A few months ago after a couple of running injuries I started doing yoga classes. Prior to this I’d always thought that yoga was a waste of exercise time, that if you were going to the gym you ought to be doing cardio to make the most out of it and to get fitter.
I couldn’t have been more wrong. I hadn’t even considered that my mind needed a bit of tlc as much as my body. Here’s what I’ve learned….
Here’s a little bit of honesty for you. I have a ‘few’ love hate issues with body image.
Yes, I’m slim. So what, that means I must be confident? Nope. I’m a socially confident person. Ask me to speak in a room full of people….pass me the mic.
Ask me to go to a spa day with my friends, hell no thank you! I’d rather eat my cats toenails. No, really. The thought of getting my bikini on in front of people makes me want to vomit in my mouth.
I’m not fishing for compliments, I just think I’m normal, most females have a hang up or two about themselves, that’s cool.
I’m just making a point really, just because someone is slim, doesn’t mean they’re happy with the way they look. Don’t automatically assume that there’s a size cutoff here. Size 10, yay, you must be thrilled. Why? Does that mean I don’t have post 2kids boobs, slightly looser skin around my stomach and general stretch marks? Size doesn’t matter…..repeat. Also don’t assume that if you’re larger that you can’t do yoga. Size doesn’t matter…..repeat.
So why am I telling you this? Because it’s what I do about it that makes the difference. I haven’t always enjoyed exercise but now I’ve grown to love it and what it can do for my mind and body. I get a sense of achievement from pushing myself, making myself do something for me, even if I don’t feel like it, i’ve never regretted going to the gym or getting out for a little run.
Here’s Five Things I’ve Learned Since Starting Yoga:
- You CAN take an hour out of your day without there being a disaster. In the (probably 12) hours I’ve done yoga in total, no one has died yet or even messaged me during a yoga class. You’re allowed to switch off for an hour.
- You don’t need to be fit or flexible. Size doesn’t matter! ..Repeat. In my yoga classes there are such a range of body types and humans. Some are super bendy and some aren’t. Some are like me and are gradually improving and getting better at trying a new move even if it looks impossible.
- Your mind and body are connected. You hold tensions in areas of the body depending on your feelings. It’s totally possible to release negative feelings or energy during just one yoga practice.
- If you suffer from anxiety or stress you’ll notice a difference, that the strong focus on breathing and noticing shallow breathing or how you breathe naturally will help you outside the yoga mat. I’ve found it’s given me techniques to focus and notice how my body is responding to any given situation and deal with it before it becomes overwhelming.
- You could inspire others. Doing something for yourself IS inspiring, there’s nothing to be ashamed about, you should be shouting it from the rooftops, it’s ok to take time out, it’s ok to learn something new that’s purely for you. You never know who’s watching, your friends, your family, your partner, who you could be inspiring by practising self care. What about your children? My children have absolutely adored Cosmic Kids Yoga, check it out here if you’ve not heard of it. You might be surprised.
- It could make you a better parent. I know I said five but this one is so important. I think I’m a nicer person because I give myself a break. Maybe I deal with any worries while I’m at yoga, sometimes there’s something i’ve been stressing about that i don’t even realise has been on my mind, this could have been making me snappy or distant. Having a calmer mind, makes me a calmer Mum.
I hope you’re now thinking about doing something for you, even just thinking about it is a step forward right? Maybe you don’t have a gym membership, maybe you can’t get out for a class (though, if you can i would highly recommend it, the act of leaving the house do go and so something for yourself is so powerful.) I don’t own a yoga mat and my space is totally limited but there’s still space to sit and breathe at the very least.
If you are thinking about starting at home, theres a 30 day yoga practice which has just started on YouTube, it’s called True and you can sign up for daily emails too. Have a look on Adriene’s website for more info here. Maybe you could start with day one here:
If you have been following anyone else on YouTube, do comment and let others know! This is just the one I’ve followed from the start.