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Despite its immense popularity, there are still a lot of misconceptions about yoga and those who practice it. Aiming to prove you don’t have to be in headstand every time, is yoga teacher and Sweaty Betty ambassador Charlie Morgan. Read on for her top 10 tips yogis should know, then add your downward dog safe leggings, beautiful top and get yourself to the mat, sharp.
Mind meets body
The word yoga in Sanskrit means ‘to unite’, encouraging us to maintain a strong connection between the mind and body. A good practice is about far more than physical postures. I use time on the mat as a period to focus on breathing, self-observation and discipline – this is what really differentiates it from other forms of exercise.
You don’t have to be flexible
The most common thing I hear when I ask people if they practise yoga is that they aren’t flexible enough. Though I’ve got news for you, if you struggle with flexibility, then you need to try yoga. It may be a struggle at first, but I can assure you that after no time, you’ll be amazed to see how much your body can stretch and change.
Breath is key
Believe it or not, the most important part of any yoga practice is not fancy backbends or standing on your head, it’s breathing. Conscious breathing helps to support the nervous system on a physical level, by calming the body and mind. When we’re stressed, we have a tendency to breathe more shallowly – so yoga can teach you how to calm yourself down.
One type doesn’t fit all
Make sure that you shop around and don’t judge yoga by your first class. There are so many different styles, that I strongly believe that there’s an option for everyone.
Yoga is not easy
Something I hear a lot is people saying that yoga is too slow, boring and easy. Yoga is so far from easy. In fact, it is incredibly challenging. Despite practising for years, there is still so much that I don’t know and lots of poses that I still have to grasp.
Less is more
Yoga isn’t about going at a zillion miles per second in a workout format, holding handstands for hours. Less can be so much more. After years of practicing dynamic yoga, I discovered yin when recovering from injury. Yin yoga teaches you to be calm and still, with nothing but your own thoughts. Primarily, this can be terrifying, but over time, it is such peaceful me time.
You don’t have to Om!
Don’t be scared off by chanting. I appreciate entering into a room full of omming yogis can be intimidating; just remember you don’t have to join in. Yoga is about you.
There is no shame in props
Props are there for a reason, not to be frowned upon. Use them. They make a significant difference and they, in no way, make you any less of a yogi.
Meditation is medicine
Meditation is at the forefront of yoga – the physical postures were actually designed to prepare the ancient yogis to meditate. I cannot recommend adding a short mediation to your routine enough, just sit in silence for a few minutes each day. Clinical studies have shown that those who meditate on a regular basis perform better at work and generally live more efficiently.
You don’t need a perfect body
One there is no such thing as a ‘perfect body’. Two your appearance has absolutely nothing to do with your practice. How you view your body however, has everything to do with it.
Sweaty Betty’s range of yoga clothing is designed in the best technical fabrics to perform on and off the mat, discover reversible leggings, yoga tops and must-have accessories, shop the full collection today. Find out more about Charlie Morgan here.
Blog post written by Harriet Tisdall and Charlie Morgan