Yoga is really a time to spend trying to work out what it is that I need to stretch and what angles I need to align in my body in order to let go of tension. The yoga poses really work on calming the mind through focusing on either working out how to do a posture or having good pain like when stretching a muscle that has been tensed up for most of my life.
When I started with Polly it was simply just trying to make at least a class a week whenever I could fit it in and went to all of the different levels of class and then started to regularly attend Tuesday night men's class. The men's class helped take away that feeling of being self-conscious while practicing an art that can never be perfect. Early in we did do head stands in class, but the class is really focused on simple postures that help to get everything into alignment. What I now understand is that taking the time to learn from the beginning through a course or a weekend workshop really helps progress rather than just randomly attending classes.
Besides having a good wind down through yoga, I found that it has helped me with lifting weights at the gym. Without yoga, I used to end up getting really out of alignment and having back and neck pain after a while. I am far more conscious when I am in the gym about how I lift and engaging core strength through posture.
I really recommend doing an introductory course at the school. It is the best way to learn.
A series of new introductory courses are open for booking. Follow this link to the web page for new students.
Only when we are sick of the suffering, when we have reached a place where actions and effort feel hollow or meaningless; or the thrill is just not that big a thrill anymore; or when happiness is mixed with self-doubt and we find ourselves on auto pilot; when we feel brave enough to admit even one of these things to ourselves about ourselves, then we are ready to pose the question of contentment, forgiveness and a life of peace, then we are tilling the soil in which a yoga practice can spout Yoga.
When our mind set is toward the body as an 'ornament', we engage with it in ways that glorify performance. Actions inherently serve no practical purpose. Whereas when we engage with the body as an 'instrument', we are concerned with the capacity of the instrument to harmonize within its context or circumstance.
Letting go of the fight response and understanding that the mind can influence the pain response was the first step. Appreciating that my body has served me extremely well through 60 years of exertion and should not be expected to perform like a 30 year old, came next. That meant accepting my limits with a new calmness and humility rather than anguish and stress.