Saturday, 18 June 2016

The Art of Slowing Down

I first tried yoga about 9 years ago when one of my friends introduced me to it. At that time, yoga was just starting to become more popular in mainstream fitness. I had my serious doubts as to whether I would like it as I came from an athletic/dance background and the thought of sitting and "stretching" for an hour was nothing short of torture for me. At that time in my life I was also leading a very fast paced life and prided myself on being able to juggle many different things at once. I thought this made me “tough” and resilient! I even thought that yoga was for “lazy” people! It came from a lack of knowledge of what the practice of yoga actually encompassed.

One of my friends at the time had just come back from her training to become a yoga teacher and she encouraged me to try it. I was extremely reluctant but the class was free and I was always up for a challenge. So when I went for my first class, which was a vigorous vinyasa class,  I strained and forced my way through every pose just to prove that this yoga thing was too easy for me and I could master the poses without difficulty. I didn’t listen to my body, in fact I ignored it. I continued going to the Vinyasa classes with my friend because i preferred the intense and fast paced nature of them, until one day my friend and I went to a Hatha style class. I found it torturous to sit and focus on one pose for what seemed like an eternity, and I felt like I was wasting my time. I remember thinking,”I’m never going to get strong with a class like this. This is doing nothing for me!”  I couldn’t wait for the class to finish so I could jump back into my busy life. But I never gave up on the challenge and I continued going with my friend for classes until something changed in me and I actually looked forward to the classes. I slowly realized that it was “ok” to calm my mind and body, and to just surrender to being present. I realized that yoga was exactly what I needed to help me quell the need and drive to be in constant motion. I also came to realize that the reason I needed to be busy in my life was to avoid being with my inner unhappiness. I had always suffered with anxiety even from a young age and I found being busy helped me ignore my thoughts and feelings.

Today, yoga is a part of my daily life and I could not imagine life without it! If someone  would’ve told me 9 years ago that I would be teaching yoga, I would've told them that they were sorely mistaken! I find every practice is different in some way, some new challenge or feeling to experience. Yoga has, and will continue to teach me so much about my body, mind and soul!

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