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The secret tool for ultimate life success

Yoga has evolved from a hippy hobby, to a yummy mummy obsession, to a modern mainstream outlet for stress. But it is so much more than downward dog. What if it could be a means for living a life of success in all areas? Anita Chaudhuri delves deeply into the eight limbs of this ancient practice to find out

My yoga routine used to be so simple. Every Tuesday evening, I would roll up my mat, don a pair of trackie bottoms and my trusty Tank Girl T-shirt, and head off to the local community centre. Two hours later, I’d be back home, spiritually enlightened and ready for sleep.

But that was before…Before yoga meant travelling to a far-flung retreat or the hipster studio way across town… Before the DKNY mat and the Lululemon ‘Vinyasa to vino’ tote bag… And long, long before the rise of the now obligatory ‘yoga selfie’. Nowadays, going to a yoga class can be fraught with anxiety, even for an old hand like myself. Where did I leave my Manuka lotus tee? Oh no, I forgot to have a pedicure! Should I take my own yoga mat to the Kundalini workshop, or will that look a bit obsessive? I’m feeling a little creaky today, what if I can’t keep up?

And all that is assuming you can find a suitable class at all. The yoga landscape grows ever more baffling, in a sense, a victim of its own success. Long-established schools of yoga – Iyengar, Ashtanga and Hatha – have been eclipsed by crowd-pleasing gimmicks that have recently included nude yoga, snowga, yoga with animals including doga (yoga with your dog), equine yoga and goat yoga (small goats use your cat or cow pose as a climbing frame), karaoke yoga and even ‘rage yoga’, in which you swear your head off in order to ‘purify’ your anger. Needless to say, this has created a good deal of confusion, particularly for those just embarking on their yoga journey.

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About Psychologies

The latest issue of Psychologies is now available to download. Featuring: Reinvent your life with Yoga, Grown-up gap year, Face-reading, Free online coaching plus much more