To the untrained eye, yoga seems like an extreme sport. All the twists, splits, and balancing that certain positions require look borderline dangerous. That doesn't stop us from wanting to try it, though! People who do yoga make the zen life look so good, which makes us regular humans want to experience it ourselves. The only thing holding us back are beginner's jitters.
That said, we reached out to a yoga practitioner, Kai Ochosa, to soothe our nerves. And below, she gives us a short course on Yoga 101 which will surely make you want to sign up for a class!
Hi Kai! First of all, who do you recommend doing yoga to?
"Yoga is for everybody. Contrary to what most people think, it doesn’t require a lot of athleticism or flexibility. You can come to class without any background or former training."
What are the benefits of yoga that'll motivate people to try it?
"It is beneficial to both mind and body. In my brief journey as an Astana Yoga practitioner, I would say that it has shown me concrete results of hard work and discipline. Once you incorporate yoga into your life and invest your time in it, you’ll be surprised by how light you’ll feel physically and spiritually. It’s quite addicting."
What should a first-timer prepare before their first session?
"The only thing you really need to invest in is your mat. It would be ideal to come to class with your own mat or yoga towel for hygienic purposes. Be sure to come in your most comfortable attire. Choose breathable fabric and make sure you can move with ease because the last thing you’ll need in a class is distraction. Load up on water and hydrate, especially with the heat nowadays."
What should a first-timer expect during their first few sessions?
"The first few sessions could be physically challenging for some but others can breeze through classes without any discomfort. Your body will experience change but nothing too extreme."
Is yoga a great way to stay fit for those who don't like going to the gym?
"Definitely. It’s a whole body workout. There’s a lot of core and leg work involved especially in balancing poses. "
Do you have any tips or hacks that even a seasoned yogi would love to know?
"The technique is in learning how to move with the breath and making even inhalations and exhalations."
Anything else you want to tell someone who's interested in trying yoga?
"Come to class with an open mind. Do not be intimidated by those who can reach for their toes easily. Yoga has taught me the true meaning of individuality–that each body is unique and that focusing on self improvement rather than competition is key."
What yoga studio would you recommend to a beginner?
"Aum Yoga House in Cubao should be perfect for first timers who want to get introduced to the Ashtanga Yoga practice. Beyond Yoga is also one of my favorite studios. They have seasoned teachers and a variety of yoga classes that range from traditional to modified ones like Anti-gravity. For beginners, it would be a good place to start to find out which kind of yoga suits you."