Monday, 28 October 2013

Keep calm and practice yoga

It's been a few weeks since my last entry, so apologies to anyone who has been waiting.  

For several reasons it’s been a trying period recently, and it hasn't been a large leap for me to feel overwhelmed with things.  One of the reasons I wanted to try out yoga, apart from helping me get fitter, was to try and give myself some “me” time and relax more.   Admittedly my personality sometimes doesn't help me on that score.  I'm sometimes tightly-wound, and can too often dwell on negativity without seeing the positive.  With my mind constantly racing, finding that inner space is always welcome.

There’s no doubt that yoga is helping me find it, and here’s some of the main reasons why I’m finding the practice such a positive experience in terms of helping my relaxation:
  1. Focus – the asanas you practice take concentration.  Admittedly some much more than others, but with your mind learning to focus fully on each asana and trying to keep breathing and muscles all where they should be, there’s not much room for anything else to creep in to your noggin to bother you.
  2. Stretching – obviously yoga means a lot of this, and I’ve found that a session where I went along feeling wabbit at the start would see me leave feeling energised.  Some sessions even feel like you bounce out afterwards, as you're stretching muscles that are rarely used.  It’s an amazing feeling when it’s new to you, and hopefully I don’t lose it.
  3. Breathing – I've discussed breathing before, but since it’s so integral to practice, you can’t help but benefit from it in terms of helping you relax.  The steady, controlled breathing you learn gives you energy, but it also by default relaxes you.
  4. Savasana – this is the corpse pose that you adopt at the end of your session.  You lie there, clear your mind and just relax, feeling the positive effects of the asanas you've just undertaken.  To begin with it feels unusual, just being still and clearing your mind.  It almost feels the antithesis of keeping fit, but it’s actually a vitally important part of the process, allowing your mind and body to come back slowly to the real world after your practice.  I look forward to this part every time, and not only because I'm a lazy sod!
  5. The people – I've only been taught by two teachers so far, but both have been lovely, warm people who are positive to be around.   You can’t help benefit from being around a person who is relaxed in themselves and who understands the benefits of yoga practice.  As well as learning how to practice yoga, you also take something of that person’s approach to life.   If you’re around negativity all the time, and like me are often guilty of it yourself, being around people who take the opposite view on life is liberating in itself.

All of these benefits are real to me, and even only a couple of months in I feel a better person for my limited exposure to yoga practice.  I'm still a curmudgeon, but little by little that part of me is lessening. 

I sense the more I can engage with yoga the more positively I will be able to live my life.  

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