Yoga the ancient art of twisting your body into a pretzel. That is what I used to think yoga was. I now know that it is so much more.
I have been practicing yoga on and off for most of my life. My Mom started doing yoga in the 60’s and it was always part of my life. I began a more regular yoga practice with my VHS tapes. At first, I wanted to lose weight and get more flexible. My tapes helped with that. I practiced a few times per week. As time went on I did not need to look at the T.V any more. I could flow through the poses with the instructor, in her unitarded (it was the 90’s) with ease. What I did not expect was that it began to ease my anxiety. As yoga created more flexibility in my muscles and joints, it started creating more flexibility in my mind.
Now as an instructor I love that the longer I practice there is always more to learn. I go deeper into poses that I have done a thousand times. I find new ways to more in and out of poses. When I take classes with other teachers I learn about new poses and new combinations of poses.
Every time I step on to my mat it is a new experience. My body reacts differently to the weather and what I ate and my practice changes. I find new ways to challenge my self on the mat. New clarity not only with my poses but with my mind. When I step on the mat with a problem in my life, I often step off after practice with some clarity.
Yoga is about bringing the mind and body together. Often my mind and body move at two different speeds. It is nice to have a place where I can bring the two together and feel whole again.
How you can start to love yoga too
1)Get on to the mat.
Whether you are practicing at home or in a class the first step is just getting on the mat. This is often the hardest step. We have busy lives and it seems hard to make the time to get on the mat.
2) Leave expectations at the door.
Don’t expect to push up into a head stand on your fist try. We beat ourselves up when we can’t bend as far as others. It is not about if we can touch our toes, it is about trying. When we leave our expectations behind we give space to enjoy the experience without judgment.
3)Invest in comfortable clothing
This may sound controversial or materialistic. This is not about spending a tone of money on designer yoga pants. Have in comfortable clothing that you can move around in is very important. When you feel uncomfortable in your clothing and you are constantly tugging at your pants and pulling your shirt down it is hard to be present and enjoy the experience.
4) Keep trying
Like anything worth doing, it is about practice. Come back to it over and over again. The more we do it the more we will fall in love with yoga.
You may be surprised by how yoga can transform your life in ways you would have never expected.