Running a business, household, family…. The list goes on and often the common word is running – we are all running about ‘doing’ things and often not very present in our day-to-day lives.
I can speak from experience because I, too, am a ‘busy business owner’, but over the years, through yoga and meditation, I have learned to carve out time in my days and weeks for yoga and meditation, and I can honestly say it has been transformative.
I’m more focused, present in my day, relaxed, strong… the list goes on.
What’s also interesting is that I am not a flexible person, nor was I ever good at gymnastics or anything similar – I am just a regular person of moderate fitness.
There is a common misconception that you must be flexible and fit to practice yoga, but this is not the case, and I hope this interview with Jaina, one of Manchester’s best-known teachers sheds some light on this.
Jaina and I will be hosting a live free yoga on Instagram every other Friday morning so if you like the sound of the benefits of yoga pop over to @hannahbeaumontlaurencia and tune in with us this week.
I sat down with Jaina to talk about how Yoga can help transform your life.
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There are so many types of yoga – can you break them down for us so people can understand what the best one might be for them?
In my opinion, all yoga is Hatha Yoga. The word Yoga (Yuj) means union or to unite.
There are numerous yoga styles to choose from, including Hatha Yoga, Flow Yoga, Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga, Iyengar Yoga, Jivamukti Yoga, Mandala Yoga, Siv, Rocket, Kundalini, Acro & Aerial Yoga, and many more.
Ultimately, we should select a style based on our intention or goal, as each yoga can promote different physical and mental benefits.
If you’re new to Yoga and haven’t done much physical activity, I recommend starting with a Hatha Yoga, Chair Yoga, or Flow Yoga class to get you started and build confidence.
If you are used to physical exercise, you may want to try one of the Vinyasa-style practices or even switch to a Yin Yoga practice to balance and complement your high-intensity training regimen.
Tell me about your yoga journey and how you came to specialise in Prenatal and Postnatal / Baby Yoga
I’ve been practicing for twenty years, and I can vividly remember my first group yoga lesson at the university. I distinctly recall how much I cherished the practice of moving and concentrating on some me-time away from the commotion.
I occasionally practiced yoga, but it wasn’t until 2010 that I started practising more consistently – three times a week. I was having trouble in my profession at the time, so I made the calculated decision to educate, train and become a yoga teacher. I didn’t know where this would lead me, but here I am now 20 years since my first class and still loving every minute.
A few friends and family members were expecting their first children, and I wanted to make the yoga classes available to them.
I was already aware of the benefits of yoga, but I didn’t fully comprehend how to tailor the practice to them. I trained with a pre and postnatal yoga school and loved it! It was empowering; I wanted women, babies, children, and families to benefit from everything I had learned. It is my passion to continue sharing and supporting everyone I meet.
What are the benefits of yoga?
Yoga Lifestyle is not just an exercise class, breathing or stretching, it is much more than the tangible body.
There are so many benefits from practising, yoga including physical and mental benefits.
Yoga asana (poses) physical practice supports our muscles, joints, bones, range of motion and our internal systems – respiratory, adrenal, urinal, digestion, and cardio systems.
As we get older our bodies start to slow down, movement becomes restricted, and we may pick up injuries along the way, but we can stay youthful and pain-free with the practice of Yoga.
If you have any respiratory difficulties, struggle to sleep, have HBP or struggle with anxiety practising Yoga pranayama (breathing exercise) can significantly improve and reduce these symptoms.
Breathing exercises are said to increase our mental health and emotional responses.
You can read more about these on the yoga journal’s website.
What have been the most incredible results from your students to date?
It’s hard to measure the results of yoga, there isn’t an app. However, I would recommend journaling (writing) and video your practice.
Here are a few moments and examples I’d like to share of some incredible results.
I am a living and breathing example of yoga’s benefits. Yoga has supported me through lots of challenges including losing my Papa and Mother-in-law to cancer and changing my career to supporting my mother who struggles massively with her mental health.
These are also the reasons why I am so passionate about sharing this amazing system can really get us out of the dark and into the light.
Throughout my years of teaching, I have witnessed amazing results from my students. People begin practising yoga for a variety of reasons, some simply to be active, and others to improve their health.
One student had high blood pressure, and I am pleased to report that her blood pressure returned to normal levels after she practised the breathing exercises from our class for 5 – 10 minutes every day.
Another student had eczema and used my guided meditation and breathing to relax her nervous system, which helped her skin.
The skin is often irritated because our internal system (which I refer to as our internal ecosystem) is in fight or flight mode and overworked, overwhelmed, stressed, or displaying signs that we need to slow down and take care of ourselves.
How often should you practise to see/feel the benefits?
I wouldn’t put too much pressure on yourself if you’re new to yoga. Practice as much as you can, but try to be consistent, once a week is a good goal.
Determine how you want to feel and explore different styles of yoga,
try different times of the day and teachers to determine what works best for you.
If you’ve been practising for a while and want to reap the benefits, I recommend doing so 2 to 3 times per week.
As you develop your practice, your body and mind will naturally change, as will your practice.
And if you practice yoga asana (physical) every day, be mindful and incorporate mindful slower practices, including Hatha or Yin yoga, meditation, and mantra practice to balance the Yang (physical practice.) I use gratitude practice to stay humble and grounded in my authentic self.
Does it matter if you are flexible/athletic/fit to practice yoga?
Definitely not! Yoga should be accessible to people of all abilities and levels. If you are concerned, talk to the teacher before class. I am confident that they will assist in modifying the practice and making it more accessible to people of all abilities.
Manchester is home to some outstanding teachers. I will be happy to share them with you.
If you could give one piece of advice for the Manchester community to support their well-being what would it be?
Remember you are investing in yourself, the work you put in now is going to benefit you in ways you cannot imagine in the future.
This doesn’t mean life will be without challenges, but your yoga practice will help guide you through these challenges. You just have to trust yourself and believe in Yoga.
Jaina is the owner of Yoga with Jai, an Experience Registered Yoga teacher.
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Thank you for reading, this article was written by Hannah Beaumont-Laurencia CEO of Beaumont Organic.