Beach Cottage Yoga A Beginner’s Journey
Thu 1st, May, 2014
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.
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?
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.