Beach Cottage Yoga A Beginner’s Journey

Thu 1st, May, 2014

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abeachcottage yoga mat abeachcottage.com

So, thoughts on yoga.

Now, for sure I never thought I would be sharing my take on how to manoeuvre oneself around on a rubber mat into strange positions and for goodness sake go into prayer pose and chant hum.  Am I doing those things?  Yup pretty much.  Do I absolutely amazingly flooringly mind bendingly love it?  Hell yeah!

So what I think 2 months in, 3 classes a week?

Bottom line I love it and I love going to my yoga class.  It seems though I for sure am on a long journey ahead of me with yoga, there are a LOT of things going on here as a Westerner practising this in her local yoga studio.

So my first session I walked into a pretty full Hatha yoga class, I had specifically picked an easy level class so as not to end up sitting on the mat watching everyone else do a move I couldn’t even wrap my head around let alone my leg.  The first mistake I made was I only arrived about 8 minutes before the class started, meaning lots of the spots were gone and leaving me up the front.  Not a problem, I couldn’t care less about that but for this I had wanted to be nearer to the back so as to observe somewhat, rather than being so far up and to the right that really I couldn’t see properly.  Clearly arriving 15 mins before and getting into the zone is a good idea, if you want not to be at the front.  I walked in while women of various shapes, ages and sizes were in various states of relax all over the floor.  Boomshaka as the rookie in the front row.

I did the class, I was fine, nothing too taxing for this old bod, but really, that was about it…it was good I was ok, but it wasn’t brilliant to be honest.   I did not meet a higher yogi god though I did try.

two months yoga journey abeachcottage.com yoga mat

I was though, determined to go back, I had made a deal with myself to give this a chance, after a brief and short-lived dalliance with Bikram Yoga when I first moved to Australia,  I wanted to see what happened to me, why people loved yoga, and bottom line after what happened to this little family in January I was needing something and lots of people had told me yoga would help.

And so I rocked up to my second class expecting not much and wondering if I would use up all the classes I had bought at an introductory rate….this time I was early, I set up my mat at the back, got a bolster, an eye bag, and a block, put it all on the mat alongside my t-shirt and went to the toilet – when I came back 10 women had appeared from nowhere and another woman had taken my mat and all the stuff, put my t-shirt alongside her on the carpet, laid down, palms upwards and was breathing with the eye bag I had put there on her eyes.  Hmmm, so this is the peace and love and kindness the yoga way?  Mind-boggling.

With not many spots left as this was a much smaller room I ended up squashed into the side walkway near where the mats and props were, alongside a man who I think was the most inflexible person I have ever seen and he was about six inches away from my left arm.

I sat down on the mat with the inflexible man and a pile of rubber mats as my companions and thought what on earth am I doing here?

yoga journey abeachcottage.com yoga mat and eye bag

And once the class started, oh my gosh it was absolutely amazing!  Something happened on that mat, the teacher was everything I was looking for but didn’t know – rather than the first class I attended, where, to be honest it felt more like an aerobics class in a fitness centre, like playing at yoga, this one made me realise why I was there.  I cannot put my finger on it but the combo of the poses (pigeon pose deeply opened stuff in me) and the breathing just worked, her voice and what she said just did something for me.  The hour and fifteen minutes flew by in a flash.

I walked back to the car, super-charged and feeling all a bit odd and was pretty much amazed.  Oh my god I just got the yogic buzz!

Since then I have tried a couple of other styles of yoga but right now I am sticking to Hatha Yoga and am absolutely in love with Yin Yoga, mind-blowingly good.

I’ve learnt a lot though – yoga it seems is full of opinions & characters, there are lots of people walking around with big big big middle-class yoga egos but each to their own and each to their own yoga journey I’ve read just about everywhere I’ve looked and since that class it’s just been all about me and that mat.

But I’m writing this post as part of Well-being here on this little corner of the web (you can find my other Well-Being posts here) so let’s get down to the good stuff, the mind and the body and the changes.

Has my body changed?

Yes, it certainly has.  Something has happened to my upper arms, I am not sure what, but they aren’t worse so that’s a plus.

The biggest (and most surprising) difference though has been in my middle area – since having kiddos and in one of the pregnancies putting on 25kg all at the front, my ahem middle area has never ever been the same since.  Whatever, it’s not really been a biggie to me, if there’s one place you can cover up it’s there.  But this past couple of weeks I have noticed some definition going on in that area.  Like where the heck did that appear from???  Unbelievable.  I mean ladies I am not wearing a 6 pack, it’s more of a shadow than a muscle but that’s a good good thing right?   The only thing I can put this down to is lorruping around on a mat in strange positions, nothing else has changed in my day to day life whatsoever.

Do I feel fitter?

Hmmm not fitter but not as unfit.  The classes I am doing don’t make you particularly work on the cardio side, indeed my daughter comes to yoga with me now and her first class she whispered across to me “do people think this is working out?” but I am feeling different and yes more on the fitter side.

Do I feel stronger?

Absolutley, 100% stronger – my body feels stronger and more toned than it has for ages, I love that feeling and though it’s very early days I’m hoping to build on it.

Does my body feel less tight?

Oh my gosh yes!  I have found some amazing poses, especially in Yin Yoga where I’ve literally felt my body do a huge and I mean huge sigh of relief as I’ve stretched into an area that has been tied up in knots for years.  Some of these stretches have been the simplest of moves, with the most amazing results.  For years I have had upper back and neck troubles, normally every six months or so ending up with a few sessions at the osteopath – this area now feels very different and much much much less tight…the only thing I can put it down to is yoga.

What About My Mind?

Tricky this one, but something is going on…I feel calmer and clearer…but mostly just the switch off when doing yoga has been so beneficial for me.

So that’s my first two months on a yoga journey, I have to say I am hooked and I highly recommend it…I’ve bought a couple of books and a few bits and pieces with yoga, I’ll be sharing that all soon.

If you’ve been thinking that starting yoga might be good for you I am thinking you might well be right.



abeachcottage yoga mat abeachcottage.com

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21 Responses to “Beach Cottage Yoga A Beginner’s Journey”

  1. merilyn says:

    yes an advocate of yoga glad you’ve found it sarah,
    beneficial on every level … love the yoga zone alone.
    I like the supposedly non-competitive nature of it
    one doesn’t need to carry on about it it works on a very personal level … love it!
    also when I’m doing housework … not much!
    I will do stretches spinal twists lunges etc and feel better lift my spirit and say aum slowly I love salute to the sun every day using every muscle “balance being the be all and end all”
    lovely lovely lovely … simple yoga without any of the hype that’s the bet type … it’s an eastern wisdom at work here! Namaste m:)X

    • Sarah says:

      so true!

      there are some people hyping up I’ve seen so far, but keeping to my mat has been good!

      Namaste Merilyn

  2. andrea frost says:

    Hi Sarah…

    sounds like it is working very well for you which is fantastic..

    I am just going to stick with my tennis 3 hours per week…one on one with my coach for an hour…
    I think that is enough for this “old girl” at this stage..
    keeps me fit..strong..cos i do hit like a “pro”!~~~

    ps..mr sooty is sick in hospital with kidney failure…so I am maybe needing “yoga” to relax??….
    he is progressing quite well today…happened when i was overseas this past weekend…
    maybe me leaving him brought on his 15 yo stress levels..
    I haven’t stopped crying …
    But fingers crossed this strong little buddy of mine will be okay…
    xx andrea

  3. Jenny McAteer says:

    Hi Sarah,

    I’m so glad that you have given yoga a go and am finding it beneficial to relax your mind and body. I to turned to yoga in desparate times as a last resort as was surprised that it met all of my needs, initially in beginner classes and now from the comfort of my own home. xxxxx jenny

  4. Mary says:

    Hi sarah what a timely post! I have just been thinking i need a bit more calm in my life and was just talking about yoga to a work friend today! Now i just need to find a class that fits in with my full time work plus full time mum life :)

    I have done different styles over the years – but i did hatha about 15 years ago in london and now you have mentioned it i am going to try it again!

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  6. Melinda says:

    great post Sarah,

    you’ve answered all the questions I would have asked you if we were having coffee somewhere!
    For years Ive thoguht I should give yoga a good go as a complement to running and walking- I think I’ll have to take action and sign up for some classes – thanks for the nudge and lets hope I find some of those wonderful benefits too

  7. Jody says:

    Great testimony for yoga. Thank you. jody/fl

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  9. DeAna says:

    Yogi Sarah. That’s what I’m going to call you.

  10. Tricia Rose says:

    Yoga makes a huge difference to my life – sometimes I lapse, sometimes I skimp but I always come back to that deep sense of relief and familiarity when I settle into a good class and start the work all over again. Somehow my body never forgets.

  11. Kathy S says:

    Awesome Sarah…so happy you are enjoying the yoga , I also love it !! So great you have found a style/teacher that is a good fit for you, there are so many styles of yoga/teachers. I believe you can get a physical workout anywhere ,but relaxing the mind and nurturing your inner spirit is the beauty of yoga.
    Enjoy :) Always enjoy your blog ,thank you

  12. Mumbai says:

    Agree, the best I have ever done for my body and mind…and still doing since 7 yrs. Lucky to get a very good teacher which is the most important to start Yoga and keep you going. Now I do my asanas only at home so I can follow my
    own pace. After 1 hrs I feel calm and relaxed. Enjoy it and don’t give up.

  13. Smaggle says:

    i enjoy yoga but it needs to be pretty hardcore otherwise I don’t really feel anything. I used to dance pretty seriously in high school so it takes a bit to really shake my muscles. I do Barre Body classes which I love. A mix of yoga, ballet and pilates. Awesome.

  14. love your yoga mat! I’ve been getting back into pilates and feel the same. I don’t feel much fitter but I love feeling stronger.

  15. Beth says:

    Hi Sarah,
    It took me a while but like you I now love my yoga class. It wasn’t instant changes for me rather a realisation after a few months that things were different. Now when someone new joins the class I can see how much I’ve progressed – not in a competitive way, just in relation to where I was when I started. Finding the right teacher was key to me. Good ones are gold.

  16. I’ve been able to commit to two classes a week since moving and just can’t get enough. My son was sitting on the couch the other day and tried to make my under arms wobble. He struggled ;) Go the yoga.

  17. alison says:

    So happy to hear yoga is working its magic on you Sarah. Not sure what yoga I did many years ago but it didn’t quite float my boat even though I tried.

    Pilates works for me on so many levels.


  18. Lisa says:

    Ohhhhh Sarah …… So glad you found your way to yoga :)
    I am certain you have begun a lifetime journey! I have been practicing for over 25 years and it is my saving grace. I even decided at one point in my life to become a certified teacher just for the self journey it takes you on. That was the greatest experience in my life. While life has it’s ups and downs daily, one thing for certain I know …. My practice is always here for me.
    It certainly sounds like this time around you in good hands.

  19. Sarah says:

    Yes, yoga is fab. I did Hatha for a long time quite a few years ago and it changed me – I was thinner and way more calm. I have been looking into taking Hatha classes again – I also have done a lot of yoga with my Denise Austin DVD’s and love them. I just bought ‘Yogalosophy’ by Jennifer Aniston’s yoga teacher Mandy Ingber. Best of luck with it and keep us posted! Have a great rest of the weekend in Australia! ;-)