I have done yoga on and off since I was a teenager. While traveling I attended classes when we visited beach towns and hippie villages and I always loved my experiences but I was never able to seriously commit. Then one year ago, when walking through the park near my house, I discovered an evening yoga class going on and decided to sign up.
Since that point I have made Yoga a big part of my life and made a commitment to a healthy lifestyle. My teacher, Elena, is incredible and not only do we learn Hatha Yoga for fitness and strength, we also study Vinyasa (or flow) Yoga, Meditation, Mantra, Chakras and Breathing. I now love to take part in Yoga seminars and retreats to push my body and learn more. For the lovely ones of you who follow me on Instagram you saw that yesterday I attended an amazing lesson all about Thai Yoga and how yoga poses can be used to release aches and pains – so amazing!
I only started a year ago, so I still have a lot to learn, but it is amazing to reflect and see how much growth I have made in such a small space of time, because I honestly think starting Yoga has been one of the best things I have ever done.
(photo taken from pinterest.com)
Here are six things Yoga has taught me…
1 – Connection
In Sanskrit the meaning of yoga is union or connection. To a lot of people Yoga means bending yourself into crazy positions and drinking detoxing teas. To me Yoga means feeling connected to my body, to my emotions and feelings, to my experiences and to the world around me.
2 – Strength
A big part of yoga is stretching out your muscles and building up your strength to allow your body to hold the poses. When I first started I could barely touch my toes and had little-to-no core strength. One year on and I am able to hold poses I never imagined I could do and every time that happens I feel so happy and empowered. As well as physical strength I have gained inner-strength and know I can achieve anything I desire.
3 – Commitment
As much as I would love get up at sunrise and spend my days doing yoga and meditation on the beach, for me this isn’t possible. However I have made the commitment to fit yoga into my modern lifestyle. As well as practicing two-to-three times a week I also listen to my body, follow breathing techniques, mediate and practice awareness and this commitment has increased my self-belief, happiness and ability to manage stress.
4 – Release
It is taught that with great release comes great gain and that by letting go of what no longer serves us we are creating space in our being for new, more positive things to enter our life. I love this sentiment and by releasing my worries, fear, mistakes and negative feelings I am opening my heart to positivity, motivation, love and inspiration.
5 – Presence
Yoga teaches us to be present in the moment and listen to our body, our breathing and our mind. To me this also means to fully enjoy the present moment I am in. To stop worrying about the past or the future, to appreciate how beautiful the moment is now and to make the most of every experience.
6 – Awareness & Acceptance
Yoga is hard work and requires you to have awareness of your body & mind. You have to be realistic of what your body can do and accept yourself for the stage you are at now. It’s not possible to go in day one and start doing head stands and meditating for three hours straight! For me that led to becoming aware of my actions, thoughts and feelings and to accept that its ok not to be perfect all the time. This awareness led to me notice when I do start feel negatives thoughts or emotions and allows me to remedy those with positive things. And accepting myself for who I am, mistakes and all, has brought greater self-love, confidence, happiness and peace into my life.