When Marta decided to return to sports after her second motherhood, she opted for yoga. She had heard very good things about him and she thought it would be a good way to “get back into the swing of things.” She saw running, which was what she did before getting pregnant, as a little “heavy.” “Besides, a little disconnection and relaxation couldn’t hurt,” she says with a smile.
However, what she found in that first contact left her “crazy.” She went to the gym a few minutes earlier to see what the class before hers was like and when she saw the “domination” of the students – “some much older than me,” she laughs – she got scared. “I’m a stick and those people made figures that looked like acrobats to me.” Today, a year after the scene, she knows by heart the names of several postures that she does with ease. “If I could…” she says.
Yoga is a discipline that has a lot of pull. According to research by the Reebok firm, after confinement, more than 5.6 million people practice it in Spain, which represents 12% of the population. And no, not everyone has flexibility worthy of an Olympic gymnast. “Everyone can do it,” confirms the well-known yoga teacher Xuan Lan, who sweeps the networks with almost 700,000 followers on Instagram. The thing about flexibility, she confirms, is a myth: “If you can’t touch your feet with your hands, nothing happens.” In her opinion, what matters is practicing, even if you are as stiff as a stick.
The first thing is to look for a teacher or a class adapted to our level, in this case, beginners. And not wanting to move faster than our body can. “Instead of 60-minute sessions, start with fifteen minutes,” advises the expert. First, because this allows us to do it at any time: “It’s how long it takes to have a coffee.” And second, because it won’t knock you out and you can continue practicing.
Another way is with the book ‘Yoga for stiffs’ by the British illustrator Marion Deuchars, which addresses the introduction to yoga in a different and fun way. Through an endearing crow, the artist teaches us how to achieve certain asanas. «Start little by little and don’t force your body. If the position is uncomfortable, come out of it slowly,” she recommends. It also happens to her that certain movements don’t come out. For example, the plow, an inverted posture that is only good “in dreams.” Still, she does not despair… and she points out another important thing: “Don’t compare yourself to others.”
Look at the sky
Another question that every novice asks is how many times you have to get down to work with this discipline. “To obtain benefits, three times a week is fine,” says Xuan Luan. It certainly doesn’t seem like an ambitious starting point at all. And yet, we will begin to notice the benefits immediately. “Yoga is a set of exercises that combine mobility and strength,” explains this Vietnamese woman raised in Paris, who has lived in New York and is now settled in Spain. «It is a very complete discipline that everyone should practice, even those who do another sport. He can help you with it! », She maintains.
As? “It prevents injuries, releases tension in certain muscles, improves our posture,” she lists. The latter is increasingly necessary because “with the use of laptops and cell phones, we spend the day hunched over, looking down… . Yoga ‘forces’ you to look at the sky and stretch.”
Originally from India, he was born to “connect body and mind through breathing.” To do this, different postures are included (what are called asanas in Sanskrit), stretching, breathing and meditation. “Flexibility is only one part and comes with repetitions and gradual practice,” explains Xuan Lan. So if the Sun Salutation doesn’t come out the first time or the second time, absolutely nothing happens.
“The key is regularity,” he admits. And the good thing about this discipline is that you can start at any time and without needing much equipment. «You’re not going to sweat hardly and you don’t need the ‘super outfit’ either. Comfortable clothes that allow you to move, and a mat is more than enough. Another tip from the expert is to choose easy sessions until we feel more confident.
The ideal is to start with the basic postures, which are not called that because they are simple, but because they are “the fundamental ones.” At first, “you will have to adapt them, but then you can do them as is.”
– Give me an example.
– To continue with the idea of touching your feet with your hands: there is no point in doing it just to do it. Before forcing yourself and damaging yourself, stay as far as you can, lengthening your back. That day will come when you achieve it, but first you have to develop that mobility.
With the basic exercises already mastered, you can launch into the more advanced ones, but without thinking that this is a speed race.
– Can you do yoga if you are not attracted to the spiritual part?
– Yes. Many people enter through the physical part, in fact.
What is important is choosing a good teacher. “The first thing is that you must be trained and have experience,” says Xuan Lan, who also has an academy. But “the ‘feeling’ that the student has with him” is very important. If you don’t connect, try another one.