Throughout our lives we are often encouraged to concentrate on what we CAN do rather than what we have difficulties with – for example at school: no ear for languages, no artistic eye, don’t worry concentrate on sciences! In play: not supple, don’t worry with gymnastics instead use your speed and play hockey instead, be a sprinter!
I enrolled in the beginners yoga course in May last year as a start to reclaim myself. I had sat at a desk for 13 years and was unfit, overweight and struggled to move my body in any shape resembling a pose. My hips and shoulders felt locked, my hands and arms were weak and I berated myself each lesson for what my body had become.
In many sports we can adapt a golf swing, a running or swimming style to suit our bodies. But in a yoga class – there are no excuses! Hands and feet must be placed with precision, legs and arms straightened, questions asked of the body … and mine screamed back-what are you doing to me?
In 2016 a few things have changed, I no longer work, I completed a long distance (1000km) walk which made me fitter, stronger and more confident but no more supple after carrying a heavy backpack. So back to another beginners course in January and I am ready for more conversations with my body but slightly more forgiving this time.
Repeating the beginners course was really helpful- I began to understand the ‘rinsing action’ in the legs, the names of the poses are more familiar. I still struggle every class and more attention to my practice is required but I enjoy the process and feel more balanced. Progress is being made!
Thank you yoga, thank you Polly and Vera.
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.