10 Things You DON’T Need To Practice Yoga
Forget what ya heard about yoga practice “must-haves.” Wipe your eyes of the marketing, quit the cacophony, bypass the bullshit bling. Let’s get clear + crystalline: all you need is YOU. Now, the lesson in less…
10 THINGS YOU DON’T NEED TO PRACTICE YOGA:
- A Yoga Mat. Yes, one will make it easier. Yes, my mat is something I’ll throw down for. But it’s not essential. So don’t sweat not having one — save your sweat for tapas. Grab a spot of grippy floor or roll out on a rug. All you need is something with stay-put-ness so your ass won’t slip.
- A Studio. Mood lighting + the scent of lavender + spa-like amenities? Nice, not necessary. I’ve practiced in airplane restrooms, my car, the movie theater. Your practice is precisely like when Timothy Olyphant walks in the room and beams lust right into your eyeballs — you WILL find a place. Oh yes you will. Ahem. To the point, for asana you just need enough space for YOU. Tiny kitchen, grand palace, broom closet, your balcony. It’s all good so long as you have room to groove.
- Fancy Pants. (also: tees, tanks, shorts, etc.) Wear what you are comfy in. Make it breathable + loose enough that it doesn’t restrict movement, but clingy enough not to fall over your head during inversions. Don’t break the piggy bank to matchy-match or make your ass look hot. If that’s your top priority, your head ain’t in the game, bitch. Come correct.
- To Be “Good at Yoga.” This concept is a fucking farce. There is NO SUCH THING. Practice as you are, in the moment. THIS is YOGA.
- Music. “I can’t hear myself
thinkbreathe!” Silence is golden.
- Prior Yoga Experience. We’re beginners at millions of things all our lives. You don’t have to know everything. You don’t have to know anything. Just show up and be present.
- A “Guru.” Run, don’t walk, away from anyone who proclaims themselves as such. You are your own best teacher. You needn’t be led around by the ear. Listen to yourself.
- Gumby Status. If you’re less flexible, asana practice will make you more fluid. Huh, imagine that. If you’re flextastic, practice will help you rein in and protect your wily parts.
- Expensive/Gadgety Props. Nope, you don’t need that kitten-shaped block…OR the wicky wacky yoga towel that can suck up the entire Pacific Ocean. Two blocks, a strap, 2 blankets, + a bolster — this makes for a great kit. But they’re not musts either. You can always improvise — roll towels, use a belt, pillows, get creative!
- To Start Out Happy/Cheerful/Energetic/Fierce/Mindful. You just need to show the fuck up. Let your practice take care of the rest.
Time to strike a pose.
(artwork credit: samantha hahn)
Amen! Sing it sista!
i’m rappin’ it. ;)
A-effing men. Finally some real talk.
you know this, girl! :D
I would challenge you on #1.
Regarding yoga asana, my thought is that you could hurt yourself without a sticky mat trying to do standing poses which require you to ground down thru the toe mounds and heel. That is not easy to accomplish on a slippery carpet and quite uncomfortable on a hard flooring surface. I would really hate for someone to throw out their back or pull a groin muscle because they slipped in a muscular yang pose.
Furthermore, I was told my someone once that a mat is required for pranayama and meditation (which are in my opinion are just as important if not more so than yoga asana) that the mat disallows your chi or prana to dissipate into the earth. I don’t now if this is true but I have never practiced without a yoga mat.
Certainly, we do not need an expensive $100 manduka or jade mat to do yoga but there are plenty inexpensive yoga mats available at discount stores.
hi jennifer, thanks for taking the time to comment! i understand your points and we certainly don’t want any injured practitioners, ever. that said, yogis have been practicing on anything but the modern yoga mat for many, many, many years. and they lived to tell the epic tales.
and while there are great choices for inexpensive yoga mats, there are still people all over our planet whose lives could be transformed by yoga, but $10 for a mat may as well be $100. thank goodness there are amazing programs like Yoga Activist, The Bolder Mat’s Renew + Recycle, and Y.O.G.A. for Youth!
ultimately i want people to understand that you can practice anytime, anyplace, with just you. no barriers, no musts, no boundaries.
I think comparing how yoga ASANA was practiced and taught mindfully for centuries in India can not be compared to (in my opinion often unfortunate) Western mentality of yoga as a form of workout, often ego driven and often times competitive. I have seen handstand taught to a complete beginner with 3 yoga classes who had no body awareness what so ever and could have really hurt himself. When I began my yoga journey I was guilty of trying all kinds of crazy arm balances other advanced postures I had no right doing so early in my practice. As teachers we can preach self restraint, mindfulness, and listen to your body but often times the ego is very competitive in the West.
Therefore, my point is that a $10 mat is a very useful tool to help prevent injury in many yoga asana postures. I am not sure what “$10 may as well be $100 means” exactly. ??
Thank you for your comment and your blog. I am not trying to nit pick and I completely agree with the idea behind the post I just think that $10 is not a deal breaker to have a safe surface to practice on.
Hi Agreeing with Jennifer on point 1, I am very worried about advocating beginners to do certain postures on hard/slippery surfaces.
Yoga was taught in a 1-1 manner back in India with close supervision which is not how it is taught now in the west.
Postures like sirsanas (headstands) when done on slippery rugs or floors might lead to serious injuries if practitioners land too hard on a hard surface toe/knee first without control.
Hi Jennifer. Although I agree with you that we can hurt ourselves without a mat or something to protect us from falling. I have to say that, when I started practicing yoga (at home, through online classes), I didn’t have a yoga mat, and I practiced like that for 6 months. It’s depends on how it’s the floor at your house.
What ia your point? That you were lucky and did not hurt yourself for 6 months because you had the “right” floor?
It’s not about the “right” floor, “right” doesn’t really exist in Yoga.
Yoga in the “west” does have a type A culture….in a type A society. People are deeply attracted to yoga though because they are channeling something much deeper (hence why people aren’t just taking gymnastics, dance classes, or hitting up the gym.) now confusion has finally come in, because there is a lack of general understanding about the source code.
Yoga, Sanskrit: Yug, to unite. This a practice past dualities, no floor, no mat, it starts in the mind. Ha-Tha, Sun-Moon. Question, is there a right or wrong way the sun rises or the moon sets?
Yoga is Defined in the Gita as skill in action. In that text a person who has acquired Yoga can perform action in inaction (also know as action without effort and action without action, Buddhism is heavily influenced by Vedanta) this is not standing on your head performing gymnastics on a sticky mat, this was written prior to the Asana practice.
Of course they didn’t have ten dollar mats when Asana was invented/established /incorporated into the science, philosophy, and art of Yoga, people used earth and straw mats to connect within and without. Earth, Straw, the floor in your bedroom or living room it’s the same.
The confusion stops when we take the time to learn and share knowledge from its origin. Houses are built from the foundation, so is shared wisdom.
It’s like the difference between playing telephone and making a call, there is a Vedanta hotline. I gotta drop the mike now.
pure flow, Satya. love it when you’re on the mic. :D
Thanks for sharing your experience, Lorena! :)
I agree – sometimes I need to be reminded of this …………
(not the “ass looking hot” shit, but the “I don’t have this” or “I don’t have
that” or “I’m not happy today” stuff)
Great post! Thanks.
thank you! reminding + inspiring yourself = the magic sauce.
“Don’t break the piggy bank to matchy-match or make your ass look hot. If that’s your top priority, your head ain’t in the game, bitch. Come correct.”
You had me dying!!! Great article.
comments like this are like sunshine to the flowers in my heart. :) thank you!
Fancy pants. Come correct.
Love it! <3
water that fricken kool-aide down.
and then refuse to drank it!
D-Money! damn, girl. always so good to see you. :D i’m not a kool-aid fan, either, but there’s a helluva lot of it being passed around. smack it down again + again.