How to Practice (Not Perform) Yoga

September 4, 2015
danielle shine chef shine

When I first began practising yoga, it was merely to move my body but I very quickly discovered it also moved my mind. It shifted my thoughts into a realm of calm, quiet and non-judgemental contemplation. Hugely powerful stuff for me. Yoga continues to change my life – little by little, every time I take to the mat, I’m transformed to a place where nothing else matters except for the steadiness of my breath and the strength of my body.

Yoga pushes me. Not in a way that makes me feel inferior if I can’t ‘nail’ a particular pose during a particular practice. It pushes me to support myself, to feel how amazing my body is regardless of its shape or size. I appreciate myself more because of yoga. I breathe better because of yoga. I truly believe I chose not to give up when my health took a turn for the worst a few years ago. Without yoga, I may have submitted to the selfish, destructive thoughts in my mind that told me to stop caring about my body.

Yoga is a practice. It takes time and patience. It takes you + your mat, flowing, breathing and feeling each pose. Until you understand and alter each pose to feel comfortable for you, you are not practising yoga – your performing someone else’s yoga. As a qualified yoga instructor, I often hear people say their ‘downward dog isn’t great’, their ‘handstand isn’t steady enough’ or how they wish they could perform some type of back bending, spine twisting, almost-always-ridiculously-dangerous-looking pose displayed on someone’s instagram account.

My advice? Work with what you’ve got. Breathe with your lungs. Flow with your body. Start on your mat. Sit and be still. When you’re ready, flow and feel. Only then you will begin to really understand yoga. Only then, you will begin to really practice yoga.

I wish you well on your yogic journey. Namaste.

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  • Reply Grace September 9, 2015 at 12:15 am

    Ahhh!!!!!! I needed this, thanks Danielle. I am new to yoga but feel like it’s not mine yet. I am going to try your videos in the privacy of my own home. Your voice is so soothing and the messages at the end of each video are so beautiful. You are truly a very special person. Thank you for all you contribute to this world, namaste xox

    • Reply Danielle Shine September 9, 2015 at 3:25 pm

      Thanks Grace, give it time and be patient with yourself. Move with intent and love in your heart for yourself and soon enough you’ll be practising YOUR yoga x

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