Yoga on Beach, Renee Naturally
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Making Yoga a Personal Practice

Yoga is now a multi billion-dollar international industry. Teachers have become celebrities, well oiled marketing machines persuade you to buy products ‘essential’ for your yoga lifestyle, and simply trying to choose from the smorgasbord of styles, each trying to outdo the next for their purported benefits, can induce a spike in blood pressure. Sifting through the information out there can be quite overwhelming, stopping many budding yogis before their first sun salute.

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This is where I hope to be of service. A well informed, (mostly) impartial guide to welcome you to your yoga mat and encourage you to keep coming back for more.
Contrary to what some methods would have you believe, there is no one ‘right’ yoga. We all have different bodies, minds and needs. Common sense says we should therefore follow a practice that best serves our lifestyle, which may or may not be the same practice as your partner, best friend or favourite celeb.

What I can tell you is that yoga is profoundly beneficial for EVERY BODY and a wonderful tool to combat the trappings of modern life. The proviso is that we come to understand and honour what we personally want from the practice, not what the industry dictates that you need.

Curious about yoga but can’t get past the hype?

If I had a spare minute for every time I heard someone say ‘ I’m not flexible enough to do yoga’, or look at some crazy pretzel pose and exclaim ‘I could NEVER do that!’, I could have a nice long holiday at an exotic yoga retreat in the tropics. Ah, the yoga dream. Seriously though, most of those beautiful bodies you see in yoga magazines and DVDs are professional athletes. They have the body type, the time and the desire to sculpt their bodies into stunning pin ups for us to aspire to. They work incredibly hard and deserve the accolades they get. For the rest of us, while it is great to have something to work towards, it is often a false reality. Perhaps we can realistically commit to our practice a few hours a week, be it a couple of classes, or 15 minutes a day at home. Even if we had the hours to spend, we may not have the body type. Besides, it takes more than just a regular asana practice and blessed genes to maintain a physique like that; it’s the eating, the sleeping, the lifestyle...

And by lifestyle I don’t mean the fancy clothes, mats, props, bells, whistles… nice to haves if you are that way inclined, but all you really need to get started is comfortable clothing and a (modest) space to move in. Most classes will provide any props you need. What your ‘yoga lifestyle’ looks like will become evident with the clarity that the practice offers over time, not with how you look while practicing.

Your yoga is for You.

One of the primary benefits of yoga is that it brings us more in touch with our true selves. Who we really are, how we really feel, and what we really need. Only you can know how your yoga practice is going to best serve you, and even this can change on a hourly/daily/weekly basis! Take the time to understand this and you will truly get the most out of the practice.

Try different styles, talk to different teachers, search online or pick up a yoga magazine. Consider what you want out of a practice – strength, flexibility, alignment, stillness or a combination of the above? Be realistic about how much time you can commit. Do you prefer the anonymity of a big, tightly packed class, the camaraderie and focus of a small group class, or the freedom of a solo practice? Environment is important too; some will find a bustling gym class too distracting, or may struggle with a room thick with incense, while these will be the perfect environs for others.

No class is the same, even if it’s the same style. How a teacher creates and holds the space and how they choose to present the style they teach will make a big impact on your enjoyment of the class. Even the time of day can make a huge difference! Don’t assume if you’ve tried one yoga class you’ve tried them all. Keep an open mind, and shop around until you find a style/teacher/class that gels with you. Somewhere in yoga land there will be one. 

As for that punishing class that you secretly dread when your BFF drags you to it … Yoga is a great date, but if she’s been stuck at a desk all day and loves a strong active flow class, while you’ve been racing around after the kids and are too exhausted to do another jump through, its not that she’s a more advanced yogi than you. It’s more likely that your different lifestyles mean that you need different things from your yoga practice. Take the time to find a yoga that really truly works for You. Then you’ll be the one talking excitedly about ‘this amazing class I went to last night’. Just make it over a vino rather than a yoga mat.

Ginnaya x


Hello. Nice. You would be able to talk about the dangers of hot yoga at one stage? I am interested. Thanking you. Kind, Olga

Hi Olga. I will ask Ginnaya but thank you for the idea, I would be very interested in reading this from an expert too! x

So cool to have a yoga expert writing for the blog Renee! Do you know much about pilates? I'm so into both yoga and pilates and my body has changed completely since I started doing both together. Take care xo

Hi Agi, I have practiced pilates a little bit myself but haven't done any formal training or anything. Great to hear that you have such great results from a combination of both though! Keep it up x

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