Guest Blog by Lucy Barrett

Yoga, I’m ashamed to admit, was always something I thought was pointless. Why go to an exercise class where all you do is stretch and breathe? I know perfectly well how to do both (or so I thought) so what’s to gain from it?

I couldn’t understand why anyone would opt for an exercise class that did not enable you to burn a thousand calories. Running, spin classes and weight lifting were my exercises of choice. I used each one as a way of punishing my body for my food intake: The extra takeaway meal or piece of cake I dared to consume over the weekend.

“To me, exercise was my bargaining tool – I could eat what I wanted as I would be able to burn it off at the gym, right? I was completely disconnected from my body.”

Yoga or ?

Falling in love with Yoga

Due to injury I decided to take a break from the gym. I realised I no longer wanted to go; it was just a routine that I had created and a habit I had formed. When I joined my first Morning Yoga Flow class, I got hooked instantly. I loved the slow pace of the class, and enjoyed that the focus was more on breathing and settling into each pose. I looked forward more and more to this Yoga Flow class each week. It got me excited to get out of bed and I felt so much more energised and at peace afterwards.

I was initially apprehensive before my first Yoga class. I, like many others, seemed to assume that only lean and very bendy people attend a Yoga class. My inner voice was telling me I wouldn’t ‘fit in’. Fortunately, any initial nerves quickly disappeared upon entering the studio. I got a warm greeting from the Yoga teacher which put me instantly at ease.

The aura of calming scents filled the room and I felt like I had stepped into a spa rather than an exercise studio. Years of attending the gym and hardcore cardio classes led me to believe that before starting a work-out I had to be ‘pumped’. I was used to the looks I would get from other gym goers, eyeing up each other’s bodies, and making comparisons about how my body looks compared to theirs.

”In Yoga, you quickly realise there is no judgement. Everyone comes to their mat and does whatever they feel they need to focus on.”

Yoga and Wine event Melbourne
Focus on yourself and forget about what everyone around you is doing

practice Yoga your way

A Yoga class often begins with the teacher guiding you to a comfortable seated position. You can also set your intention for the class which I think is such a valuable tool to use in everyday life. Setting an intention for the day and bringing yourself back to this throughout the day can help you become more present.

I realised it does not matter if I cannot do all of the Yoga poses suggested. Sometimes my body craves a more intense pose, other times I respect it needs a softer practice. Yoga is not about the pose itself, it’s about being connected with yourself and learning what feels good.

I thoroughly enjoy settling into Savasana at the end of the class, taking a few minutes to completely relax my body and clear my mind. Furthermore, I appreciate the ritual of bowing our heads to ‘seal the practice’ and honouring fellow Yogis with the simple word Namaste.

the importance of slowing down

I have come to really appreciate Yoga as a practice rather than an exercise class. Attending Jessica Dewar‘s donation based Yoga classes is now an important part of my morning routine. Her classes help me feel more calm and connected with myself. And all this before the day has officially begun! Yoga will not be for everyone as many do crave much faster paced exercise. There is nothing wrong with that. However, I do think – in today’s hectic world – it’s refreshing to try a slower pace.

Stop and smell the roses..

”Slowing down can feel uncomfortable at times as we are always told we need to be doing more, but sometimes taking our lives at a slower pace is all it takes to shift our mindset from one of busyness to one of calmness.”

If you think having a regular Yoga practice will make you lose weight, shed fat or tone up, then you need to think again. I am not saying these things won’t happen; you may well see more definition in your arms and legs through the intense poses you come to, you may end up losing some weight – but if this is your sole reason to attend a Yoga class I think you have it all wrong.

The right kind of Yoga motivation

The main motivation to have a Yoga practice should be to feel more connected with your body, Yoga should be a time where you can focus solely on yourself and really learn what feels good for your body and mind. It should not be seen as another ‘weight loss’ tool and should not be marketed as such.

The practice of Yoga most definitely works to keep your muscles and joints strong and supple for our later years, but most importantly, it’s a practice designed to “train the body and mind to become self observers”.

”In truth, Yoga is so much more than just the physical; if we flow through the poses simply going through the motions rather than fully connecting with ourselves, then we will not come to appreciate Yoga for the truly amazing practice it is.”

Lucy Barrett

My aim with this post is to share with you that our bodies do not always need a high intensity, fast paced, hardcore exercise routine in order to feel satisfied. The most important thing is that first and foremost, you should want to exercise and enjoy it. Doing a work-out should not be a forced feeling. If you dread going to the gym or going for a run – try something different, what’s the worst that could happen?

Also, forget thinking of exercise as a weight loss tool – the realms of ‘diet culture’ and the ‘fitness industry’ may sell it to you that we have to punish our bodies for what we eat and must use exercise as a weight loss tool is complete BS. Exercise should be used as a form of keeping our bodies, our joints supple for our later years, we should use exercise to respect our bodies movement, not to punish ourselves.

Why do you practice Yoga?

Be curious about the exercise you undertake on a regular basis. Do you enjoy it? What aspects of it do you enjoy? Are you able to create space in your schedule to achieve a better balance between high intensity workouts and gentle exercise such as stretching? What are your motivations for exercising? Do you do it to ‘keep your weight in check’ or do you do it because you love it?

About the author:

Lucy Barrett is a coffee lover, Elvis fan, Yoga enthusiast and founder of The Curious Being ( She’s on a journey to achieve a mind full of calmness, a body full of goodness and a soul full of kindness. She sparks the curiosity within others to challenge societal norms and joins the conversation about all things mental health, feminism, body positivity and food freedom.