Never have there been more opportunities to start Yoga – there are a plethora of books, YouTube recordings and streamed classes available – at the time of writing “free yoga” on Google brings up 2,860 million results (yes, “about” 2,860,000,000). One positive side effect of the Coronavirus pandemic has been making Yoga more accessible.
However free isn’t necessarily good – of course, as a Yoga Teacher running in person classes, I would say that, wouldn’t I?
Yoga has many benefits, physically and psychologically, but does need to be used with care. For example, if you have health issues or injuries, some practices may not be suitable. Equally there are some practices – especially breathing and meditation practices – that are advanced and need to be approached with care. An experienced Yoga Teacher can help you unlock the practices that are best for you.
At a very simple level, when I am teaching Yoga postures, I often see people in class copy someone else and trying to make the same shape, but without appreciating subtle aspects of setting it up, or without using extra support in the right place. As an example, I often teach Supported Inversion, which is a very relaxing posture for most people; it looks similar to Shoulder Stand with the addition of a bolster for support, but that bolster changes everything – from Yang to Yin!
So, my recommendation is that anyone who is serious about unlocking Yoga’s many benefits should start off with an experienced Yoga Teacher, either in class or one on one – a Beginners Course can be good for this.
Now, that said, Yoga’s benefits come from little and often, so once you have learned the basics, rolling out your mat at home and doing half an hour every day or so is going to cement the benefits of what you learn in class. In due course you can experiment a little and follow some of the various YouTube offerings, knowing that you can be safe in your own practice.
And finally – money. Yes, coming to classes, or attending private sessions, costs money. So why pay for something you can get for free? Well, I’ve set out some reasons above. Yoga itself is not owned by anyone, and its benefits should be freely available to all – something most Yoga Teachers would probably agree passionately about – but for those who have trained to train and help others, their time, training and experience needs to be valued.
You can learn more about my Yoga Classes at www.yinspire.co.uk, where you can book a class and find out more about my studio in Brading, Isle of Wight.