I've been dabbling in Yoga for about 15 years; I did my first Yoga class at college. It didn't rock my world at all - I was of the ?go hard or go home? attitude at this stage and Yoga really didn't cut it in my eyes! But I kept at it for a very good reason, I believed - to have arms like Jennifer Anniston. I'm serious. So, just to clarify, she lied when she said she got those arms from yoga alone but that's another post.
As I say I dabbled for a while, I never really committed to Yoga but I was always, always drawn back to it - I don't know why. I remember a teacher saying to me once ?It's not your time yet, you're not ready?. Initially I was annoyed and thought, I'll show her, I'll do the best downward facing dog thingamajig she has ever seen in her life - this is, of course the absolute opposite of what Yoga is. It's not about proving anything to anyone - it's a personal practice.?I have to admit though, she was right. At that point I wasn't ready to give it the time and energy I needed. I let it be and eventually the time came when I felt I could slow down a little and take Yoga a bit more seriously. Now don't get me wrong, when I say 'seriously', I mean going once or twice a week. I began to really enjoy it for different reasons; it wasn't just about the arms! It was my calm, safe place in the week, just for me and now I am hooked.
I did my yoga teacher training with the wonderful teachers at Samadhi Yoga and it truly has been a game changer for me. It has had an impact on pretty much all areas of my life. I'm still mad old me; I still wake up some mornings and want to throw the alarm clock out the window but it has given me tools to, not just deal with life, but embrace it.
Yoga has given me a huge sense of acceptance. Body Love is something I think a lot of us struggle with - truly accepting our body for what it really is, fully and entirely. Embracing the changes it goes through, being patient with it, being kind to it and loving it for all its imperfections - truly. Yoga has shown me that no matter how your body looks on the outside, the inside is where your real strength comes from. This is incredibly true. But this takes time to really believe, it takes practice!
Yoga has taught me how resilient my body can be and also how vulnerable it can be. It's ok to go easy, it's ok to slow down, it's ok to BE. Go with your energy whatever it is today - a message that can sometimes be lost in the fitness world.
We all know that if our mind is strong and motivated our lives tend to be also? most of the time. Practicing Yoga has brought me more in touch with my mind, with my thoughts and has helped to give me some perspective on these.
The true meaning of the word Yoga is - The cessation of the modifications of the mind - which basically means trying to stop the chitter chatter that goes on in our minds. When we practice we try to focus on the breath, we try to connect within and this really helps to take our focus away from whatever it is that's taking over our minds. I feel a lot calmer with Yoga in my life, I feel a lot more patient and when I practice regularly and am surrounded by lovely fellow yogis I genuinely feel uplifted, inspired and really grounded.
During the course we learned a lot about the philosophy of Yoga which was incredibly interesting. Practicing Yoga isn't just about the physical body, the asana or postures. It is also about how we treat ourselves and others? what is known as Yamas and Niyamas. We can all live ?Yogic? lives and practice yoga daily without stepping on our mats. By treating people with kindness, compassion, respect and also treating ourselves with the same, we are practicing the true spirit of Yoga. Being aware of this and mindful in everything we do is made easier when I practice regularly.
I am so grateful for Yoga. And just as I have done on my fitness journey, I have met some amazing people on my Yoga journey - special people.
I truly believe we need a balanced, positive approach to everything - Yoga and Fitness. Doing what is right for you, what resonates with your life right now is massively important. Don't just do it for Jennifer Anniston arms or because it's the new cool hashtag? it's pointless. Do it because you want to, do it because it makes you feel inspired, uplifted, motivated and alive.