I believe that yoga has incomparable life skills to teach everyone of us, simply effectively and without fuss……life skills that if embodied as children offer a resource for life’s inevitable obstacles and a realistic and powerful stress management tool for the ever increasing demands modern society presents to us as adults. It’s never to late and you’re never to old to embrace the ancient Eastern ideas yoga offers in almost every Western region.
I do not believe in yoga Practice for children so as to fix anything, so as to eliminate learning by mistakes or to eliminate the broad growth that is our adolescent years and beyond. I believe in yoga practice as a vehicle to traverse that learning, illuminating that journey with great depth, curiosity and hunger to grow. Creating a foundation of self worth, self acceptance and mind body knowledge that later acts as handrail to cling to when the turbulence really kicks in. A perspective, a faith, a resource, a source, a self belief. not rose tinted glasses not glasses even google can invent but a perspective that (to use another’s words) lead you to ‘a journey of the self, through the self, to the self’.
I am not talking about yoga simply as Asana practice either it’s important to me that you know that yoga is so much more that. Yoga is a myriad of principles and ideas that can be as accessible or as complex as we desire them to be.
There truly is a yoga style and practice to suit each and every one of us. We may like a style but not the particular teaching style of the teacher for example. Explore styles and teachers like you would a good GP, dentist or therapist. Choose a teacher that can convey what you want to learn and what you can apply to your life. You just know the right teacher for you, they are authentic sufficiently direct or appropriately fluffy. They encourage and challenge you in equal measure. They teach without teaching more just by doing and sharing and living true.
To name but a few differing yoga styles there is – Hatha, Vinyasa Flow, Ashtanga, Kundalini, Scaravelli, Pregnancy, post pregnancy, Mother & baby, Womb Yoga, Kids yoga, Power yoga, Hot yoga, Bikram yoga, Iyenga yoga, Anusara, Baptiste, Pranayama, Yogalates, Rocket, Forest, Restorative, Yoga Nidra,……shall I go on……and if really and truly you can’t find a yoga for you, how about Pilates, Tai chi or Qi gong?
All and any of the flavours mentioned above will through regular practice endow to you the opportunity to;
• Learn how to breathe into your diaphragm and belly using the whole of your lungs.
• To teach you how to stop, notice and deepen your breathing when your heart and thoughts start racing.
• How to sit with some moderate discomfort and just allow it to pass without trying to fix it or change it.
• To learn how to notice what your feeling in your body and become more accustomed to its language – grumbles, niggles and celebrations.
• To notice mild complaints before they become major ones.
• To accept our body and it’s limitations without judgment.
• To look to challenge those limitations with growth and adventure.
• To recognise the miraculous machine that our bodies are.
• To do simple movements that release tension from our hips, necks and shoulders.
• To stand and walk with a natural and beneficial alignment for the spine.
• To moderately increase our heart rate for cardiovascular benefit
• To learn how to drop our shoulders away from our ears, lift our gaze and lift our chest bone – shifting our mood state, (our physiology has a direct correlation to our thoughts and feelings).
• To commit and take time to do something for ourselves even if were not accustomed to it and don’t prioritise it.
• To make more positive and productive choices and forgive ourselves when we make rubbish ones.
• To allow all our feelings to come up without suppressing them and judging them as positive, negative good or bad.
• To sit and observe the quiet chatter of our minds.
• To sit and observe the loud noise of our minds with compassion and observation. Because we have learnt to be with and experience the quiet and the noise of our minds to then act and speak from a place that is calm, considered and focused.
• To accept we won’t always be calm considered and focused and that that’s ok!
• To be grateful.
• To wobble and carry on.
• To fall and get up.
• That comparison really is the thief of joy.
• That exercise can be fun and gentle and isn’t hard or gruelling.
• That each of us is unique and perfect in our imperfection.
• That our worth is not derived of whether we are good or bad or have behaved acceptably or succeeded sufficiently but simply that we have incontestable self worth in the miracle that is being born human and a part of this world and earth.
• To embrace our feminine, masculine natures and our creativity.
• To accept our limitations and graciously the limitations of others.
• To be playful,
• To be in the moment noticing when were not present and then getting back to the the moment where the magic really happens.
The questions I leave you with are……if you don’t think yoga is for you, do you not need the above skills, do you already have them mastered or do you believe deep down you don’t need or deserve to master them?
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