Having never done yoga before I was unsure about whether I would really be able to enjoy it. I’m used to high-intensity dance workouts with blasting music and tons of endorphins, so I knew it would be quite a change. But nevertheless I went in with an open mind, and I’m so glad I did as it was really like nothing I’d ever done before. Why?
It sounds odd, but breathing is so central to this exercise. You are constantly engaged in breathing really deeply – you focus in on each of your own breaths and those of the people around you. It is great to drown out everything else and focus on just breathing deep, calm breaths and it really helps when doing the exercises.
It does take your mind away from everything else going on in your life. The instructor really encourages you to acknowledge thoughts if they appear but then just let them go, don’t dwell on what isn’t in the room with you right there and then. Slowing down your breathing really does relax your whole body. But also I think it is a good skill to learn for if you are ever in a panic somewhere else, as slowing down your breathing is a key way to help you to temper your nerves.
I actually found myself getting quite hot as we moved from different poses quite quickly – but most of all I think the exercises make you stronger. They get you to really engage your core, your thighs, you arms – all great for toning.
I was encouraged to think hard about my posture – pulling my shoulders back, dropping them down away from my head, lifting up my chest. Often during the day we tend to stoop in front of the computer, even when we are standing. This really helps to open you out and release any tension in your body.
A lot of yoga poses require good balance – this is great for your core and your coordination more generally. Having good balance will help in all sorts of other workouts and parts of your life as well as helping you to feel at ease and to trust your body.
Yoga will definitely increase your flexibility – there are lots of poses that get you to reach for your toes, twist your body and extend your hips and thighs. Flexibility is so important for making you more resistant to injuries and making us less likely to need a walking stick when we’re 70.
7. IT’S NOT A COMPETITION
Whilst sports are great for getting out that competitive side of your personality and motivating you to succeed and reach your goals, yoga doesn’t put you in competition with anyone else. It’s all about what feels natural to you and you don’t need to worry about what anyone else in the room is doing. This encourages you not to constantly compare yourself to others and be happy with your own achievements in the class.
8. YOU STOP
We are often working at full speed – flying from one place to another and one thought to another. So apart from when we go to bed each night, we never truly stop to give ourselves a chance to recharge and leave all the hustle and bustle in our lives. I really felt like I could let go of everything in that class and take a long deep breath from my week.
So I will definitely be going again and I really encourage you to try out a class, you won’t regret it!
Lots of love,