Yes, Yoga is wonderful for improving, flexibility, balance and strength, but it has something “more” to offer that is hard to put into words until you’ve had your first class. I say class because tapes just don’t lend themselves to creating the “whole package” of an hour’s guidance given by a certified teacher.
At first you might feel like you’ve gone through a time warp and you’re at some 60’s party playing a game of Twister... right hand on left foot, left foot on right thigh... but in time you start to become familiar with the poses and move out your brain and into your body.
It is a slow paced exercise that allows you to flow at your own pace. No humiliation of needing to keep synchronized. There are many variations of poses offering a respect to all body types and limitations. Most yogi virgins are surprised as to how quickly you can break a sweat moving at such a calm pace. There is also an amazing awareness of alignment and a delightful discovery of muscles you never knew you had.
The “more” comes in little by little as it invites you to go deeper then the physical level of what yoga “does” for you body. You have time to breath in each pose (whole other subject there!) and you can actually relax as your body absorbs the work. Not a bad thing to practice! What we “work out” is on deeper, more emotional level. Your body “holds” stress in muscle, mind, and spirit. Yoga is a “practice” of releasing it. Instinctively we are all looking to relieve stress and yoga’s growing popularity speaks of how it feeds our desire calm down, relax and let go, as well as keep fit.
In more time still, as your practice continues something even deeper occurs. It starts to creep in to your life. In subtle ways at first; The way you stand straighter, more aware of you body; The way you feel less “reactive”, more aware of the effect that has on your relationships with your kids, spouse, family members, and others you share life with;
Deepest of all is a feeling of connectedness to whatever you are guided by, a renewed belief of “all is what is supposed to be”, a growing ability to accept and embrace life, and all it brings your way, with an open heart.
Namaste (the beauty in my soul, salutes the beauty in your soul),
Heleen RYT(registered yoga teacher)
Slowing down the busy mind is a challenge. Our lives are full. Our heads are full. So many details crammed in there we have no space for “empty”.
There is so much we feel we need to do, we almost feel guilty when we don’t.
Though we have become more conscious of what we eat & aware that keeping fit is important, quieting the mind for some is on the bottom of the list if at all. Given that science now figures 90% of illnesses are stress related it might not be a bad idea to give meditation an open-minded chance.
Meditation is a practice. We are humans after all, our brains were born to think, our bodies to move. It takes practice to slow down the mind & body. To most it does not come easy. Contrary to what some may imagine being able to sit completely still & not think at all is not the “soul” purpose of meditation.
Have you ever been so overwhelmed you just wanted quiet time to hear yourself think? Have you ever had emotions fly out of your mouth only to regret how you expressed yourself, or had them become so big inside you don’t know how to calm the brain down or let go?
Practicing meditation offers techniques to slow down, in mind & body, be in the moment & witness our thoughts. It trains us to step back, teaches us to let go, & creates space in our soul for insights to emerge.
The more you practice the more it starts to seep into your life & the way you feel & your reactions to your life. It can in time become habit.
Finding a teacher to guide you through meditation can be of helpful especially at first. Keeping in mind we are all different, one should feel comfortable to keep searching for the right fit.
Once your have experienced this not so mystical practice you may be overwhelmed with many emotions that have been hidden inside even from yourself, which can be scary for some, while others may feel a deep sense of “boy I really need this”.
When you are ready & open to unlock the door to that quiet place deep inside where calm resides albeit swept under years of carpets, meditation is a gift of growth for the soul yearning to be discovered.
Namaste (the beauty in my soul honours the beauty your soul)
It does seem so easy to just curl up & stay in once the holidays are over & we have had a break from our exercise routine. It is like our body forgets how good it felt to be doing whatever we do to keep fit as our mind just keeps making up excuses not to get up & go. Too cold, too tired, too sick, too little time, too much chocolate to eat...
We make our resolution over the holiday somewhere between turkey and second helping of dessert that we will work it off & then the kids go back to school & we go back to work & waking up early leaving us “back to the same old routine” lagged.
The funny thing about exercise is that once you stop, it may take a push to get you going again, but once you get going, you realise all those excuses really don’t stand up to the great natural high you are left with after you go back to whatever it is that pumps you up.
There are so many choices available: Gyms, Skiing, classes of Yoga, Cardio, Pilates, Tai Chi, Dance, if you find it hard to be motivated maybe you could try changing your choice, or grabbing a friend to buddy system with. Nothing like a loving voice saying “What do you mean your not going, you signed us up!”
Kids too need to get back to it. Hockey, Soccer, Swimming, Yoga, Gymnastics, Ballet, even good old Tobogganing is great for all ages.
You know you’ve been wanting to, so put the paper down & figure out what & go already!
Can’t let 8 feet of snow & sub zero degrees stop you!
In my books all forms of exercise are good. It just depends on your needs, or more precisely what you need to keep you motivated. Like any diet plan, it only works if you stick to it, so the key is finding something that keeps you wanting more. For some it might be high energy forms of fitness classes like aerobics, cardio, kick boxing or dance. Being on a team could be more your style, as in the ever popular soccer. The testosterone species might prefer hockey or football. A little one on one game of tennis or badminton may more you swing. If you like to have some “alone time” simply taking to the open road and going for a bike ride or run can be a great way to cut loose. All are beneficial to getting the heart pumping and burning those ever consuming calories. Focusing on core muscles your goal? Find a gym, an “abs and buns” work out or Pilate’s class. Yoga not only helps bring calm into you life, it’s wonderful for improving flexibility, balance and strength, no matter your shape, size, age or bodies’ limitations. It also has a sneaky way of creeping in those same qualities into your everyday life. If all that seems like more work than fun, there’s nothing like a good old fashion walk with a partner, friend, neighbour or family dog. (Neighbours’ dog will do in a pinch.) Speaking of which, if you sign up for something it’s not a bad idea to sign up with a friend, preferably one that is more of a “come on you’ll feel better if you go” type, than the “I don’t know about tonight, I ... (fill in lame excuse here). While you’re at it why not make a standing date for a coffee afterwards. If you’re really lucky this might actually be with your spouse... or maybe that defeats the purpose for you! Either way, as my father always said “doesn’t matter what you do, just do something!” Not only will you have a better chance at a longer life, you’ll be healthier during it, and the little ones around you will have an example to move by.
P.S. Thumbing the remote doesn’t count!