I asked my lovely friend Bek Lord to write an article for Green Door Health about yoga following our blog last week on stress & shiatsu and she has come up with a beauty! Bek teaches right across the road from the clinic at Elanora Fitness. Class times are convenient, childminding is available, it’s incredibly relaxing and suits all yoga levels. Why not give it a try? Read on to learn more about the benefits of a regular yoga practice.
Yoga is for everyone!
” I’d come to yoga, but I’m just not flexible…”
I have lost count of the number of times I have heard this statement during my time as a yoga teacher!
In truth, flexibility is not a pre-requisite; Asana, the ‘postures’, ‘poses’ or physical aspect of yoga is just one of many components of this ancient way of living. Other aspects focus on the breath, the withdrawal of the senses, and meditation, leading ultimately to a divine state of union or bliss.
Yoga has been around for Millenia, its wisdom and practices have certainly stood the test of time, however yoga as we know it today is drastically different to its ancient, sacred beginnings. Yoga has been ‘Westernised’. This is not to say that we cannot reap the myriad of benefits that a modern practice has to offer, indeed I see it as the perfect antidote to our overly busy, often stressed-out, current way of living.
When we spend time on our mat, whether that be in a group or class setting, or at home in personal practice, we are giving ourselves the gifts of space, time and connection to our higher self; it feels good, it feels right, like everything has settled back into its proper place.
Yoga uses combinations of ‘opposites’ to create harmony and balance; this can be applied through each of the planes of movement and affects all of the bodily systems. Postures can provide stretch as well as strengthening, through both dynamic and static movements. As we journey through the poses, our breath naturally lengthens and deepens. When our attention rests on the breath, in pranayama a breathing practice (we spoke about last week here) our focus starts to turn inwards, we become more mindful, existing fully in the present moment (even if only for brief segments of time!)
When the mind begins to settle and still, we find ourselves open to the deeper states of meditation. We begin to reduce our levels of stress as we journey from the parasympathetic nervous system, to the sympathetic, leaving behind the ‘fight or flight’ mode, and favoring instead the more relaxing ‘rest and digest.’ We are able to catch glimpses of our true self, moments of clarity and the possibility for personal growth and transformation.
There is no end point, or goal in yoga; you just have to show up, to keep showing up for yourself. This is why we call it yoga ‘practice’. It doesn’t take long before you begin to notice the benefits. We soon start to realise that we can ‘feel’ or sense the shape of the pose, rather than becoming hung-up on how a posture should look. By working in this manner, we make the posture safer and more accessible for our individual needs.
There are also modifications for just about every pose; props such as blocks, blankets, bolsters and straps may be used to assist you with this, particularly if you are in recovery from injury. So, you see, it truly does not matter whether you can touch your toes – you don’t have to be flexible, at least not in the bodily sense, mental flexibility, an open mind and a sense of commitment will always stand you in good stead! There’s no better time than now to start your yoga journey, or to rekindle your relationship with your mat! I look forward to sharing a practice with you soon.
Written by Bek Lord from Seed Yoga
9.15 – 10.15 a.m Fridays & 8.30 – 9.45 a.m Sundays
Elanora Fitness, 50 Kalang Rd, 2101.
Free for centre members, $20 casual visit.
Childminding available, $2 per child.
Practice suitable for all levels of experience.
Please bring your mat & blanket/ beach towel.
Email Beck here or firstname.lastname@example.org