The other day, I came across an article stating ‘how’ you should be doing yoga.
Of course, there are ways to practice that keep you safe, and yes, these how-to’s should be adhered to, but this article made the practice so inaccessible for so many people. God, I felt guilty reading it and I’m a yoga teacher!
These were the ‘rules’:
Practice yoga on an empty stomach.
The best time to do yoga is in the morning before breakfast.
Each yoga posture has a purpose and benefits.
We can get so much more out of yoga than just exercise—it’s actually a spiritual practice
Practicing with awareness is imperative
I do not disagree with all of these rules, but let’s break it down.
1. Practice yoga on an empty stomach.
Let’s not eat a massive bowl of pasta and garlic bread and then go on to do five rounds of sun salutations. You will throw up. But, a lot of classes are at 7:30pm or 8pm, and are you expected to not have a meal between lunch and dinner? Generally, most people will eat their lunch around midday, and dinner sometime around 6-8pm. Generally. And often, these same people have allocated lunch times in their workplace. They can’t just pop out of the office at 3 or 4pm to have a mini dinner break because their yoga class is at 7 and they can’t have a full stomach so therefore they must starve themselves until afterwards, and potentially be practicing with low blood sugar. Gah!
Eat. Give yourself a little bit of a break between food and yoga, but don’t feel like your stomach must be empty. And if you did have a massive meal, take it easy. Yoga will help you digest anyway.
2. The best time to do yoga is in the morning before breakfast.
I’m guessing this came from the empty stomach thing. Morning yoga can be great. Sleeping in is also great. There is no ‘best time’ to do yoga. Do yoga when you want to, move your body when you want to. Morning, noon or night.
3. Each yoga posture has a purpose and benefits.
Yep. This person’s a master.
4. We can get so much more out of yoga than just exercise—it’s actually a spiritual practice.
Ergh! Spiritual. I am not such a massive fan of this word.
Look, yoga has helped me in so, so many ways that are much more than just physical, but, he who searches for enlightenment will not find it. Basically, don’t try too hard. I was put off yoga for a long while because I thought it was for crystal-healing vegans only. There are bunches of mental benefits to yoga, maybe you find a spiritual path through this incredible practice. Maybe you don’t. Or don’t want to. You can still be good to your body and mind.
5. Practicing with awareness is imperative.
I would recommend it, but imperative? This peep’s such a yoga bully.
I love to immerse myself in myself when I do yoga. It’s why I do yoga. Getting out of my head is one of the best outcomes of my yoga practice. But do I occasionally think about my washing needing to be hung out, or really getting into the yogi tune that’s playing? Yes. Am I still doing yoga? Yes. Total awareness is a great place to reach, don’t judge yourself if this isn’t achievable every second of every warrior pose.
The Rules of Yoga:
Do Yoga. Be safe and don’t beat yourself up. And don’t take it so damn seriously!