You do not have to be flexible to do yoga. Nor do you have to be especially supple, strong, fit or young. The practice of yoga can be undertaken at any stage in life, with any body shape or constitution, and as long as one maintains an open, receptive mind, yoga will certainly encourage suppleness, stability and general well-being. Through the dynamic practice of the stances, stiffness in the joints and muscles is relieved; attention to alignment corrects various postural difficulties; and the emphasis on breathing draws the mind inwards and cultivates a calm, quiet steadiness free of tension and stress.
To gain the most from the practice of yoga, one is advised not to eat or drink prior to class, and if possible allow some time to pass before eating and drinking after class too. Wear loose, comfortable clothing which does not restrict your movement; and please tell your teacher if you are pregnant or injured in any way.
Photos by Mark Falvey
Some people finish the Beginners Course and wish to move straight into the General class. Please do not think that this is the natural progression. It is much better to repeat the course and gain more confidence and a better understanding of the basic principles before attempting anything stronger.
Rather than increased difficulty, one should look for regularity.
Make yoga a regular part of your day or week. Once a week is fine for the raw beginner, but those who have already finished a course should think about attending two classes a week. This is a good start, and allows one to establish and maintain a healthy, balanced lifestyle.