Over eight years ago I attended my first yoga class with a lovely teacher called Jessica who now runs a studio in Brentwood. In all honesty I found it boring at first but something kept taking me back there every week. The first few classes I attended I kept looking at the clock thinking when is this going to end. I suppose I had been used to the fast-pace world of aerobics where you continually ‘grapevine’ yourself across a room with lots of other sweaty bodies.
Yoga is a much slower pace exercise and requires no flinging yourself around the room. (Well, only if you want to!) Honestly I started attending because the celebrity culture were implying that it was trendy. However, I have now discovered a whole new world of me and if that’s what is popular I’m happy to sit in that camp.
To me, yoga is so much more than exercise, it’s a whole way of life. While I’m on my mat, I’m learning to breathe during difficult postures, to slow down and take it easy on myself. Once I have finished my session I can then apply these lessons to my life.
We live in a speedy world where I feel we are constantly told to be busy. Yoga tells me to slow it down, to breathe during the difficult parts of my story and to live my life with ease. It has taught me not to worry about the future or the past but to concentrate on the present moment. Being human, concentrating on the present moment is not easy for me to do. The more I practice yoga I feel the better able I am to concentrate.
In the past few years I have also been practicing Yoga Nidra. Nidra is a form of yogic sleep. It is a state of consciousness between sleeping and waking, like going to sleep. My body becomes completely relaxed as I listen to a set of (audio) instructions that helps me to become aware of my inner self.
Becoming aware of my self has given me a confidence and self-esteem boost. I feel better able to cope with what life throws at me. I have become aware that I’m not as nervous speaking in a group or asking a stranger for help. From time to time I still find myself becoming flustered but the good part is now I’m realising. Then I’m remembering to breathe and slow down.
I’m beginning to notice that I’m a much tidier worker too. When I have a set of tasks to complete I can now take it one step at a time. I can slow it down if I feel I’m rushing around too much and I think about what my next task is before I go on.
At first I thought that if I took fifteen minutes from my day I would have less time to get stuff done. Actually I find I can accomplish more and I’m actually more pro-active after I have had a yogic sleep or lie down. I feel rested and able to carry on with my day.
My husband has noticed that I get over a difficult time within a few hours. He feels that if, for example, we have had a disagreement I can let go and move on quickly. I believe this is due to taking time out during the day. My brain is now able to recognise that it’s over and the event does not linger.
My anger and temper are also calmer. I have started to become aware that I no longer ‘get in the ring’ with people. Last year, as I was driving through a car park when another car was reversing and unfortunately reversed into the side of my car. Fortunately everyone was ok as we were both driving very slowly.
If this was me pre yoga years I have no doubt I would’ve been furious with the gentleman who backed into my car. I probably would have stepped out of the car and screamed at him. Instead I took a long deep breathe before I exited the car and ask the man if he was ok.
As a human being things still anger me but that part of my brain that used to hold on to the rage lets go a little easier than it did. It’s like a switch goes on in my head to tell me I need to calm down now and breath.
Nowadays life isn’t as bleak as it used to be before yoga. I wake up in the morning and I feel grateful for the breathe in my body and the bed I have slept in. I feel yoga has really help me to look at the positive side of my life. I used to have bouts of depression, especially during winter, but since I have been taking a lie down most days I no longer seem to be suffering. I feel happier and healthier than I used to.
Practicing yoga has aided me with stress and anxiety as well. I used to be a terrific worrier and I was fantastic at projecting about what could go wrong in my life. As a human I’m still pretty amazing at putting my life in fast forward if I allow myself to do it. But yoga has taught me to stay in the present moment.
In today’s modern world we are educated to believe that we must go out and grab life by the balls. I feel as though yoga politely directs me to stand back and wait for the universe to present itself. Today I try to practice living one day at a time. I now believe that the universe, god, your high power, or whoever you believe in, will bring you exactly what you need, when you need it. My life is going according to the plan and I’m learning to let it happen. I honestly believe if you can let go, everything will come to you at the right time. Everything in this world really does happen for a reason.
Yoga has also guided me to see that it’s not just physical exercise that aids my wellbeing but it’s also what I put inside my body that helps me too. I think it has made me a stronger person and therefore more able to give up sugar in a world in which we are surrounded by it.
It has shown me it’s not only what I do with my body but what I put on it and what enters it that will help me to live a long life. Pre yoga, I was one of those people who took more care of their home and car than they did their own body. Now I’m learning about what is good for not only my body but my wellbeing too. My body is what is going to house me for my life. I now believe that I need to take extremely good care of it in order to live a great life.
For more information about Jessica and her studio please go to Wellbeing Yoga. It’s the first step to a new you.