Saturday, 28 May 2016

My Yoga Journey

I started taking yoga classes, with a friend, a number of years ago.  My thinking at the time was it would be a good addition to my fitness regime.  Many years of running and other fitness fads had left me with very tight muscles.  Yoga would be a good way to stretch it all out!  Little did I know the path that yoga would take me on over subsequent years to the present.

I started with a very beginner series of classes at a fitness centre - it was a good way to develop both a yoga practice and a friendship as a friend and I commuted to and from class.  Once the “term” was finished, yoga disappeared from my life for a little while.  I then started another series at a local community club and another with the leisure guide.  This lead to a regular practice of hot yoga that spanned a number of years.

I quickly discovered that yoga had an immediate impact on my physical body.  I always came out feeling really good - stretched out and content.  I continued running and racing 10 k’s and half marathons and experienced very few injuries.  What I didn’t expect and what had an even greater impact, was how yoga impacted my mind.  My beginning years with yoga came at a time when I worked full time in a stressful job and was in the midst of raising teenagers - with all of their accompanying activities.  I had totally bought in to our society’s messages about busyness, having it all and the stuff “out there’ that we all need in order to be happy.

I would leave yoga classes feeling both stretched out and content.  The time on my mat gave me the space I needed to clear my mind and really think about my life and where I wanted to go.  It changed me from being a go go go type of person to taking my time and savouring life more.  it seemed that whenever I needed a little guidance, the messages that my teachers had for me combined with the movement and breathing was exactly what I needed in that moment to figure things out.  Slowly moving through the postures on my mat was and is where I go to get the space I need to ponder and the answers come in those moments of silence.   It’s hard to explain what yoga does for the mind, body and soul - it’s a little bit of mysterious magic!  Yoga helped me make a career change a few years ago and helps me in my day to day relationships.  In my day to day life, I find I am much more relaxed and don’t feel like I have to do it all or have it all.  There is a certain contentment with the little things and an appreciation for life.

The more I practiced yoga, the more I wanted to learn about it.  I read books and magazine articles.  I wanted to try and figure out the how’s and why’s of yoga magic!  This lead to a decision to deepen my practice by participating in the yoga teacher training at the Yoga Centre.  The two years of this journey has opened up my eyes to so many things about yoga, such as; theory, the chakras, alignment in poses, Sanskrit words, philosophy, great discussions with peers and teachers - all in a safe friendly environment with extremely knowledgeable, caring teachers.  It has passed me way past my comfort zone in practice teaching and in working on poses that this stiff tight old body sometime rebels against and at other times finds ease.  I’ve been able to take this stretching, learning, breathing, calmness, into my everyday life… which has been beneficial for both me and the people around me.

I sometimes wonder where I would be and how I would react to life if I didn’t have my yoga practice.  I am very thankful that I found yoga or that yoga found me just when I needed it.  It has become a very important part of my life journey, physically, emotionally and spiritually.

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