“The frail form is drifting beyond the yoga zone.”
Yoga is unlike any other exercise. Yoga is NOT just exercise. For many people – including myself – that’s how I came to yoga but I have learnt that it so, so much more.
I’ve been practising yoga for over 20 years, originally marketed to me by the buff bodies of celebrities in the late 90s. After a number of years, I found a great teacher who guided me through a profound journey of foundation courses and more recently my own teacher training.
Yoga gives me many things but most importantly:
A deeper connection with my body. Yoga gives us the opportunity to connect with the physical sensations in our body in the most incredible way. When you are doing yoga you cannot (you should not!) have your attention anywhere else. It is time for me to spend in conversation with my body. Gently investigating how it feels, how it operates, how I can improve or adjust the way it exists.
Self enquiry. Svadyaya is fundamental to yoga practice. Not just enquiry into how our body works but also our minds, emotions, behaviours and habits. Spending time with yourself can be extremely intense and sometimes scary. When we practice satya, truthfulness, sometimes we discover things that we don’t like or that make us uncomfortable. However the chance to challenge myself with an analytical sense of enquiry has enabled me to make real changes to my life.
Balance. And I don’t just mean standing on my head! Yoga helps me feel centred through good and bad times. Learning about yoga philosophy has helped me feel more comfortable about my place in the world, while meditations, mantra and breathing exercises bring that comfort internally.
My yoga mat (and more recently I’ve been lucky enough to have an entire yoga room) has for many years been a place of sanctuary. A force-field where all my baggage of daily life is left to the side and I can spend time just with myself. Quite often the baggage isn’t even there to collect when I’m finished.
Passing my experiences of yoga onto other people is incredibly rewarding. As a yoga teacher I don’t instruct people on how to make shapes. I’m guiding my students onto their own path of self enquiry, helping them connect deeper with themselves and find a better sense of balance, both physically and mentally.