Resolution: How to Build Your Yoga Practice


Whether you're new to yoga or have years of practice, it's important to be realistic with your expectations. - COURTESY BRICK CITY YOGA
  • Whether you're new to yoga or have years of practice, it's important to be realistic with your expectations.

Welcome to the
Riverfront Times’ Five Days of Resolutions. Start living right.

If you want to contort your body into insane shapes and get killer abs and a brand-new bubble butt, well, maybe keep looking.

But if you want to slow down, chill and get back in touch with your mind and your body in the context of a supportive community while you shake off the … everything … of the past couple years, maybe this is your year for yoga.

Kate Ewing, founder of Brick City Yoga in Benton Park West, says that the mind-body focus of yoga is a great antidote for the stress, anxiety and isolation of modern life — all of which has been cranked to eleven during the pandemic. Sure, you might end up learning how to stand on your head, but that’s not really the point.

“Our mission has really never been to focus on the physical attributes of the yoga practices. If you look at our Instagram, I don’t post pictures of people in yoga poses,” Ewing says. “We don’t want new students to think they have to look a certain way or get into a certain shape to practice yoga. There’s obviously a lot of physical benefits, but there’s so much more than that. We focus a lot on meditation and breath work, tools students can use off the mat.”

During early-pandemic shutdowns, the studio moved into the virtual space, but the special sauce was missing an ingredient.

“We hopped on the online trend that was very popular during the first weeks and months, but it sort of leveled off,” Ewing says. “The classes were great, but what was missing was that sense of being around people.”

Whether you’re brand new to exercise in general or yoga in particular, or just looking to shore up a practice that might have lapsed, it’s important to be realistic with your intentions.

“The first thing is to pick a schedule that’s manageable, whether that’s amount of classes per week or time of the class,” Ewing says. “Trying to set a goal of wanting to take five yoga classes a week might set someone up for failure.” Skidding into a 5:30 p.m. class at 5:32 after hyperventilating through traffic after leaving work at exactly 5 isn’t exactly charting a course for nirvana, either.

Ewing encourages students to get in touch with instructors and ask questions about classes, too. (All of Brick City Yoga’s classes, including basics, are $10.) Let them know what you’re looking for and what your challenges are, and they can guide you toward the class that’s right for you.

Those ubiquitous January challenges, Ewing says, aren’t really viable introductions into building a practice that lasts.

“It’s not realistic to go through drastic changes every year over a 31-day period!” she says. “Really focus on what type of experience you want to be having with a physical practice, versus what outcome you want to have.”

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