I run, that is something that has gradually come upon me. It fits many aspects of my personality; and helped me develop willpower. I have, however, been practicing Yoga for years. I haven’t been to a class (I think we have discussed my independant streak before) but I have a wide array of DVDs. From Denise Austin (yes, old school–I told you I have been doing this awhile) to Sara Ivanhoe, I have tried many. And my husband has been pressed into watching me to see if I have the form right.
I mentioned that in 2013 I decided to take the holiday season off from exercise. I never took such a long period off before, I believe I was thinking that with work and family and holidays, it would just be nice. However, it wasn’t long before I found myself face down on my yoga mat. I didn’t mind not doing “hard” exercise (read: aerobic), but I missed twisting myself into a pretzel. Why?
I think because it brings me serenity. There are a various theories of thought on why Yoga is such a calming exercise. Some Yogis are, frankly, a bit out of my comfort zone:
There is no gate. If there is no gate, how can we pass through it? Right here, look at where you stand. What is it?*
I don’t understand that. And I really don’t want to. Is that bad?
Other sports, like running, encourage your mind drifting as you exercise. Sometimes that is wonderful: I chew on my problems while I run and often come back with a solution. Or at least an endorphin high that makes the problem not seem so bad.
But with Yoga, I let it all go. Trying to get my shoulders and hips in a straight line and my heels on the floor for downward dog does not lend itself to musing on problems. Putting yourself in twisting and strengthening poses, thinking about where to put your hands and eyes, makes it difficult to think about about how sucky your day was or why did your boss/friend/spouse DO that?? If you don’t focus on the movement, you might just end up on the floor.
One of my DVDs, taught by Alan Finger, talks a lot about Chakras, and getting them in line and which poses release which Chakra. Even that is a bit far out for me. I believe it is the slowing of my mind, its connection with my body stretching and releasing tension that helps me radiate peace after a good session. And I do. A good session is not necessarily one where I mastered all my poses, but one where I released all my stress and focused on the move: living for that moment only. That is what Yoga does for me.
And, for that, I will love it always
If, perchance, you are inspired to try Yoga and would like to do so in your own home so no one can see you looking like a deformed pretzel, I recommend trying Sara Ivanhoe. Her DVDs are put out by Crunch and easily found on Amazon. Sara is down to earth, has a lovely voice (soothing is what you want when practicing yoga), and supportive about what people can do the first time they try a pose. If all you really want is some relaxing, try her Candlite Yoga. If you want something a bit more challenging, she has plenty to choose from.