Whether you’re looking to try something new, searching for a supplement to sports and exercise, or coming back to the mat after some time away, developing a yoga practice could be the beginning of something amazing. So if you need some inspiration to help you take the first step in your yoga journey, here are five reasons to try yoga in 2019 –

1: There is a yoga for every body

Because yoga classes can be varied in their level of intensity and wide ranging in their styles of practice, no matter what your level of fitness or movement experience, there is a yoga class for you. Particularly at multi-style studios, there are multiple opportunities every day to try something new at a level to suit any ability. Yoga really is for every body, and different types of classes provide different kinds of benefits, from physically demanding classes intended to challenge, to fully restorative yoga for relaxation and mindfulness. Discovering your perfect yoga class begins as soon as you turn up for that first lesson.

2: Community spirit

Few other environments provide a meeting place for such a diverse and ever-evolving community as the yoga studio. From dedicated yoga practitioners to visitors who are simply passing through, the lifestyles and experiences of those side by side on their yoga mats can be fascinating in their variation. Moving alongside one another in the studio provides a powerful sense of unity that begins on the mat, and continues to connect our community at large. Joining other yoga students in such an open and welcoming space creates a realm of sharing, nurture and support, from which meaningful connections are formed and cultivated.

3: The value of movement

The far reaching benefits of moving the body in non-habitual patterns is widely recognised, and yoga classes provide the space to explore this concept in a safe and focused environment. Depending on the work we do, the lives we live and the regular movement patterns we usually engage with, our bodies can become fixed to certain types of repetitive actions, as you may know if you spend a portion of the day hunched over a computer screen. Regular yoga practice over time can demonstrate the body’s incredible propensity for lasting change. Moving the body, shifting through space, experiencing sensation and meeting new challenges invites the opportunity to reconnect to your physical self in a positive, and often life changing, way.

4: Any amount is enough

In your yoga, everything is optional. Yoga is foremost a personal practice, and within each yoga class, there are often different modifications for poses and multiple stages of intensity; the variation you choose in entirely up to you. With this autonomy in mind, however you are feeling physically or physiologically, there is always a level of the yoga practice you can engage with. When we outline new fitness and wellness goals, this can be a real initiation of positive change. However, when we set ourselves rigid expectations, any unmet fitness goals or unattended workouts can also be a source of negative self assessment. In yoga, any amount is enough, and there is always space to observe how you are feeling and adjust your practice accordingly, without the pressure of maximum effort every time you visit the studio. In your yoga class, whether you are energised and ready to find new depth in your practice, or feeling like you need to move with ease and do less, either option is equally powerful and you are in control of what you bring into your yoga practice for the day.

5: Yoga is more than just exercise

Intrinsically linked to the physical benefits of regular yoga practice are the ways in which yoga can affect us holistically. In an age of societal separation between mind and body, yoga invites a unification of the physical and physiological self through movement, meditation and pranayama. As well as developing strength, stamina and flexibility in the body, yoga can be both a mental exercise of focus and agility, and a way of calming the nature of the the active mind through moving meditation. Or, if the idea of meditation feels a little our of reach, then spending an hour connecting to the breath and movement of the body provides the space to focus completely how you are feeling in a social climate when such opportunities are rare. By setting to-do lists and expectations for your day to one side in order to focus your full attention on your yoga, you are carving out time in your day to devote wholly to yourself, making room to experience your yoga practice as a unifier of body and mind.

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I am a mover, shaker and thinker, and yoga provides a platform for all three. My yoga journey began during my first class at Lano and since then I have been completely immersed. Yoga has become pivotal to my sense of self, and my own evolving practice underpins both my teaching and the wider context of my life. My disciplined and expressive approach to teaching yoga stems from my background in contemporary dance. Finding creative means of incorporating traditional yogic poses and concepts into new ways of exploring movement is what forms the foundation of my vinyasa based classes. I am passionate about movement, and the way it can connect us to our physical bodies and encourages us to live as our fullest selves.