Don’t be put off by ‘bad’ yoga!

2013November22_YogaGeneral_BMention the word ‘yoga’ to some people and they wrinkle their nose up at a memory of when they’ve tried a class before and come out either not enjoying it or feeling that they simply can’t do it. While yoga attracts millions of fans around the world, there are many who have experienced an unpleasant yoga class in the past and have been put off ever since. However, this could be a case of yoga classes that aren’t taught well. Not all yoga is the same and many women who join Kaia classes are either first-timers or those who have decided to give yoga another go and have found that they love it.

Few people or industry professionals would argue with the merits of yoga. It’s a holistic practice that can benefit the mind, body and wellbeing. It strengthens your core, makes you feel good and is great for improving flexibility, mobility, and stability. If you’ve not been too keen in the past then perhaps you recognize some of these ‘bad’ yoga signs. If so, then maybe it’s time to try again.

  • Cliquey: The essence of yoga is about creating an open, loving and non-judgemental environment. There’s no room for pegging order, cliques and unfriendliness. Any sense of this atmosphere will definitely have a negative impact not only on class dynamics but on individual practice too.

  • Religious: In many respects yoga is a philosophy. It teaches not just exercise but a way of life and an approach to living. Mindfulness and meditation are about opening up and learning about yourself, and this can include a spiritual development of the self. However, yoga is not about any one religion and classes shouldn’t be forcing a religious doctrine or preaching in any way.

  • Pressured: While yoga can really transform you physically you shouldn’t feel pressured if you cannot get into a certain position or posture. It’s not always a matter of fitness but of inherent strengths and weaknesses. You don’t have to bend yourself into the shape of a pretzel and nobody should be making you feel a failure if you don’t.

  • Chaotic: There may be a view of yoga as being a freestyle exercise but in reality this is not that accurate. Classes that are not supervised and guided properly leave students not feeling the full benefits or not knowing what to do and feeling stupid. This is a surefire way for injuries to happen too. Yoga is about freedom but it’s not about chaos.

  • Exhausting: If you don’t leave a yoga class walking tall with a spring in your step then something is not right. Yoga is the classic feel-good exercise and feeling dizzy, worn out and even nauseous are not good signs. If this has ever happened then it may be that the level of class wasn’t right, or the teaching was off. You may have pushed yourself too hard too.

  • Competitive: The antipathy of yoga is one-upmanship. Feeling you are being watched and judged or in an environment where students are trying to outdo each other, however good spirited, is not good yoga practice. The whole ethos of yoga is that you develop at your own pace and it is an individual journey enhanced by the warmth of the yoga community.

  • Boring: While some styles of yoga do follow the same postures, many don’t. Given how yoga involves focus, breathing, and movement, it’s difficult to see how a heartfelt practice could be anything but uplifting and engaging.

Is it a question of yoga style?

It is not just the quality of classes that can impact whether you enjoy the benefits of yoga. Often it is simply choosing the wrong style of yoga or a class that is not suited to your level of experience. While some people love sweating it out in high-intensity sessions that offer more of a cardio-burn, or in a heated room, others prefer a more meditative, or flowing style which focuses on breathing and postures, rather than aerobics.

Want to try yoga for the first time or give yoga another chance? Get in touch and join in a class.

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