of yoga. If you don’t do this then you might just give up. Often people say “I am not flexible enough to do yoga” or “I was the worst in the class” so they don’t go or avoid returning.   These statements do not actually make sense. Everyone can do yoga. Yoga is much more than a physical practice (this is just one out of 8 aspects of yoga). It is not about how bendy your body is or what your posture looks like compared with another student’s posture. With so many images of people doing physically challenging postures as the hallmark of yoga, it is easy to mistake this as the goal of the practice.  If you are considering trying yoga, it might be useful to read the below before attending a class.

 

How to approach a yoga class

  • Be compassionate towards yourself

    This means giving yourself permission to rest on your mat if you need to and telling yourself words of encouragement. If you find that you have critical thoughts about your practice (e.g. “I should be able to do this”) or comparison thoughts (“she is much better than me. I will never be like that”), acknowledge them and then let them go. Focus on your breathing and how your body feels.

  • Be honest with yourself

    If you can try something, try it. If it is not right for you, don’t do it. Each class your body may respond differently. Do what feels right for you in that moment.

  • Approach each pose as though it is the first one you have done.

    This can help you to keep going and be present rather than thinking of what has happened in the past and what else is yet to come. One posture at a time.

  • Focus on your breathing

    If you can focus on your breath, you are doing yoga.

  • Find a teacher that you like and style that suits you

    You are more likely to enjoy it if the teacher is someone you can listen to and trust and the style of yoga suits you.

  • Show up to class

    One principle in yoga is discipline. Having the discipline to go is practicing yoga. You can give yourself permission to rest at any time but you need to turn up to class first! 🙂

 

Laura Nash
Laura NashBrisbane City Psychologist
Laura is a Clinical Psychologist experienced in working with adults presenting with a range of difficulties, including adjustment to life changes, workplace issues, stress, grief and loss, anxiety, depression, communication skills, self-esteem, relationship difficulties, trauma and interpersonal problems.