Whether you know your happy baby from your downward dog or are completely new to yoga, renowned yogi and author Hannah Barrett provides advice on starting (and perfecting) your practice
What tips would you give to someone starting yoga for the very first time?
It’s comforting to know that for most people, starting is the hardest part; particularly if you struggle with flexibility or strength! My advice is to find a class and teacher you love and to keep showing up. Ignore what anyone else is doing, tune into your body and make any modifications you need. Over time it is going to get easier, and you are going to see the most wonderful transformation in both body and mind. I have so many tips and tricks for people who are yoga beginners looking to find out more in my new book Yoga Happy.
What kinds of yoga practices (e.g. ashtanga, vinyasa) do you recommend?
I love most types of yoga! I feel like it completely depends on the person and what they need at that point in their life. For example, before having kids, pretty much every practice of mine was power or vinyasa. After having children, I needed to slow down. My more dynamic practice was mixed with restorative and nourishing classes to help balance my nervous system.
What benefits could people gain from a regular yoga practice?
There are a whole host of benefits which include increased flexibility, strength and mobility, improved posture, reduced stress and anxiety, better sleep quality and enhanced self-awareness.
How, where and when do you best like to practice yoga?
Again, this is something that has changed over the years. Back in my twenties it was first thing in the morning and in a yoga class setting. Now I love a 7pm practice at home after the kids are in bed. I feel like I can flow away the day and that my body is craving movement.
What sorts of challenges might beginners encounter when starting out?
It’s hard! The movements are foreign (your brain is literally saying “you want me to do what?”) and it can even seem completely inaccessible. The trick is going to a class suited for you in both style and level. You need a teacher that will help you modify for your body because in reality, pretty much every pose can be modified! One of my non-negotiables for writing Yoga Happy was that the poses in the book needed to show modifications to make them accessible for all.
Favourite brands for mats and yogawear?
Liforme has been my go-to yoga mat for over 6 years (my code HANNAHBARRETT gets you a discount too!). Yoga wears wise I love lots of different brands and I love that brand are becoming more sustainable now. Brands I wear include Ernest Leoty, Varley, Sweaty Betty, Lululemon, Free People and Oysho.
Hannah’s latest book, Yoga Happy (Quadrille, £20) is out on 27th January and available in all good bookshops.