I honestly used to believe that yoga just wasn’t for me. I enjoyed workouts that really challenged myself physically, and before giving it a go, I assumed that yoga wouldn’t do that.
Initially, it was the encouragement from two of our KIC yogis, Karen & Jamie. Before we filmed our KIC yoga flows together, they invited me to their studio to try a number of flows to get a feel for their teaching styles.
I felt strong, calm and empowered and I couldn’t wait to feel that way again. Throughout covid I started practicing at least a few times a week and really enjoyed the way it made me feel both mentally and physically.
Yoga has taught me to give back to my body, to balance out the intense workouts I do that put stress on my body, with flows that help recover and strengthen my body in a different way.
Can beginners practice yoga?
Absolutely! And if you’re a beginner, be patient with it! It can be frustrating in the beginning if you have some preconceived idea on how you should look while you practice. Truth is, yoga is about how you feel, not how you look. Sure there are some challenging poses which are exciting to do when you build your strength up but that’s not what it’s all about. So yes, there are flows for absolutely everyone, no matter what fitness level you’re at.
What's your advice for beginners wanting to try yoga?
A KIC yoga flow is actually a perfect place to start, because the most intimidating part about starting yoga can be practicing in front of others. With an online fitness program like KIC you can practice from home but still have guidance from a qualified instructor. We have vinyasa, hatha and yin inspired flows on the app. Or, if you are going to head straight into a public class, most studios offer beginner classes, otherwise just mention to the yogi taking the class that it’s your first time.
What is Yin Yoga?
Yin yoga is a slower, meditative experience, giving you time and space to tune into your mind and the physical sensations of your body. Because you’re holding poses for a longer period of time than you would in other traditional types of yoga, yin yoga helps you stretch and lengthen those rarely-used tissues while also teaching you how to breathe through discomfort and sit with your thoughts. It’s a really good place to start for beginners. If you love getting your sweat on with a HIIT or Bootcamp session, yin yoga is the perfect balance to add to your routine. It’s also great for anyone who is dealing with an injury as it’s more restorative than vinyasa.
What is vinyasa yoga?
Vinyasa yoga is more of a strength-based, faster-paced flow, where you connect with your breath as you move from one yoga pose to another.
What is hatha yoga?
Hatha yoga is similar to vinyasa, but it’s practiced at a slower pace, focusing on controlled movements, your breath and stretching your muscles, it’s great for beginners as it allows you to become familiar with the poses, before you pick up your pace.
What are some of the mental and physical benefits of yoga?
For me personally yoga grounds me. It pulls my mind away from everything else that’s going on in life and allows me to be present in the moment. I often finish a flow with a lot more clarity on things that I may be dwelling on. Physically I’ve seen a massive improvement in my overall body strength, flexibility, form in other exercises and posture too.
What KIC flow would you recommend for beginners?
Drishti – Point of Focus. This is a blissful yin yoga class which focuses on opening up the hips. If you’re completing the KICRUN challenge this flow with Jamie will definitely come in handy, it’s such a good stretch that builds strength & flexibility.
Another favourite of mine is Keep it Mellow. Cecily has designed this flow to be slow moving and gentle. It allows you to connect with your body, soothe your nervous system and enter a calm state of mind.
And what about when we're building up our confidnce?
Sun Salutation with Steph, is a great intermediate flow. Jamie KIC’s things off with a mindful breathing technique before you get into your slow flow. These gentle movements and postures are designed to reduce stress, increase self-awareness, build strength and balance.
My core motivation for moving my body is for the incredible impact it has on my mental health, and so through isolation I have really tried to make sure I have been doing things that positively impact my mental health while I am still resting, like meditation.
Having a mental health toolbox will help you feel calmer, more centred, happier and healthier! In light of World Mental Health Day, I wanted to share some tips that work for me, that may work for you…
Whether it’s getting out for a walk in the sunshine, or rolling out your mat for a little quiet yoga flow, exercise can have significant benefits for your mental health as a new parent.