Before yoga I was heavily involved in sport up to a National level. Rugby League gave me a few broken bits and pieces. Acrobatics strained a few ligaments and muscles. Swimming and lifesaving from an early age meant that I was muscled before puberty and this left me with hunched shoulders and a body that I was not sure how to carry. (Of course I didn’t realise this at the time). At the age of 23 a friend took me to an Iyengar Yoga class. I spent 2 hours working hard enough to build up a sweat, it was challenging yet relaxing and when the session finished I felt refreshed, like I was walking on clouds. The following day when I went back to my usual “swim, gym” routine, I was astounded! I had been training for sport from the age of 7, sometimes 5 hours a day, and no one had told me that I was pushing shit up a hill. My swimming was entirely different. I felt high in the water, I was pushing through my stroke using a completely different body position. I feel light and fast. When it came to my gym workout something had clicked in my mind. I positioned my feet differently while lifting dead weights and my core was activated. The strain of lifting was almost relieved. Something had been awoken in my body.
I am 40 now and since those first day of experiencing yoga I have been in and out of gyms, I swim only when its summer but its yoga that I feel keeps me mentally and physically at ease. You know the feeling when you have been away from your familiar surroundings and you get home and plonk yourself on the couch? That is how I feel about yoga. It is like coming home.
Practically speaking, when we are stiff in our hips and hamstrings our knees and ankles are ‘punished’. At some stage it is better to be accountable/aware of how to work with our hamstrings and hips so that the knees and ankles are able to get on with their work. It’s also the case in twisting poses that people twist into the flexible areas of their spine and in doing so completely miss the area that needs to be ‘accountable’: we are slipping around a stiffness and there will be consequences.
Our yoga classes for children have been running for 4 years and some of the feedback we get from parents and also teachers is amazing and encouraging. Children experience stress for lots of different reasons and yoga helps them to 'discharge' it through physical movements and also through breathing exercises and meditation.
When we go camping, we sit in awe of the magnificence of the mountain, the oceans, the sky. We go there because we recognize that some thing changes within us when we sit quietly within the wonderment of nature. We say "I am different", "I am happier", "I am energized", "I am more content". When we practice yoga we learn to sit in the wonderment of our embodiment. It is our microcosm of the macrocosm of nature. We recognize that being in the power of our own presence is a practice of being at one with the forces of nature.