As a lifestyle, yoga has amassed a large, active, supportive community, which is interesting considering that it’s a meditative practice that’s mostly done silently (except for the occasional yoga toot).
Getting into the community of yoga can seem daunting, let alone the practice of yoga itself. Nobody wants to be the awkward ostrich in the land of super-fit swans. However, as communities go, there are few that are as welcoming as yoga.
“The biggest misconception is that people aren’t flexible or ‘in shape’ enough to practice,” says teacher Tiffany Warren of Moksha Yoga (223-233 Duckworth Street). “Yoga is really for every body. You’ll sometimes hear yoga teachers say ‘If you can breathe, you can do yoga’ because that’s where it really begins.”
That being said, it definitely pays to do your homework before diving in. While yoga classes are super-supportive, jumping in unprepared will be, at best, slightly uncomfortable for you.
As a first step to getting into the yoga scene, ask your friends and family members where they go. Yoga itself is a flexible practice – you can apply it to pretty much anything: strength, posture, mindfulness, balance, running. A quick Google will take you to studio websites which offer class descriptions. Most will specify who the class is targeted for.
“Hot yoga like Moksha is great, because the class and poses are accessible for those just starting out, up to seasoned practitioners,” says Warren. “Feel free to call studios and ask the teachers/owners questions. There’s an excellent chance we’ve practiced lots of different styles and we love to talk about it.”
How hot is hot yoga? Moksha is practiced in a heated room, between 35°C and 40°C. Bring water.
Warren teaches Moksha, Moksha Flow, Yogassage (a yoga/massage combo), Yoga for Runners and, in September, Yoga for Youth.
“The majority of new students at Moksha Yoga St. John’s find themselves either in a regular Moksha class, or at a Karma or Community class,” says Warren. “The Karma and Community classes cost $5 each. Both are the Moksha sequence and the difference is that the funds raised from Karma classes go to charity, and Community classes are led by new teachers fresh from Moksha training. I’ve also seen newcomers to Yoga for Runners as a form of cross-training.”
Before you hit up the mall for your full Lululemon transformation, you should know the basic equipment for yoga: a mat, and clothes you feel comfortable moving and sweating in, the same type of thing you’d wear to the gym or for a run. Remember: cotton is highly absorbent, so it’ll collect sweat until you’re sogged. As for the mat, most studios have them available for a small rental fee.
The yoga community continues to grow in St. John’s. On August 15, Moksha Yoga held their 4th Sunset Savasana on Signal Hill, which drew over 500 people.
“That event has grown so much since the first one, two years ago,” says Warren. “I’ve also participated in Yoga on George Street, and talked about the benefits of yoga at the Running Room. It’s events like that that really pique the interest in yoga in St. John’s.”