I remember I took my first class when I was in university, and my instructor taught us classic hatha yoga. I was looking for a way to deal with stress.
I didn’t know anything about yoga, but something drew me to it. I didn’t have a yoga mat. Some postures left me a bit taken aback (“… I have to do what…?”) And as an exhausted student I always fell asleep during final meditation.
I felt great after we were done. My senses were heightened. I felt calmer and happier. My mind was clearer.
Later, as I studied yoga, I realized how it worked on the physical aspect of muscle tone and flexibility, and also I was surprised to find out its deeper influence on internal organ health, brain function, self awareness and spirituality. This is all well known now, and I’m happy to see such an understanding of the benefits of yoga in the mainstream.
I’m definitely of the more “simplistic” yoga camp. Probably because of my own yoga training. Likely because I prefer simplicity in many aspects of my life. I know that props, blocks, pillows, blankets, bolsters, straps, etc., have a place in some classes and can be helpful for many people.
I most enjoy yoga that just involves a mat. I find I can focus more on the yoga. If my body is telling me that it’s not ready for a certain posture, I do what I can, rest if needed, and move on to the next posture when it’s time.
With just a mat, or a calm quite space to be in, there are so many great ways to put yoga in the day.
I can take a class when time allows it.
I also have some great DVDs at home. Rodney Yee is one of my favorite instructors, but there are so many instructors out there on DVD, offering a variety of approaches to the practice.
Also, I get inspiration for one or two postures that my body might need on a particular day from the Yoga Journal website. The Yoga Journal is one of the longest running magazines about yoga and their website has a great index of postures.
Just taking a moment to notice my breathing. Full breath in, full breath out. Exhale tension, inhale oxygen, positivity.