Today I want to share with you one of the most important changes that I have made in my life over the last few months, which is practicing yoga regularly. For me, regularly means Monday to Friday whenever possible. Weekends are harder for me seeing as I work on Saturdays and Sundays is declared Family Day in our household.
I started doing Bikram’s Hot yoga after buying a series of three Groupons for different studios around the city about 18 months ago. I’m bad for getting excited, buying a Groupon and then waiting until the day it expires to actually get around to redeeming it, but I did and WOW am I ever happy about that decision!!! I got to try out three different studios for 30 days, and each had it’s own vibe!
I feel like I need to be clear here that I am on the fence as to whether I’m fan of Bikram Choudhury himself, especially in light of what he’s been up to lately, but that’s not what this blog is about. This blog is about Hatha Yoga, which happens in this case to be done in a series of 26 poses in 90 minute smokin hot classes that change only a tiny bit here and there depending on the instructor. (The gentle ones hold things for a reasonable time, whereas the masochists make you hold it “on the edge” until you are praying for mercy!). Or really any kind of yoga that appeals to you and helps you gain a better balance in your life.
Yoga is an ancient practice designed to help detoxify the body, relieve stress, improve balance, physical health and mental clarity just to name a few benefits. I find the time to myself, although I really had to get used to allowing myself that time, really helps me maintain the balance in my life. I have more patience with my kids, I am more productive and more focused when I am working, and I feel that I am more open and creative as well.
Currently I’m using a four month pass, of which I have about three months left. I am thinking once this one is used up, I may experiment with different options, Kundalini is really appealing to me for it’s added spiritual benefits, so I may try that next. I have an extensive exercise background, hours at the gym on free weights and machines, and also having tried various boot camps, circuit training, running (well, more like jogging in my case I guess), TRX (which I still love) Insanity, and Crossfit. I have to say, although you can get an incredible workout with any of those, but nothing compares to the peace that I feel during and after a yoga class. I can’t say before as often I am fighting traffic on my way there, not feeling so zen!!
My absolute favourite posture is, of course, the one that originally scared me the most in the beginning; Camel pose. I despised it for the first few classes, feeling that I would pass out if I went back that far. Then one day an instructor gave me his advice about how to slowly come into the posture, looking back and breathing. Then come out of the posture just as I had come into it, and bring my head up last. This information has proven invaluable to me, as once I was able to finally complete the posture properly I couldn’t believe how fantastic it made me feel. There is something very spiritual about being that open, having your heart fully exposed. It is now the posture I look forward to the most, as I anticipate that pure connection. I’m always a combination of exhilarated from the posture itself and a little sad that it’s over and I have to wait til the next class to do it again.
Interested in seeing the postures? Check them out:
I highly recommend everyone to give it a try, incorporate some yoga into your everyday life and see where it takes you!