My yoga mat is like a best friend to me. It was a gift from my son and is a beloved treasure. My dear friend has endured countless hours of asanas (poses), allowing me to release blocked energy in my limbs. Even more time has been shared between us in quiet meditation, cleansing my mind, and nourishing my soul.
Often, I hear people say they cannot do yoga because they are not flexible or they feel intimidated. My reply is always, “Yes, you can do yoga”! Like many things, there is no-one-size-fits-all when it comes to developing a practice.
There are styles of yoga based on age, health, and interest. Children’s yoga is quite different from adult yoga, hot yoga heats up a room and generally uses flow movement, restorative yoga often incorporates props to support and restore the body, while meditation allows one to sit quietly focusing on breath and releasing the mind. These are just a few of the various types of classes one can participate; there is a style for everyone.
I generally advise individuals to start with a beginner’s class and then pick 4-6 asanas they enjoy and that feel good, allowing the body to release where it is most needed. Yoga is not about stretching; it is about releasing. Once you know what is best for you, practice your asanas until you perfect them, allowing your body to glide through each movement, feeling the release.
Classes often come to a quiet end with meditation, allowing the mind to release after the body has moved through that which it needs. Meditation can be practiced at any time. I meditate each morning before my day unfolds, setting an intention for the day ahead of me. Do not worry if you feel you cannot meditate because your mind keeps creating a to-do list or stories keep popping into your thoughts. It takes practice to allow the mind to release and the breath to guide you. Be patient with yourself.
I promise, your mat will become a cherished friend that you cannot wait to greet with a smiling heart.