Over the last few years I have found that whenever I talk to someone about yoga, the usual response is "I'm not bendy enough".
Yoga isn't about being bendy; it's about understanding how your body connects with your mind.
You can walk into a yoga class and sometimes it looks as if those practicing are doing very little. What we are doing is using our breath to exercise our body which in turn focuses our mind. The power that this can give is truly immense.
When trying to "sell" yoga as a holistic practice, I start by eliminating the idea that you need a lot of time. A 15 minute session can do wonders. In an ideal world it would be fantastic if you had 2 hours to spare every day but let's be honest, life get's in the way. So, let's start with 15 minutes every other day. You will see the benefits within the first 2 weeks. You will also start to benefit from this time to focus. Focus on "You".
I also like to bring attention to the fact that yoga can be done ANYWHERE! You don't need a mat. You don't need fancy yoga clothes. You don't need lots of props. You just need "You".
For example, Do you work at a desk? Have you ever considered how you sit at your desk? Most companies have ergonomic training and provide details of how we should sit but do you take notice? Sitting with feet firmly on the ground, hips back in the chair and shoulders back with neck slightly titled forward can do wonders for your posture. Really think about your spine; what do you think it would look like if you could see it when you sit at your desk and what do you need to do to help it serve you better?
Spend a lot of time driving? Shuffle back in your chair, adjust it so your back is fairly straight and shoulders are pulled back. Imagine you have an invisible thread from the top of you head and someone is pulling it to lengthen your neck. Feel the difference in your posture. Be mindful of relaxing your buttocks and think about your shoulders and lower back as your drive. Also, relax your jaw - tension creeps into the jaw when we are behind the wheel.
Frustrated in the supermarket queue? Great place to practice your breathing exercises; breathing in for 3, hold for 3, out for 3. Stand straight (no slouching) and just be in your own little "breath bubble" until it's your turn to be served.
Have a dog? Easy one - simply clench your buttocks, thighs and tummy on an in-breath (count of 3), release on the out-breath (count of 3). Repeat during your whole dog walk - you will be shattered! If you don't have a dog, do it anyway when you go for a walk!
Favourite TV programme but back aches? Lie face down on the floor then lift your upper body up - see below. As simple as that...stay here for the duration of your programme and see how the tension leaves you. When you want to get out of the pose, take you head to the floor (using your hands on top of one another as a pillow), lift your lower legs off the floor and gently rock your legs from left to right (like windscreen wipers) then bring yourself to sitting.
Yoga and Me - why I started yoga
GP Recommendation - what led my GP to suggest yoga
Yoga and "You" - the practice I have developed for "You"