Our yoga mat
It’s a space where we truly pause and notice the moment. The time where we face our fears, our challenges, where we soften tension and enjoy the blissful release. It is a place where we can learn about whom we are, who we want to be and what we choose to leave behind.
Often at the start of a yoga class we are asked to ‘notice our breath’. When I first practiced yoga in a class environment I used to be impatient.. wanting to move forward into the physical challenge of postures, not comfortable with the pause or introversion. As my practice developed I soon learnt to love that time to notice. Notice the effect of my day on my breath and my being. To begin to understand how different activities left me more agitated or disturbed, n both breath and mind, than I had maybe realized, or admitted, to myself. This is a common occurrence; that we begin to practice yoga for the physical benefits or to rehabilitate after injury. Then we start to discover the number of other benefits. I also loved the way I could immediately notice in savasana, the final relaxation, how my body, mind & breath felt more integrated, softer, after my yoga class.
As a yoga teacher I love seeing this from the outside. The frazzled busy people rushing to get to class on time, softening into themselves throughout their practice and then leaving looking smoothed, relaxed and happier. More at ease in themselves. I have started a new Friday class this year, offering a double session ending in an indulgent breathing practice and meditation to offer the opportunity to end the week feeling at ease. Integrating the different layers of our being. Allowing us all to start our weekend by releasing the tension of the working week. It’s a lovely class to teach, I feel privileged to have the opportunity to help people relax into their weekend.
There is more research every month showing the benefits of yoga. One of which is this release of tension & stress, which is not good for our bodies if we hold onto it. There are benefits on so many levels, not just from the physical movement; with more studies looking into how our breath, our mind, our thoughts, affects our physical health and well-being. This is a great article on the importance of our second brain…the place where we feel, and how this may be related to physical illness. In yoga we allow our self the opportunity to pause, listen to our gut and our inner voice. Also how our inner world affects our physical being. I notice often in myself, how feeling negative or closed and tight in our mind results in tension physically, how physically opening our heart and chest can encourage us to release on an emotional level. I have recently been grieving for the loss of my little dog and have noticed how it has affected my physical being. How depleted my physical body is by grief, and how I literally ‘hold it together’ with tightness in my muscles and connective fascia.
However one of the joys of practicing yoga is the lesson it teaches us. How we need to take care of ourselves more at certain times. How healing is about time, but also about good nutrition, rest, friendship and, in this instance, memories. How time on your yoga mat helps you to work through physical tension, releasing emotional stress. How softening into a posture or focusing on a breathing practice helps us to accept. Yoga gives us immediate relief of tension, physical and psychological. Yoga provides so many short-term benefits that are immediately visible, but also a positive cumulative effect on health & well-being. So to help life feel good, do yoga, and when life gets tough do more yoga!! see here for when we have yoga classes in Warrington and Cuddington.