25 May Yoga 101 with Annabelle Vincent, Strala Yoga Guide from Canada
“Yoga is a powerful tool for connecting back to the calm, relaxed version of ourselves. Practiced in this way, yoga will never injure you, stress you out, or ruin your day. It can be a whole lot of fun!” - Annabelle Vincent
Yoga and meditation have proven to provide health benefits when practiced on a daily basis. It strengthens body connection, reduces stress level, and improves fitness and body awareness. Today, we have the privilege to interview Annabelle Vincent, a Strala yoga guide from Toronto, Canada to share her experience and knowledge.
A little bit about myself
I am a Strala yoga guide and holistic nutritionist from Canada.
How long have I been doing yoga?
I have been practicing for 5 years and teaching for 2 years.
What am I doing yoga for?
I started practicing yoga to help deal with anxiety. The practice has evolved throughout the years of practicing and leading classes, and what I need changes every day. On a physical level, I am practicing to ensure my body has a healthy balance between flexibility, strength, stability and mobility, to heal and remain injury-free, to deal with back pain and old injuries. On an emotional level, I practice in a way that mirrors how I want to practice everything in my life. When I practice yoga in an easy-going, calm way, it becomes easier that day to approach simple and challenging situations I face in my day to day life in an easy-going, calm way.
How yoga is helpful in my daily life?
How we do one thing is how we tend to do all things, and the practice of yoga provides a great space to practice being you. There are different ways to approach yoga - as a linear, pose-to-pose sequence that is stiff and tense, or as a constant movement with no endpoints, which can look different on everybody and constantly challenges you to find the easiest, most natural way possible to move your body. Switching my practice from stiff and tense to soft, natural and easy-going, has naturally affected how I do all other things in my life. It’s a continuous process, but when I practice regularly I can really notice how on days that I don’t practice I feel more tense, get more anxious and seem to run into more walls in my day to day life with communication and relationships.
Do’s and Don’ts
I am a firm believer in that everybody is different, and there are no real set “rules” on how to practice yoga. Of course, some safety things have to be considered, particularly when people are used to practicing a more intense, pose-focused yoga that can injure them. As long as you are breathing deep, softening with every exhale, feeling rather than posing, and moving how it feels good for you to move, you can’t go wrong. I’ve spent a lot of time studying different styles and ways of practicing yoga, and I find this approach turns the practice into something accessible, sustainable and enjoyable for every person of every age, body type and background.
What are the advantages of yoga over other exercises?
The interesting thing about yoga is that you are using your whole body, as well as your mind. When practiced in an easy-going way, you can literally move your way into your parasympathetic nervous system, which allows your body and mind to relax, your brain to see more possibilities and your mind to become more creative. Most other forms of exercise keep you stuck in your sympathetic nervous system - the fight or flight mode we are all habitually in in our modern lives. Your power goes to your limbs, your ability to see and think narrows, your body is bathed in stress hormones! Great for fighting off a tiger, but not such a great place to practice being in. Yoga is a powerful tool for connecting back to the calm, relaxed version of ourselves. Practiced in this way, yoga will never injure you, stress you out, or ruin your day. It can also be a whole lot of fun!