We will be introducing a range of different experts from WIFE throughout WI Sports Week so make sure you check back in regularly to hear more…
What do you?
I am a yoga specialist, life coach and radio show host, working to create a movement that shows that every body is a yoga body. My aim is to change the image of yoga making it more accessible and inclusive.
How did you get involved?
A friend suggested that I needed a plan B and at the time I was interested in yoga so started a yoga course, with the intention possibly starting become a Yogi when I retired. Whilst going through redundancy, it became clear to others and later to me that yoga was my passion so I decided to give yoga a go. I travelled to America – initially for 9 weeks – to become a Bikram teacher and I ended up staying for 6 months travelling to New York and Texas. Now I am showing that anyone can do yoga regardless of their shape, size, or age.
Why is exercise important to you?
I found that yoga transformed my life in so many ways, healing me both physically and mentally. Now I help women through yoga and coaching to be compassionate and self confident with the intention of allowing them to connect with their mind and body, which in terms allows them to leading a simpler and stress free life.
How can more women get involved?
I recognise not everyone has time to dedicate time to yoga – the women I work are time strapped or do not feel that yoga is for them. I help women get more involved in activity by showing that yoga does not take time but gives time and its many transformational benefits in terms of greater concentration, focus and being able identify what you really want. Even if you only devote ten minutes a day to a practice, it’s possible to incorporate yoga into your life, which will really benefit your health. The key is to recognise you can get involved even if you have very little spare time in your day and try to create the time. Simply getting up a little earlier and getting on your mat and if all you do is breathe: that is yoga.
Countering yoga stereotypes
We’ve all seen that typical image of yoga with some body with their legs behind their head looking like a pretzel. You’ve been there right?
What I love about yoga is that it is a practice that is inherently flexible. It can be modified to cater for “every body” - regardless of you size, age or sex. You will not only gain flexibility in the mind but also on the body.
The important thing to remember is that yoga is an equal-opportunity pleasure: whether you are young, old, male or female, large or small.
You don’t have to wait until you’re in a different place in life to start exploring your body’s potential.
Let me list some of the commons excuses for not considering yoga:
1. I am not flexible, so I can’t do yoga
This the primary excuse that I hear from a lot of individuals. We’ve all seen the bendy yogis on the covers of yoga magazines on the supermarket shelf, Instagram and Facebook. If you create a consistent yoga practice then you will become more flexible. I am amazed at how many people come to yoga for the first time and are astounded at how loose they are (as termed by one of my yoga students). With dedication and a little patience, you will become more flexible when you practice yoga. Having tightness in your body does not stop you from reaping the awesome benefits of the practice.
Yoga is not all about the postures, so if you are breathing, you can do yoga. It is essentially about mind, body connection through the use of the breath.
2. I’m a total novice, I have no experience and I have no skills in the practice of yoga
I always advise everyone to approach yoga with an open mind. Being curious, open, and present is key, whether you are taking your first yoga class or your one hundredth.
3. Yoga will conflict with some of my beliefs
Yoga is a study of the self — helping you to understand your inner world through movement and breath. Helping you to identify any negative self-thoughts you may have about your body or life. Individuals of all cultures and religious backgrounds can practice yoga. It is true that it's generally seen as a spiritual practice but it's up to you to get what you want from yoga for instance its many wonderful benefits.
4. I am too busy to do yoga
The more crazy life gets and feels, the more important it is to make time for yourself. Think of likening your time on the mat to plugging your phone or computer into an outlet to get recharged.
Yoga does not take time it creates time!
When you make your practice a priority, you’ll be able to achieve more in my life, in less time. You will be better able to focus on what is important. Try to consider choosing something else in your life to be too busy for — like television or social media. Placing higher priority on yoga will allow you to receive all the beautiful benefits a regular practice provides.
5. I am too old to do yoga.
Yoga is ageless: the world’s oldest yoga teacher is 97.
There are so many benefits to be gained from a yoga practice: stress relief, healthy benefit, strength, balance, flexibility and mind, body connection.
Hopefully you will not get on your mat and start your wonderful yoga journey!
Twitter: @Donnanobleyoga and @Curvesomeyoga