You might say I’ve got an addictive personality. Mum could always eat two chocolates from the selection box, I’d have to eat as many as my stomach would allow. My friends socially sipped on one glass of wine; not me, glug hiccup.
Nowadays I’ve managed to interchange these unhealthy tendencies for, shall we say, happy, self serving addictions. Yoga is my new fix.
Yoga dropped into my life quite by accident during a meditation class back in 2011. Lying palms-up and splayed feet in final relaxation pose (savasana) I knew something quite special had come into my world. I knew too I had to have more of it-and often.
My mind felt cleansed and soothed, my body stretched, listened to, aligned and loved-on. My soul said ‘Yesssss!’ Four years of a pretty dedicated yoga practice later and it still takes me many moments to come out of that serene, warm bubble created from an hour of breath-led yoga.
Like many spiritual seekers, you’ll always find my bedside table stocked with acclaimed spiritual books. I’ll talk-and talk- about spirituality for as long as I can with any willing ear. But yoga for me isn’t about probing and poking around spirituality with a theoretical stick, it’s a spiritual experience that allows me to pool together my often scattered and stressed body, mind and soul and fuse them back together again. It is delicious union. This quality, methinks, makes it so inviting to do everyday. As picturequotes.com surmises ‘Yoga is my favorite way to pretend to work out.’
Yoga is meditation in motion because breath-prana- is the staple component. No pose ever should compromise your breath. Once you have the rhythm of your breath to ride in sync with the yoga poses, the mind is transported out of Then time and into the tranquility of Now. ‘Yoga takes you into the present moment, the only place where life exists.’ (unknown) Thoughts loosen their grip as your mind oozes into relaxation, the body opens into submission and-under these inviting conditions-our spirits come out to play.
I just melt into the eloquence spoken by Shannon Kidwell, one of my current yoga teachers and owner of Sweetwater Yoga and Fitness where I love to practice.
“Yoga provides a space of 3 dimensional, functional physicality, not overloading any specific areas of the body, cultivating a united locomotion, a clear and focused mind, and deeper energies and spiritual connection to one’s highest self. It has provided a space for me to let go our western concepts of herky jerky, gripping practices to achieve a cookie cutter physic of a lean, tight, hard body. My intention has shifted to authenticity, self care and overall wellness. I spent so much time trying to get my body to look a certain way, and once I arrived, to my surprise, it wasn’t enough. Yoga allows us to find the space to flow rather than force, to be functional rather than fit, and most importantly, to be rather than do.” Shannon Kidwell*
Like Shannon, for me yoga totally transcends the boundaries of exercise. What you cultivate, learn and experience on the mat then can be translated into your life off the mat. This might be to trust yourself, to recognize your own brand of magnificent capabilities and strength. Yoga may bring you to the realization that when life throws you tough challenges you can cope with them in the same way you do tough poses; never compromising yourself to overcome that challenge, to remain dedicated to the breath and allowing that calm foundation to dictate the solution.
Yoga has taught me that I can do things that I never thought I could. It has shown me the power and beauty and the blissful quiet of being present. It has taught me that I don’t need substances put into my body to generate a euphoric ‘high.’ I’ve got all that good stuff inside, naturally.
What will it teach you? Or, what has it taught you (share your thoughts below).
Whether you’re a yogi or someone who has no idea what that even means, gift yourself with a few moments today to look at the resource section below. Who knows, yoga just might be the happy place you’ve been looking for.
*Shannon Kidwell: Shannon’s enthusiasm for wellness comes from a life long struggle with weight and genetics. Weighing her heaviest at 200 pounds in 1995, she has been working hard to maintain her healthy and fit lifestyle, hoping to encourage others to do the same. Shannon Kidwell, Co-Owner/Director Master Pilates Instructor and Educator, Yoga Instructor, Certified Personal Trainer, Lifestyle Coach, Nutrition Counselor, and Author, is excited to share her enthusiasm and experience with the Sweetwater/Wekiva Springs community.
If you’re in central Florida you can enjoy one of Shannon’s beautiful yoga classes at http://sweetwateryogaandfitness.com/
Shannon’s other interests include Fit Piglet LLC (Creator/Owner), Fit Piglet’s Freshitarian Kitchen (Owner/Personal Chef), Fit Piglet’s Camp Nama Stay (Owner/Director/Event Host), Fusion Fitness Lake Mary (Pilates Apparatus Specialist/Personal Trainer).
‘Yoga Is: A Transformational Journey’ movie is a great watch, maybe to dip your toes in before you try your first class?! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qJC6YnheTwY
‘Titans of Yoga’ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oe2FkEYucok .
Here’s that incredibly inspiring You Tube video again movingly showing just what yoga can do, even if you have disabilities https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qX9FSZJu448
Read all about it at ‘Yoga Journal’ online http://www.yogajournal.com/
How cool is this?! Free online yoga classes http://www.doyogawithme.com/ (however, I highly recommend a yoga class alongside for the full fizzy benefits of yoga- and the fellowship.