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One thing that keeps me ‘buzzing’ about the practice of yoga is attempting and mastering new asanas.

I am walking a bit taller this week, not only because I am creating space between my discs with a regular practice but the satisfaction and achievement of another elusive asana that was, at one time, in the too difficult to do box…

The thing is, I haven’t even been attempting Firefly after the first few dismal attempts. Once you’ve lost balance and unceremoniously rolled backwards for the fifth time, you realise your body is trying to communicate to your brain. Park that then.

And this is the fascinating thing with asana practice. By it’s very nature it is a holistic practice, not just focussing on one body area or a particular attribute, but every connecting tissue, joint, nerve, organ, muscle, fascia and on and on..

When we engage in an asana practice, we work within our limitations, maybe playing the edge a little and exploring the body. If we follow a balanced class and are mindful of pose and counter pose the physical form will naturally acclimatise over time.

The asanas are complimentary, my failure at Firefly initially was mainly down to a lack of strength in the arms and core and tight hamstrings through running and biking, recognition that this just won’t happen with the body I had was a good thing. We have to be honest with ourselves, however progression through other, more accessible asanas, have released some of the tightness and built the strength to a point that this elusive asana is now accessible with the body I now have.

I may not be the serene yogi when into the pose, every sinew is screaming and the breath is certainly not relaxed, we are still work in progress, but it is nonetheless another small goal accomplished.

And this is the point, I believe that we should set ourselves challenges, goals, to strive for, continuous improvement as they say, on and off the mat.

Whether you are just starting out with yoga, or are a seasoned yogi, we are all improving and continue to do so, which is a great comfort and immensely satisfying.

This attitude permeates into our lives, building confidence and making us feel good about ourselves. Who’d have thought a humble firefly could have such an impact….

Now for koundinyanasana……


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If you have decided to try some yoga and have located a class or two to try out that’s great, but what can you expect, are you apprehensive, not sure what you are letting yourself in for? All normal emotions which we all go through, the hardest part I tell my students is getting leaving the house.

The first yoga class is a time of discovery. You'll discover that not every yoga practitioner is a highly committed, eco-conscious vegetarian or that the media representation of this wonderful activity is just not so. You’ll also work out, fairly quickly that the teacher is genuinely interested in you and will go out of their way to make sure you are comfortable through the class.

Yogis, (and you’re one now), are a friendly bunch and come in all shapes and sizes, it is truly a diverse group. The dynamics of each yoga class and each studio vary but all should be welcoming and inclusive, especially nonjudgmental. Everyone in the class is an equal in the eyes of the teacher so stop worrying about your lack of knowledge or inability to touch your toes, it simply doesn't matter.

The teacher will probably point out that this is your class and they are there to facilitate, you go at your own pace and within your capabilities, moving with ‘the body you have today.’

You will be grounded into the practice, bringing your attention inwards and you start to really work with the breath and body, letting the thoughts and issues you have been carrying all day drift away. A gentle warm up of the muscles from the outside in and then building up warmth in the body to help move fluidly from one posture to the next, truly magical.

Yoga is an individual practice and everyone is different and at a different part of their learning. Even yoga teachers aren't perfect at every pose. We all have our physical limitations and part of yoga is learning to respect our body, be kind to it and don't push it further than it wants to go. The body will open into poses when it is ready, so be patient during the early stages of your practice.

There will be some breath practice which is fundamental to yoga and the teacher will explain and clarify the steps, and we end up in relaxation, where our bodies achieve a state of total release and our minds are calm.

On a practical note, what do you take to a class? Comfortable loose clothing, some water is a good idea, you may wish to take a small towel and if hygiene concerns you, your own mat and some warmer clothes for relaxation.

It’s not essential to buy your own mat for the first class, most teachers will have a supply of decent mats; this decision comes down to personal preference. Some classes may not disinfect and update their mats as regularly as perhaps they should and practicing on a stale smelling mat is not the most pleasant experience. On an environmental note, if this is your first ever experience of yoga it is probably best not to buy your own mat until you know that the practice is for you.

The content of your class will vary depending on the style your chosen studio follows. Generally speaking though, beginners' classes focus on the postures or ‘asana’ and tend not to include any advanced breathing techniques or chanting.

If you approach your first class with an open mind, a spirit of adventure and an understanding that yoga is not a competitive sport then you will be fine. Congratulations on embarking on the first stage of your yoga journey, and enjoy!

If there are any lingering doubts, please drop me a line and I will do my best put your mind at rest.

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Let me have your captions by signing up or sending an email, I will add all the clean ones to the site. Best one selected by the judges (that'll be me) will get a Yogamatters sticky yoga mat. 👍

Competition to run until 15 Nov.

I'll kick off with;

"Richard had a habit of leaving the class in Warrior 2 for a bit too long....."

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