icon-account icon-glass

Getting Started With Yoga

2nd November 2017

2nd November 2017

By Shivraj Bassi

Your old local pub has re-opened as a yoga studio, your colleagues are coming in to work at 8am wearing garish yoga gear and you can’t read a paper without hearing about the next yoga pop-up event involving gin/goats/hugging.

After some persuasion, you’ve done some research into modern yoga and suddenly you’ve entered a world of crazy looking balances, contortion and something called 'breath work'. But what's it really all about? Our fave yogi Adam Husler is here to answer your Qs and bust some myths along the way.

Is yoga just about stretching and making pretty shapes? 

Ok, let's look at yoga from a completely physical perspective. The asanas (poses) and the transition between them are as much about strength as flexibility. Strong and tight people often need to focus more on the flexibility side and super flexible people generally need to focus on getting stronger and more stable. We’re trying to find the balance between these two poles, whilst focusing on sensations rather than aesthetics.

Yoga classes mainly involve lying around and gently stretching, don't they?

In the world of modern yoga there are all sorts of styles; you’ve got alignment focused Iyengar yoga, sweaty Ashtanga yoga, relaxing restorative yoga, cardiovascular rocket yoga, spiritual Kundalini yoga and deep Yin yoga. Within some styles, there’s huge variety based on who’s teaching. For instance, a Vinyasa class could be fast and led by pop music, or silent with deep holds and controlled movement. In short, your physical yoga practice can be as hard as you want it to be.

Yoga classes are full of hippies, grannies or lycra-clad females; I’d probably stand out?

Yes, you’ll probably see lots of lycra, male beads and chakra tattoos, but depending on teacher/style you’ll see; tight older city workers, MMA fighters, big people, small people, men, women, etc etc. You get the point.

Will it make any difference to my life?

Starting off with the physical again, if you spend lots of your life creating a certain shape with your body, it's worth spending some time doing the opposite. If your work involves hanging over the desk, let yoga help you extend your spine. If you’re a boxer, yoga will help you open those overdeveloped shoulders. If you run to work every day, you’ll appreciate how yoga can help loosen hips and hamstrings.  Beyond the physical, the psychological benefits of spending 60-90 minutes taking part in some physical self-enquiry and controlling your breath are huge, especially in our modern cities.

Do you need lycra? 

You can if you want. Go wild. Whatever gets you in the mood. Typical gym shorts and a tee will do too.

What's the next step?

Head to your local studio and they’ll probably have some kind of introductory offer. Chat to the staff team and find out the more basic (doesn't mean easier) classes to start with and then work your way on to try as many styles/teachers as you can until you find some that resonate with you. If your studio's options are limited, try online yoga like Udaya and bring good teachers (and me!) to your lounge.

Bottom line, ignore the hype, don't get involved in the drama and let your yoga practice be a personal experience.

Other Insights

The 5 Best Yoga Poses To Start Your Day With Revealed
How To Exercise With A Busy Schedule: Our Top 5 Tips
With everything that goes into a daily schedule, the commitments of a busy lifestyle can mean it’s pretty hard (and sometimes impossible) to make time to exercise. It can also be hard to find the motivation to exercise after a long day even when you do have the time. It can be a really vicious cycle. With that in mind, you may be searching for some tips on how to find time in the day to exercise, correct? Or maybe some tips on how to extend the hours in the day so that you have enough time to get everything done? Well. Whilst we’d be millionaires if we had the answer to the second question (although The Focus Capsules might be able to help with that one), we can definitely help you with the first. Figuring out how to make time to exercise can be pretty difficult, but we’ve got five tips below that might just help you when it comes to fitting in fitness. How to make time to exercise If we could give you just one piece of advice: preparation is key. Planning and scheduling is the only way to successfully stay on track, and staying on track and remaining consistent is absolutely the quickest way to smashing your fitness goals. They say it takes 21 days to make a habit, so if you can choose and apply one of our below five tips to fitting in exercise to your life, we promise that after those initial three weeks, making time for exercise will become like second nature.  Here’s our top five tips for when it comes to making time for exercise… Switch up your commute Wondering how to fit the gym in with work? Think about your commute. The average commute is around 62 minutes in the United Kingdom. That’s over two hours a day that we are commuting. Not only is that a huge chunk of the day, but it’s two hours of the day that could be spent exercising… potentially. If you could switch up your commute to walk, cycle or run (maybe all, but even part of the way), this somewhat redundant time can be used to not only get you where you need to be, but assist you in fitting in fitness to your busy day. Granted, if you are commuting over an hour a day, it’s likely you are using a train service or perhaps driving yourself to your destination… but this doesn’t mean that you can incorporate some level of exercise into your day. Park slightly further away, or maybe get off at an earlier stop and walk, run or cycle the rest of the way. Every little helps. Set an earlier alarm (sorry) Whilst this is probably the tip that nobody wanted to hear, a great way of making time for exercise is to set your alarm earlier to give yourself extra time in the day. Getting up earlier not only provides you with a great chunk of extra time to get your workout in, but allows you to avoid the morning rush hour, give your body time to prepare for the day, and allows you to slow down a bit and avoid the awful morning rush that comes with those extra ten minutes in bed. Gym classes start as early as 5am, offering you the perfect opportunity to get an hour of exercise in before your commute and work. If classes aren’t your thing, though, there’s nothing better than a sunrise run or cycle. Seriously! Try it. Make the most of your lunch break Stop using your lunchbreak to just sit and scroll on your social media channel of choice. Make a conscious effort to leave your desk, office or home workspace and get out and about. Go on a walk, run, cycle or even lunchtime swim during your lunch break and really make the most of your lunch hour. The best part about this strategy is no early alarm, no late finish time… just time to yourself in the middle of the work day to not only smash out your workout for the day, but have some well-deserved time to yourself in amongst the office chaos. Sounds good (and productive) to us. Make every task count Waiting for your food to cook in the microwave? Do some star jumps. You may look a little crazy in the shared office kitchen, but so be it. No pain no gain, right? Want to watch your favourite TV show after work? Why not watch it whilst on the treadmill at the gym. Need to take the dog for a walk? Make that lap round the field two laps. Need to grab some milk and bread from the store? Walk, don’t drive. Little changes here and there add up to an overall healthier and more active lifestyle. At the end of the day, fitting in exercise doesn’t strictly refer to going to the gym or heading out for a run. Like we said… every little helps. Be strict with your schedule It’s time to start treating your exercise schedule like your work schedule. Got a gym class booked for 6pm? It’s now non-negotiable, just like that end-of-quarter sales meeting you’ve got pencilled in your calendar. Too often we fall victim to the post-work social calling (aka a trip to the pub), or even just the temptation of our sofa after work, which means that the scheduled post-work workout gets thrown out the window. Not anymore. If you’ve scheduled a workout, stick to it. Don’t sack off your gym schedule for something better (or nothing at all). It’s a commitment you’ve made that is just as important as those daily meetings, only this time, it’s a commitment to yourself. Making time for exercise is just as important as everything else, as it’s key for your health, wellbeing, and overall performance after all! Summary So. You wanted to know how to exercise with a busy schedule… we hope we’ve answered your question. Whilst it can be tempting to cancel, post-pone or even neglect our exercise routines as a result of the demands of work, relationships or otherwise, fitting in exercise needs to become a priority. Period. If you’re struggling or are unsure of how to make time for exercise, give one (or all) of our above tips a go. Find out which tip for fitting in exercise works best for you and start your fitness schedule. Exercise and working out is a hugely important part of your schedule, so it’s time to start treating exercise like a priority. Self-care 101. References SME News. 2021. New survey reveals large regional differences in workers’ commuting experience - SME News. [online]. Click here. Brain Pickings. 2021. Popiva, M. How Long It Takes To Form A New Habit. [online]. Click here. Read more