Here is one of our Dedicated Yogi’s sharing his story of his body and mind since starting a regular Yoga Practice.
My yoga story. I’d like to think the story so far is just beginning.
I’ve had an interest in yoga for a long time and dabbled in it over the years using DVDs and such, but it never became a practice. From the bits and pieces I tried, I could feel it was good for me but lacked the motivation to keep it going regularly.
When YogaSol opened, I thought I would try out a class and see what it was like. I was a bit nervous as I have some long term injuries that would restrict some movements (frozen shoulder and weak ligaments around the knees), so I went for a gentle beginners class. Some things I could do, some things I couldn’t, some things I could almost do. It was wonderful to find out that there was no pressure to do anything that was beyond me, and there were always options if a pose was not within my grasp. I’ve found if I work within my abilities, improvement would eventually follow.
After a few weeks, I found it was much easier cultivating a regular practice by going to classes rather than the sporadic, self-motivated practice I tried at home. So I decided to make a commitment for 12 months to get to class at least 3 times a week, I’m now just over 2 months into that commitment.
What has changed:
Better movement. I have more flexibility in my shoulder and more strength in my knees. I’m not doing shoulder stands or getting to 90 degrees through the knees in Goddess (God) pose, and my downward dog may need a trip to the vet, but I feel I’m making progress and am positive I will get there in time. I would love to be able to get into a full plough pose someday.
Clearer mind. Yoga has been a great way to get better at staying present. With challenging poses, I’m learning to cultivate mindfulness through the pose and what it is doing to my body. The more challenging poses are great at bringing your awareness to the moment. This has also had an effect on other aspects of my life. I’ve started meditating in the mornings, have better concentration at work and feel calmer when dealing with the world.
Improved health. It’s funny how when you start looking after yourself in one aspect of your life, you feel motivated to clean up other parts. My diet has greatly improved in the last couple of months, cutting out virtually all processed foods and cooking a lot more at home, I’ve even lost a few kilos. Although the weight loss is a pleasant byproduct, I don’t think it’s as important as the other consequences of feeling healthier, stronger and more energetic.
My wife has also joined me in my practice. We both lead busy lives and it can be a challenge coordinating the time to practice together, but when we can manage it, it’s great if we can both get to a class and do something together that’s just for us. I think Yoga Nidra may be our favourite class to do together.
I’m looking forward how far I can progress over the next 10 months and beyond, not just in yoga, but in the other parts of my life that yoga has inspired me to improve. I really want to try Hot Vinyasa but still feel a little intimidated in doing an advanced class, I will endeavour to “man-up” soon.