Practices that are marketed in the modern West under the umbrella term yoga are very varied. This information is here to help you decide whether Yoga for Life with me is what you’re looking for, or, if you’re not sure what you’re looking for, to help you decide whether you’d like to give it a go.
But first, let me ask you this:
What sort of images come to your mind when you hear the word yoga?
Perhaps something like…
CC BY-SA, source: Wikimedia Commons
And now let me tell you that these images are problematic. Most people can’t get into the positions pictured above, and, more importantly, they don’t need to, and shouldn’t be encouraged to.
Look at this side bend, for example:
Can you do it? Neither can I. And that’s 100% OK. The functional range of movement for lateral flexion of the spine (side bending) is 75 degrees. This is way beyond that. And I have some good news for you: we don’t need to try to get into dysfunctional poses.
What movement and poses are functional, then? Two important questions to ask are:
- Was your body built for it?
- Do you need it? Does it help you do the stuff you need to do?
We all want to do slightly different things with our lives, but some skills are pretty universal. For example, it’s useful to be able to get down and up off the floor, and to sit comfortably on the floor in different positions. It’s helpful to be able to stand on one leg so you can check if you’ve got something stuck to the sole of your shoe on the other foot. And it’s definitely helpful to be able to move without pain, or at least to reduce the pain you might be feeling.
How can yoga help with all that, you ask?
By encouraging you to breathe and move with awareness, it can help you lay down new neural pathways so you can break unhelpful old habits and have more choice and a bigger movement repertoire. You can learn to move in a way that distributes effort fairly across your whole body so the different parts of you can work as a team, making movement easier. By doing so, it can relieve the pain and discomfort you might be feeling in parts of your body you are overusing (such as the lower back, for many people). The awareness skill you develop in yoga is transferable. You may, for example, become better at noticing your emotional states as you flow through life, not just when you’re practising yoga.
Yoga for Life is not exercise. It’s not great for burning lots and lots of calories (though you will burn some), getting your heart rate up (though that may happen occasionally), and it’s not a quick weight loss tool (although by enhancing your general wellbeing it might contribute to weight loss in the long run).
- the art of moving with awareness
- connection between body and mind
- relaxation and nourishment
- self-enquiry and wisdom.
Sound good? Get in touch to find out more or book a class here.
Can’t wait to see you!