I first tried yoga a few years ago. It didn’t end well. Despite the class being for beginnings, they didn’t cater to new starters. I told the instructor about problems I had – which was ignored, no alternatives given and I stopped when I was making thing worse.
I was too scared to try it again.
But I kept seeing it mentioned. Being an avid follower of Jenny in Neverland meant I couldn’t escape the positivity surrounding yoga.
When a flyer arrived introducing a new class to my local area, I figured it was time to try again. I started last September. I haven’t looked back since.
After a week spent sitting at a desk, literally my favourite thing is being able to properly stretch muscles and limbs while focusing on alignment. I feel my joints working for the first time in a week and my muscles get that really pleasant ache when you’ve worked them. It would be worth it just for the warm-up’s and cool down’s.
The type of yoga I do is far gentler than my gym sessions. But, as mentioned, you ache – you’re working your body in a softer way than pounding out 5k on the treadmill, challenging the muscles to loosen and stretch rather than making your heart race. It’s not about speed or strength, it’s about checking in with how you are feeling that day and how far you want to push yourself each week.
I am not flexible. My balance isn’t great. I have limited core strength (I’m working on it, people!). But by adding to the routine each week, I can see if yes, I do want to drop my hand lower or I am going to lift my leg higher. The satisfaction of wobbling one week and being able to hold the posture the following week is greater than any physical benefit.
Mindfulness and Breathing
I can pretty much guarantee I’ll get a good night sleep on a Thursday night. It’s the only day of the week when I get a solid hour where I only focus on my breathing and not on my never-ending-to-do-list. Taking the time to just check in with myself, allowing my thoughts to settle and concentrating only on my breathing is a lesson I’m taking away and trying to use when everything else is feeling overwhelming. Yoga is teaching me how to stop – and I’m not underestimating how important that is.
Does it matter how effectively it works you physically if you don’t enjoy it? It was a big deal for me to start a new class (thanks, social anxiety) and I was so nervous before my first one. Now – it’s the highlight of my week. It’s great people; it’s a laugh; and I thoroughly enjoy it every time – even on the nights when it is effort to run in from work and run straight out the door again.
Do you practice yoga? Is it something you want to start?
If you’re in the Essex area and looking to start yoga, I thoroughly recommend Feel Yoga. No pressure, no expectations, just a relaxed atmosphere to have fun and learn some new postures.