In celebration of the recent International Day of Yoga, we wanted to spread the love for the practice by dishing out advice on how to begin your personal exploration. So we asked a professional for their inside information. Meet Tabitha, an India-certified yoga teacher from beautiful islands of the Philippines to help you start your yoga journey.
Yoga provides several science-backed benefits such as relieving stress, anxiety, reduces inflammation and chronic pain, could improve heart health, flexibility, balance, and increased sex drive.
Tabitha is a passionate travel photographer, yoga teacher, and surfer who loves working her way around this Earth helping to inspire and teach others.
Her love for Yoga took her on a 2-month journey in the Yoga Capital of the World, Rishikesh, India, where she studied under great gurus and teachers to become a certified yoga instructor. Now she’s motivated more than ever to teach the truest essence of yoga through its physical and spiritual practices.
She’s here to help you feel more at ease, in tune, and more mindful before you even take out your mat and say your first “Namaste.” Read on and be enthralled by her beautiful words and experienced suggestions.
Looking at all the perfect and symmetrical yoga photos on Instagram can be quite daunting. We rarely see that transitional period of failing and falling to get the pose, because who wants to see that?
One of the biggest false beliefs about yoga is that you have to be flexible. But one of my teachers from India said something that really stuck with me. He said, “Do you really think you need to be flexible to practice yoga? You only need to be flexible in your mind”.
That made a lot of sense. After all, everything starts from the mind. From limiting beliefs to getting over that resistance to just start.
Here are some ways to start and grow your practice.
1. Know your intentions.
The first thing you should ask yourself is, “Why do I want to do yoga?”. Is it to gain more flexibility? To have more strength? To be more in tune with the body? Whatever your reasons are, you need to be true to it. This will be your motivation in continuing your practice and growing as a yogi.
2. Honour your body’s limitations.
It’s great to be inspired by these beautiful shapes our bodies can make. But if there’s one yoga principle that you need to remember, it is a term in Sanskrit called “Ahimsa”, which means non-violence towards other beings and yourself. It’s so easy for us to not cause harm to those around us, but we also need to remember to respect our body’s limits and know that everything is a process. I always tell my students to know the difference between discomfort and pain and to go two steps back when you feel like you’re going to hurt yourself getting into the pose.
3. Remember, it is not about the final pose.
I wish I had learned this earlier in my practice; it would have saved me several backaches and joint pains from trying so hard to get to the final pose. The practice of yoga asana doesn’t focus on getting to that backbend or handstand, it’s about being stable and at ease with where you are at this very moment. It is scanning your body for tension and using your breath to ease it while being completely and totally present in the pose. It’s the very experience you are having and not the shape that you’re taking.
4. Find a location that feels good for YOU.
There are no rules where you should practice. I personally started my practice with YouTube videos. I stuck with two teachers that I felt connected to and grew my practice with them until I thought I was ready to get deeper into the philosophy and principles of Yoga.
Try different studios and teachers in your area. You will learn that they all have different styles of teaching, and it’s just a matter of how you feel after the class. Do you feel energized? Relaxed? What feeling are you looking for after a class?
5. Use props.
Props were created for the purpose of helping you get into a pose without hurting yourself. It aids in making you understand how a pose is really supposed to feel with full support and safety. Trust me when I say that even teachers use belts and blocks during their practice because they understand its benefits. Set the ego aside, treat your body with respect, and use those props!
Always remember that Yoga is a personal journey. When you start to realize the benefits of the practice not only on your body but also on your mind, it will become more of a lifestyle rather than just another fitness routine.
If you want to know more about Tabitha or are looking for a safe community/space that is nurturing and aims to help people become the best versions of themselves through different methods including meditations, yoga asanas, retreats, etc., check out @herawakening on Instagram or go to https://www.herawakening.com/
Which yoga style are you going to try first? Remember these tips as you walk into your first practice with an open heart and mind.
Namaste, lovelies, and make every day Yoga Day.
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