Life is what you make it.
On the same token, Yoga is the experience you make it.
If you’re constantly thinking throughout your practise, comparing yourself to others in the room, forgetting to breathe, trying to go beyond your limits – you will inevitably wobble, feel frustrated, hurt yourself and walk out feeling exhausted.
My teacher in India, Bharath Shetty, always said to us, ‘No one should leave a Yoga class feeling exhausted. You should feel more energised than when you walked in.’
Just like life is all about the journey, not the destination; yoga is not about reaching the advanced postures in just a couple of classes – it’s about taking your time and going your own unique pace, not pushing your body and injuring yourself. In a lot of my classes I witness men (and women) trying to go beyond their capable limits and jumping straight into an advanced pose, instead of doing the beginner variations first. This is because their ego is present and they compare themselves with others in the room. But once you lose your ego, you become present and self aware and stop doing things to impress others. You become comfortable in your own skin.
Yoga is hardly a new trend. It is a 5000 year old tradition originating from India, and a powerful modality which has helped many yogis and the like reach the state of enlightenment, or ‘samadhi’.
However, its come a long way since only super flexi Indian men in loin cloths could practise yoga. With a new age of women and men embracing yoga, the eruption of studios on every street corner and yoga brands like Lululemon taking the world by storm, there must be a reason for this rapidly expanding interest in the ancient Indian practise. And there is!
Here are a few areas where yoga can really change your life, if you let it…
This is the obvious one. Practising yoga improves your core strength, flexibility, lung capacity, posture, fitness, stamina, blood pressure, weight loss, digestion, joint movement/mobility, bone strength, circulation and endurance. Everyone thinks you need to be super duper flexible to be able to practise yoga. Absolutely not. A lot of my clients aren’t the least bit flexible – hence the reason they come to me for yoga lessons. If you’re naturally a tight or stiff person the more reason to practise yoga and stretch out your body. In a nutshell, yoga will increase you immune system and get your body running on all cylinders. Even just doing six Surya Namaskaras (Sun Salutations) in the morning will get every muscle, bone and chakra moving in your body, kickstarting you for the day.
Yoga can help you move your energy around your body. If you’re being present throughout your practise, you will be able to feel into your energy hubs or chakras in your body. A lot of people’s energy is pooled in the bottom base chakra, however in yoga you can move this energy and channel it up in your body – known as awakening Kundalini. Yoga helps connect back to your spirituality and your divine inner light that shines within each of us. We often bury it in day to day life but in yoga your true essence and energy is evoked. Yoga will bring out your positive energy, boost your mood, help you concentrate more and elevate your life in more ways than one.
Yoga can invigorate your sex life tremendously. By engaging your core and contracting your pelvic floor muscles throughout your practise, your sex organs will become engaged and prepared. Hip opening asanas are great for opening up this region and bringing awareness to your genitals and the energy around this area of your body. Breathing pranayama techniques also elevate your sexual senses and create heat in your body – giving you more sexual and physical pleasure. Yoga will move you into compromising positions that may make you feel vulnerable (just try ‘happy baby’) for instance, but this is all the opening experience, giving you more mobility as well as trusting in your body and learning what it likes! Have you ever walked out of a yoga class tingling down there and feeling aroused? Chances are squeezing your pelvic floor muscles, breathing deeply, opening your hips, getting warmed up and sweaty in a room will get your juices flowing…so go home and channel that sexual energy either with yourself or share it with your partner. Yoga and tantra go hand in hand, by bringing about higher levels of intimacy and trust to your relationships.
Yoga prepares the mind for meditation, and the main premise of meditation is clearing the mind and becoming present. Most people in their day to day life are thinking in some capacity, usually about the past or the future, but not many are actually in the present moment. Yoga is a modality for achieving this. How? By breathing. It’s the one thing we can control in our life and it helps declutter and simplify our thoughts and brain movements. Yoga and meditation aid in reducing your mind chatter and hence decrease depression, stress and insecurity levels. Ones mental health is just as important (if not more) as physical health, and can even be a catalyst to leading to poor physical health and immune system problems. Specific yoga asanas and breathing techniques help reduce stress and anxiety because once your mind is switched off and focusing on breathing, your worries or stress will dissipate. So if you have a healthy mental state of mind, chances are you will have great physical health and be full of vitality.
Need more incentives to try yoga? Jump on board the yoga train and try it out…even just one class to trial. There are numerous types of yoga, from Power Yoga to Bikram Yoga to Hatha to Iyengar to Kundalini to Yin Yoga….and the list goes on and on. If you’re confused and would like help in the direction of where to go, please get in touch and we will work out which direction your body wants to go…
Enjoy yogis and yoginis!