Yoga for…why yoga isn’t right for everything | Kat Farrants

Yoga for

You can’t yoga yourself out of every situation. Kat Farrants reflects on the limitations of yoga and on why she only promotes what she truly believes in.

I’m in love with yoga and have been practicing for around 25 years now. Yoga really does help in some magical ways with so many things. I discussed this with Adam Hocke in our chat this week for our podcast. Yoga is a really amazing tool for management of the nervous system, for learning how to breathe through life’s challenges (oh my, this is really what has seen me through dark times). But for improving every area in overall fitness? Well, sometimes there are some better tools in achieving fitness goals.

>>Listen to Kat and Adam chat about breathing through life’s challenges<<

Yoga for ….?!?!?!

Now I know that, in an era where we have ‘yoga for …’ you name it, everything comes at the end of those two words. We have yoga for weight loss; for strength; for cardio. And it slightly maddens me. Because yoga is an absolutely essential (in my opinion!) tool in my tool kit for transforming my mood; transforming my relationship with myself and my body and transforming my connections with other people.

Reasons to do yoga

Yoga is a wonderful tool for giving my joints mobility for keeping mobile, for my posture, for keeping space in my spine and for a feeling in my body of lightness and freedom. Yoga, Qigong and mindful movement have significantly improved my flexibility and strength, and give me a sense of wellbeing that very few other things can consistently do.

So these are some wonderful reasons that I practice every day. 

My mum’s daily yoga practice has actually resulted in a reversal of her osteoporosis and certainly an increase in her happiness and energy levels. She practices for about an hour, to MFML, diligently every single day. Her back ache disappears on days she practices, and when she misses a day, it comes back.

My dad finds that his daily before bed stretch helps him to forget the worries of the day.

And I find myself feeling lighter, uplifted and I’m just a nicer person to be around on the days that I practice. And I’m aware that as I get older, it’s so important to maintain good movement and overall health, and I think that as an overall way of feeling happier and healthier, it’s the best.

So you see, there are loads of different reasons for practicing, and I’m sure that you have your reasons too (I’d love for you to share them in the comments below!).

The limitations of a yoga practice

I really enjoyed the conversation in the podcast with Adam because it’s just so fascinating and of course refreshing to hear a yoga teacher, very candidly, say what the limitations of a yoga practice are. Yes, he also of course knows what a game-changer for management of the emotions, management of the nervous system and giving us all the ability to breathe through challenging times yoga is. What a blessing it is to have this tool! I certainly found this when I was going through my divorce and the healing after my car crash, that yoga was just amazing at getting me back on track and help me recover emotionally from all the turmoil. 

But yoga isn’t the ‘fitness’ solution that many have it to be. As Adam says in his podcast, there are so many things that it doesn’t do. It isn’t great at cardio -and in fact I really think that there’s a lot of damage that can be done from doing very fast vinyasa, as repeated misalignment can cause injury.

Fast Vinyasa, Mindful Movement and Physical Fitness

I spent years in my younger days feeling very feisty, wanting something swift to take my energy out on, and choosing fast vinyasa classes. The classes were really fun, but I’d really have done better to go out for a run and then do something more mindful. Of course if we’re doing something fast, or are tired, there’s less mindfulness and a greater chance we’ll fall out of alignment and hurt ourselves. And I do have yoga injuries from falling out of alignment repeatedly and also from creative sequencing where I wasn’t moving mindfully.

Although we turn to yoga to benefit our heath, it is possible to cause injury during practice. But practicing mindfully really does reduce the chances of injury. So if you’re looking to increase your heartbeat, go for a run (or in my case, i do daily hill walking). And then come to the mat, or if you need some strength training, perhaps go to the gym, or (as I do!) play physically with your dogs or anyone who likes physical play (children?!). And the mat.

Coming Home

I know that it would sell more yoga to adopt one of the crazes, like weight loss yoga, yoga burn, yoga shred, yoga weights – all of the things we see advertised and selling really well, there’s such a popularity boom in this kind of practice. But perhaps I’m a bit of a stickler when I say that I’ll only promote teachers and practices that I truly believe in.

There has to be fostered a sense of ‘coming home’ to yourself. That yoga is maybe the one place that you really are perfect exactly as you are. Yes, you can do the workouts, do the cardio, do the strength training. And then onto your mat to remind yourself that, one breath at a time, peacefully, with no need for particular goals or striving, with no need to buy anything or show anyone, no need to take photos or tell others, you are already home.

Passion – it’s not a workout!

About Kat Farrants:

Movement for Modern Life’s fabulous founder Kat Farrants lives her yoga and her own yoga practice informs how she develops MFML. Kat wrote this post using inspiration of how she can take the small steps to move into a happier, healthier and more sustainable life. Please do join her on this journey and explore with us your happiest, healthiest, most sustainable life.


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