Despite being over 4000 years old, yoga keeps on growing in popularity. That’s no mean feat. Few human endeavours have that kind of longevity. Of course, every decade ushers in new fitness trends, but let’s be honest: if Strictly Dancercise is still riding the keep-fit zeitgeist in another 4000 years, we’ll eat our yoga mat.
Inclusive, Not Exclusive
It’s easy to see yoga’s broad appeal. Almost everyone can find a type to suit them. Yoga can be adapted for people with mobility issues or physical disabilities and age is no barrier either – many enthusiasts enjoy yoga into their 70’s, 80’s and occasionally beyond!
In terms of the body, yoga reaches pretty much every part. There are even yoga exercises for eyelids, for goodness sake. And why not? Yoga is all about the whole self. The body, the mind, the spirit and the breath. No kidding…yoga even helps us to appreciate how our bodies are nourished and energised by this simple, elemental act.
No Gear? No Problem
Yoga can make us stronger, happier and more flexible. You don’t need any dedicated clothing: leggings, tracksuit bottoms or shorts and a tee shirt are all fine. The one piece of equipment you’ll need is a yoga mat. A basic version can be picked up very cheaply and it’s worth investing in – the grip makes achieving and holding poses much easier.
Almost every village in the UK will boast at least one yoga practitioner and you can take your pick in larger towns and cities. So where do you start? How do you find the right type of yoga for you? And what about yoga retreats? Is that just for die-hard yogis? Finally, why is yoga particularly awesome when you’re doing OYNB?
Whether you’re new to the whole thing or can hold a Tree Pose for an entire episode of Bake Off, we’ve got the low-down on Upward Dogs, Baby Cobras and Peaceful Warriors.
Find a Yoga Class in The UK
A good place to start is The British Wheel of Yoga. This established, non-profit organisation provides details of teachers and classes near you, as well as providing training and accreditation for anyone wanting to learn how to teach. Simply enter your postcode and find a local group offering classes.
Alternatively, check out anywhere with community notices: church halls, Post Office windows and supermarket customer boards have a surprising wealth of local information – some of which you won’t find online.
Speaking of online, you could try out one of the many Youtube tutorials available on the internet. Popular yogi Adriene Mishler has a host of lessons on her channel that vary from gentle, seated yoga to more advanced and challenging videos. Or if you are looking for a 1-2-1 online lesson, you can make an appointment with Julia at Warrior Princess Yoga who will guide you through your yoga session and offer you expert advice.
Go Into Retreat
Or how about going the whole hog and booking onto a yoga retreat? Before we go further into what that might entail, it’s worth mentioning that many people starting out with OYNB – or anyone who needs a reboot to help them keep on track – find a yoga retreat a valuable pursuit.
Committing to a weekend or week’s retreat is exciting: the prospect of learning something new, being around like-minded people and doing something therapeutic for your mind and body. What’s particularly appealing for anyone on a OYNB path – many yoga retreats are alcohol-free.
Yep – a holiday that doesn’t just not revolve around alcohol: it positively discourages it.
- Yoga Yorkshire Style
A warm North Yorkshire welcome from Raw Horizons Wellbeing Retreat in Thirsk awaits you, along with glorious scenery, meditative yoga practice and an alcohol-free menu that makes detoxing way more delicious than you might expect. An outdoor hot tub and spa mean you can emerge from one of Raw Horizons Yoga Weekends feeling like a new, healthier you.
- Wild in Wales…
The Zest Life is definitely worth a look. Based in North Wales, their retreats are holistic and healing. Yoga classes and wild swimming are fuelled by delicious plant-based, alcohol-free meals and followed by meditation or optional massages in the evening. Sounds pretty good to us.
- …Or Alcohol-Free in Andalucia?
If you want to perfect your vinyasa in warmer climes, then Kaliyoga retreat in Andalucia, Spain is well worth thinking about for your next holiday. Nestled in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada mountains, the yoga classes are complemented by stunning walks and scenery; vegetarian, organic local produce and freshly pressed juices and olive oil. There’s even a raw foods workshop for anyone looking for extra foodie tips to take home.
Again, alcohol isn’t permitted at Kaliyoga, so you can relax into a holiday of yoga at your own pace in glorious surroundings, with exceptional food and optional therapeutic treatments, without the pressure of being surrounded by people indulging in holiday drinking.
Yoga and OYNB make good bedfellows. They both draw your focus inwards, to nurture a sense of healthful wellbeing. Simultaneously, yoga aims to align your own biorhythms with the energy of the earth, while OYNB helps you view the world through a new, positive lens.
Yoga, like being alcohol-free, is inherently empowering. People describe both OYNB and yoga as being life-changing. Together? You’ll be unstoppable!