This week we got chatting to the lovely Con, our magical marketing intern here at The Happy Pear. Con is also a yogi and recently completed his teacher training in sunny Costa Rica. We prised him away from his mat to let us in on all his yoga knowledge and to share his advice on getting started.
So, without further ado, let’s hand it over the the yoga guru himself. Cheers Con!

What Is Yoga?

Yoga is a series of physical postures that are linked with the breath to help improve flexibility in the body and relax the mind. It originated in India thousands of years ago and is now a super-popular way for people to get fit and de-stress.

Do You Have To Be Really Flexible To Do Yoga?

No! The biggest misconception about yoga is that you have to be really bendy or strong, but it’s not true! Yoga is for everyone of all levels and all ages and there are many different styles of yoga. Here are some of the most popular ones:

  • Hatha yoga actually refers to all the different styles of yoga but hatha yoga classes are generally gentle and slow-paced. It can be a great style for beginners to try.
  • Ashtanga yoga is a very physical practice that involves moving through a set sequence of poses to build heat in the body.
  • Vinyasa yoga is my own personal favourite and is a dynamic practice that involves flowing through a series of different poses in a dance-like way.
  • Iyengar yoga is a form of yoga that focuses on correct alignment in poses, with the help of props such as yoga blocks or straps.
  • Hot yoga / Bikram yoga takes place in a heated environment, which can help people to move deeper into poses and sweat out toxins.

Con’s Yoga Journey

I took my first yoga class about four years ago, while I was living in Barcelona. All I remember was being really sweaty and being surrounded by women who all seemed to be able to do advanced poses, while I could barely touch my toes! After the class, I felt really peaceful and over the years, yoga became an important part of my life. These days, I see my time on my mat as as way of tuning into how my body and mind are feeling. Focusing on my breath really helps to calm and clear my mind for the day ahead and it helps me to focus on the present moment.

Top Tips For Beginners

  • Get on your mat! Actions speak louder than words; the most successful people are the ones who do rather than say. Find the courage to get on the mat and try out a class.
  • Be compassionate towards yourself. Don’t judge yourself on the mat or compare yourself to others. Yoga is not about pushing yourself or being competitive.
  • It’s okay to be a beginner! Yoga is for everyone and it’s about exploring your own body. Don’t feel self-conscious on your mat, instead, just focus on your breath and how your body is feeling. Enjoy it!

Poses For…

These are some of my favourite poses, however, I recommend practising yoga with a qualified instructor and contacting your doctor before attempting any of these poses if you have any medical conditions. Breathe in and out through your nose for each of these poses.

For Finding Balance

Mountain pose is an amazing pose for getting grounded and tuning into how you feel. Here’s How… Stand with your feet hip-distance apart and be aware of the soles of your feet on the floor. Relax your arms by your side, keep your chest open and your shoulders relaxed. Observe your breath for five breaths.

For More Energy

Warrior One. It strengthens and stretches the lower body and helps to cultivate courage (hence the name warrior pose!). Here’s How… Step your right leg forward and bend the knee, keeping the knee aligned over your ankle. Raise your arms over your head while keeping your shoulders relaxed. Take five breaths and repeat on the left side.

To Manage Stress

Child’s pose is great for calming the mind and the central nervous system. Here’s how… Come down onto your knees on your mat and rest your head on the floor. Relax your hips back onto your heels. Let your arms rest on the floor by your side and relax your shoulders. Sink the weight of your body onto the floor and focus on your breath. Take five breaths.

I hope this has inspired you to get on your mat and get moving. Namaste!

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