I love Sunday mornings when you step outside, the birds are singing and there’s not a soul in sight. It’s such a tranquil feeling.
On route to the gym I plug in earphones and listen to meditation music, it’s so calming at the start of the day. I’m loving “Music for Mindfulness” classical album. Track 19 The Earth Prelude takes me into a whole different headspace.
It makes me smile when I realize that I’ve ditched Saturday nights out for early Sunday morning Yoga Flow sessions. I think it’s safe to say, I’m finally growing up! The class has a real sense of calm which I’ve come to realize is my preferred choice of yoga.
I thought I’d start with a definition of Yoga, so thank you Google for always being there:
a Hindu spiritual and ascetic discipline, a part of which, including breath control, simple meditation, and the adoption of specific bodily postures, is widely practised for health and relaxation.
I wrote a short blog on Yoga a few months ago but decided it warrants more attention. There are so many reasons you should check out a local class, but before you do, it’s worth knowing that there are so many different types of Yoga and it may take a while to figure out which you prefer. There’s Astanga, Bikram, Hot Yoga, Restorative to name but a few. I think it’s important to read up on the different styles of Yoga and their benefits before throwing yourself into the deep end like I did. I started with Astanga, a fast-paced class that was way too challenging for me as a beginner.
Yoga Flow is at the top of my list, it has a number of benefits to the physical body but also helps to calm the mind and ease stress. It’s all about finding a connection between the body and the mind to help bring more balance into your life. It’s unreal how you feel after a class, I feel so light and my mind is clear.
Since practising Yoga, I have undergone such a transformation with my strength, flexibility and body shape. I’ve always been lucky enough to have a flat stomach but after attending regular yoga classes for just over a year, I have much more muscle definition, particularly in my stomach area. I’m also embarrassed to say that I was never able to touch my toes, so as you can imagine, when this day finally came, it was a huge milestone for me. I remember the frustration in my heptathlon days, I’d look around at my teammates stretching and touching their toes with ease, I couldn’t even get close.
That said, one thing I will say about Yoga is that it’s important to know that everyone has their own pace and limits and nobody gives a hoot whether you can touch your toes or not. A difficult concept for me to grasp at first, given my competitive nature.
So, what I’d say about Yoga is that it’s not a competition, everyone’s journey is different, which is why the experience is so unique. You have your own individual goals which could be anything from getting through a whole class without moving into a child pose or something as simple as taking an hour out off your day to switch off from daily pressures. Another thing I’d like to point out is that Yoga is suitable for everyone. It doesn’t matter what shape or size you are, whether you’re male or female, it’s just a bunch of people in the same room committed to achieving a common goal of improving their health and wellbeing. And also, to any guys reading this blog, the classes I go to are full of men, I’d say it’s a 50/50, male and female. I’m not sure where the myth came from, that it’s all women.
So, I thought I’d finish off with some of the benefits of Yoga’s in a bid to try and persuade you to give it a go (and please don’t forget to do your research on the different styles of Yoga). It’s a long list so here goes! It’s great for building muscle strength, improving flexibility and posture. It increases your blood flow, ups your heart rate, improves balance, makes you happy and improves your sleeping pattern. It also eases pain, releases tension and boosts your immune system. Not to mention the improved muscle definition I mentioned earlier, we all like a bit of toning right? So I think that’s enough for now, otherwise, we’ll be here all day, the list of benefits is extensive.
I hope you can see that there as so many reasons you should try Yoga at least once. Okay, maybe a few times to get you in the zone or should I say zen. I guess that depends what style of yoga you are looking for!?
Thanks for reading, I hope this blog leads you to downward-facing dog:).