With World Yoga Day just around the corner, there’s never been a better time to get on the mat and give it a try. Whether you’ve been doing yoga for years but looking for some motivation to get back to a regular routine, or you’ve always wanted to try it but never had the confidence, this is your sign to give it a go!
Yoga is great for both the body and mind, helping to improve physical fitness and relieve stress through a series of poses and breathing techniques.
When is World Yoga Day?
International Yoga Day 2022 is 21st June. The United Nations actually proclaimed the 21st June as International Day of Yoga back in 2014, after recognising its universal appeal.
Each year has a different theme, this year being “yoga for humanity.” This theme is particularly important due to the impact that the COVID-19 pandemic has had on our mental wellbeing, in addition to the physical impact on health across the globe.
“The essence of yoga is balance – not just balance within the body or that between the mind and the body, but also balance in the human relationship with the world. Yoga emphasizes the values of mindfulness, moderation, discipline and perseverance. When applied to communities and societies, Yoga offers a path for sustainable living.” – The United Nations
Get to know our yoga instructor, Jasmine Roberts
Whether you’re a yoga pro or a baby yogi, we could all use some tried and tested tips from a professional. We asked her to share her tips and tricks for getting the most out of your yoga sessions – even if you have a furry friend trying to join you on the mat!
Tell us something about you?
I have two fur babies – one kitty cat and one pooch. Both of which really enjoy joining me on the mat! During lockdown everyone who joined my online classes would always enjoy both of them making an appearance on camera… saying that they were not always super helpful particularly when trying to do a balance exercise!
Tell us about the purpose of yoga?
Most people think the purpose of yoga is to show off how flexible and fit you are but it couldn’t be further from the whole story. In a lot of yoga classes in the West you will see a lot of focus given to the physical body and performing Asanas or postures. Originally yoga consisted of Meditation and Pranayama (breathwork) until later it was realised that a lot of people need to move their body in order to cultivate stability, spaciousness and mental ease.
One of my favourite quotes to describe the purpose of Yoga is – “Yoga is not about tightening your ass… it’s about getting your head out of it.” The purpose of Yoga is to reconnect you to your truest self. The part of you under all of the conditioning that has built up from your life experiences. Through yoga as a whole you connect to your body… then breathe… then mind… and finally yourself.
What are the benefits of regular yoga practice?
There are endless benefits of a regular yoga practice and it is so easy to go to google and type in “benefits of yoga”, so what I would prefer is to tell you the benefits that yoga gives to me which hopefully will resonate with other people.
1. Pain free days
Yoga has helped me build strength and flexibility in my body. Like most people I suffer from my own aches and pains but I really do notice them much more when I do not move and practice Yoga each day, even if it is 5 minutes deep breathing in the evening before bed.
2. Slowing down
Who out there are overthinkers or get lost in their thoughts and forget to live in the present? Yeah Me too!
Doing Yoga allows me to take myself and step away from the overwhelming thoughts that can build in my head into an absolute frenzy and send me into the anxiety zone! Yoga has given me tools to cope with my wandering thoughts and not allow them to take over.
When you practise Yoga, sometimes Yoga encourages you gently and sometimes Yoga forces you to look at yourself from the inside out. I am more aware of what my physical body can do and what is more difficult for me without judgement and I am more internally aware of how my thoughts and emotions can affect me and how I can be kinder and fairer to myself and others around me.
What creates the perfect place to practise?
Yoga is an ongoing practise that is done ON and OFF the mat so there really isn’t the perfect place to practise yoga. However, when you are rolling out your mat ready to strike a warrior pose then here are my top things recommendations!
1. Remove all distractions
This might mean tidying up a room and clearing a space, telling anyone in your household to leave you be and make an agreement with yourself to not distract yourself with your ever expanding “to do list.”
If you are going to use music, find the best music that is suited to your practice. If you feel your mind is busy then don’t use any music and if you need motivation then find some music with rhythm.
3. Organise and prepare
There is nothing worse than when you’re in the middle of a tricky pose and that yoga block or yoga strap is on the other side of the room underneath the dogs bed and you can’t reach it! Or you can’t quite see the laptop screen from where you are. Before starting your practice make sure you have everything that you need so it doesn’t stop your flow and gives you the excuse to stop your practice.
What’s your favourite yoga pose?
I have 2 favourite poses, which both have similar benefits to them
1. Prasarita Padottanasana / Wide Legged Forward Fold
2. Baddha Konasana / Bound Angle pose
Both poses are amazing hip openers particularly for the inner thighs and groin.
Any yoga top tips?
As a yoga teacher it really frustrates and saddens me when I see anyone in class start to look around at everyone else and compare themselves. They then start to list off all the things that they can’t and the reasons why they can’t do these things.
So my top tip would be to celebrate what you CAN do and be patient and kind to yourself when it comes to the things you may not be able to do as competently.
You can find Jasmine on Instagram @pi.yo.ba.with.jasmine