In quarantine, a lot of us have picked up new habits to help pass the time. For some that’s cooking, reading, working out and maybe even taking up an online course. Or maybe you’re someone who’s thinking about delving into yoga and have some questions about it. Lucky for you, our expert of the week, Raasti Said might just be able to answer some for you. Raasti has been certified in Ashanti Vinyasa as well as Aerial Yoga, and is the founder of Yoga Lift – a space that provides yoga and strength training to the eager minds. This week she offered her expertise to Mashion and answered some of the questions you all had sent in regarding yoga. Scroll down to read the 7 things she taught us:
1. It’s All About Harmony
We all associate yoga with a feeling of peace and zen, but it really is about achieving that inner satisfaction. It requires you to be in touch with your mind and body, and is a form of meditation. Our expert says “the purpose of yoga is to help you live in harmony with yourself and with others.”
2. Flexibility Comes With Consistency
A lot of us are terrified of the thought of starting yoga because we associate it with flexibility and extreme postures, but as Raasti says, that all comes from ‘practice, practice and practice.” No one expects you to be doing complicated yoga postures with ease right from the onset, but the more you do something, the easier it gets. “You may be really stiff in your first class, but I can give you a 100% guarantee that your body will open up more with every class.”
3. Yoga CAN Make You Lose Weight
Because yoga doesn’t involve extreme cardio, a lot of people doubt its ability in making one lose weight, but yoga isn’t only about improving posture and flexibility. Raasti says that it will not only make one lose weight, but also build their strength. “The physical practice of yoga burns calories and increases your muscle mass, therefore increasing your metabolism and your body’s ability to keep fat off.”
4. Yoga Is Scientifically Proven To Be Able To Reduce Stress
As most of us are aware, yoga is about a connection between the mind and body. Every movement in yoga is synced to your breath and according to Raasi, as you slow your breathing, your heart rate also slows down, which has a profound effect on your nervous system. “Just one yoga class immediately reduces levels of the stress hormone cortisol in your body, and increases levels of endorphins or ‘feel good’ hormones.” Some of the postures that Raasti recommends to relieve stress are child’s pose, chest opener and legs up the wall. With the stress of the current pandemic, you’ll be glad to know that Yoga Lift is providing online classes 6 days a week for those of us who need a healthy medium to let go of all that tension!
5. Anyone Can Do Yoga
Raasti wants to clear the misconception that you can’t do yoga if you’re overweight or not flexible – anyone can do yoga! “If you have a healthy and uninjured body, you can do yoga!” Even if you do have an injury for example a back problem, you can still do yoga as long as you do it with the help of a certified instructor who is able to give you one on one attention, and tailor the postures according to your needs. Do not attempt to do yoga without an instructor if you have any kind of injury! Similarly if you’re pregnant, Raasti recommends reaching out to prenatal certified instructors for guidance such as Haya B. Chhapra, Zarmina Faisal or Saba Danawala.
6. The Best Time To Do Yoga Is The Time That Works For You
Everyone has a different schedule and while it might work for some to do yoga in the morning, it doesn’t necessarily work for everyone. Raasti says, “Any time that you can practice consistently every day without being disturbed” is the best time to do yoga. “Some yogis prefer mornings, some late afternoons or early evenings. Find what works for your schedule.”
7. Aerial Yoga Is Empowering
Raasti describes aerial yoga as an empowering and beautiful practice. Through aerial yoga you do the same poses that you would on a yoga mat, but you use a hammock that’s suspended from the ceiling as a prop to support you through the various flows. Raasti says “the fabric really opens and strengthens the body. The inversions aid blood flow and lymph circulation around the body to cleanse it of toxins.” It also happens to be our expert’s favourite type of yoga practice for this reason!