I’ve been going to yoga classes, on and off, funds-dependant, since around 2015. For the last 6 months I’ve been able to go once a week and I’m really hoping I can keep this up. Here are some of the reasons why I bloody love doing yoga (and maybe you would too):
Aside from riding my bike and dancing (in my bedroom, or otherwise), yoga is my favourite form of exercise – especially because, like riding my bike and dancing, I don’t see it as exercise whilst I’m doing it. I’m aware if I’m out of breath, shaky, sweaty or in need of a rest, but these are part of the experience and not purely why I’m doing the yoga.
Even after just 6 months of doing it once a week, I feel noticeably stronger – especially in my core. I’d not previously realised my core muscles weren’t just in my stomach but in my back, bum and thighs too. It’s so much easier to have better posture now and objects (which haven’t somehow magically changed density) seem lighter.
There are different options in a class for you to take, dependant on what your body’s able to do. Some postures may come easy for you, some may be hard or harder on particular days, but it’s all ok. You can take whichever options best for you that day. It doesn’t reflect anything other than where you’re at, at that moment.
Everybody in the class is at a different place with yoga and their body. The idea isn’t to compare yourself with anyone else but to see where you are at, week to week.
You are making your body stronger and more flexible by pretty much just using your body itself (and gravity!). There a props you can use – blocks, straps, bolsters – if a particular posture isn’t immediately accessible for you, but you aren’t using a machine or apparatus, you are using your body to help out your body. I like the simplicity of this.
One day you can suddenly do a move or a posture that you weren’t previously able to do, simply because you’ve been repeating the act of aiming to do the posture. It feels so good and light once it all comes together! There’s no pushing yourself to the point of collapse or hurt, just gently finding out where your boundaries are and breathing in to them each week. Slowly your body relaxes and becomes stronger. It feels like a loving way to strengthen your body, rather than a punishing one.
It’s an hour a week I dedicate to moving my body in a mindful way; an opportunity to get out of my head and really into my body.
All yoga teachers bring something different to their class – things you haven’t tried before, style of teaching, pace, tips, insights, music! I’m luckily able to mix up classes and teachers at the yoga studio I go to so I have a really varied experience each week. Some experiences are less enjoyable for me than others, but there is pretty much always something I can take away from it.
It’s great to be surrounded by people who are there for similar reasons. You can be carried along by their enthusiasm and focus.
I’ve somehow committed to early morning classes! It’s really challenged my opinion of what I can manage, especially after doing afternoon/evening shift work for so long. It’s much, much harder in the winter months, but so lovely when you hit spring and you can actively notice the mornings getting lighter each week. A great way to start the day.
It’s a serious practice but it has lightness to it. If you fall over, lose the posture, need a break – it’s all ok. Just start again where you are. Relax, smile! It’s best to make a committed effort in order to get the most out of your practice but always whilst directing kindness towards yourself. You are where you are and there’s nothing to achieve other than to commit to doing what you can do that day. A great way to approach life, too 😉