Play Yoga: a practice for everyone
Published on: September 10, 2021
Suzi introduces us to the ancient practice of yoga and answers some FAQs about joining a class.
By Suzi Chaemchaeng
Being on a mat and away from the daily grind is the perfect opportunity to take time out for you. Perhaps you have considered doing yoga for years, but you feel confused by all the terms. Maybe friends do it, or it has simply been too long since you last rolled around, flopped out, and sank into a mat.
Or maybe you have decided to try a yoga class but there is such a plethora of yoga instructors, styles, and places of practice that deciding between them is confusing and stressful, which is the opposite of how we should feel when considering yoga. Try not to be intimidated! Male or female, young or old, injured, out-of-shape — none of these matter. It is a practice, not about perfection!
This leads us into the juicy importance of what yoga ‘actually’ is.
The roots of yoga (in Sanskrit: योग meaning to join or unite) traditions, teachings and practices date back to ancient India. It was only recently (considering the grand history of yoga) introduced to the western world. The ancient Rishis of India recognised that humans are caught in a cycle called ‘Samsara‘, which means the wandering and perpetual flow of change, birth, and death.
They realised that human desires are infinite and insatiable, which keep us caught in Samsara and unable to reach Nirvana. Yoga was derived to liberate us and give us peace from our endless wanderings. Whether or not you believe in reincarnation, the relevance of our continuous desires today is significant, for example, our need for products and media depictions of the perfect body.
Physical perfection and busting out a beautifully balanced, one-legged, one-armed pose are therefore not the goal. In yoga, the body is a vessel for breathing, which connects us to the internal workings of our minds, helping us reach a state of peace, awareness of ourselves and our essential nature. For some, this is the union of the body with the divine, but for the atheists out there, it can also be considered the union of the mind, breath, and body.
In Thailand, yoga is extremely popular and referred to as “Leyn Yoka”, which translates as “play yoga”. The practice should be fun and light-hearted, without focussing on what we can’t do, but with a sense of gratitude for what we can.
Frequently asked questions about yoga classes
I have never done yoga before. What can I expect?
Let the teacher know you are a newbie and take it easy. Adopt a child’s pose — kneel on the mat and lean forward, arms in front or by your sides — to rest as often as needed. Yoga is all about your journey, so refrain from comparing yourself to others, don’t worry, be in the present, and enjoy.
Do I need to be super bendy?
Yoga teaches us to be more flexible in our bodies so we can extend that flexibility to our minds when facing hardship. Remember, yoga is a practice, which means that you will achieve greater flexibility in your movements the more you do it. You can achieve this by just breathing when facing moments of tightness in your body.
What do I need to bring?
Wear loose, comfortable clothes that can stretch with your body. In Thailand, it can get hot. Therefore, water is a must, plus a small towel for sweat. I always recommend insect repellent to prevent people from slapping themselves in Shivasana — or corpse pose — if you are outside.
Yoga is like a candle. Once lit, the fire cannot be extinguished. The stronger the practice, the brighter the flame.
Learn the 8 Limbs of Yoga – Yoga Journal
Types of Yoga: A Guide to 11 Different Styles – MBG Movement
About the Author
Suzi is a born Londoner with an Irish heritage. She is an early years teacher and a holistic health coach for busy mums with the message, ‘BE REAL, not perfect’. She lives in Phuket with her child, and husband of 10 years. Follow her #motherhoodrebellion.
For more yoga and self-care tips, check out motherhoodrebellion.com
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