1. Yoga gets you more in touch with your own body.
2. Brilliant bodyweight exercises, great for strengthening, with lots of balance work.
3. Uses all of your body - from toes to scalp. Even uses the important pelvic floor muscles, which are often ignored.
4. A balance between activity and stillness, even in the most vigorous practices.
5. Focus on breath - something our culture sadly lacks. Breath is a great tool for managing emotional and mental states.
6. Lots of different styles, so you can choose one that's right for you.
7. The word most frequently used to close classes: Namaste, meaning "I honor the divine in you."
8. Yoga is noncompetitive. Whatever your body and practice look like, is okay. Physical limitations are accepted as a fact of life.
9. Consciousness within the yoga community about what practices help with what problems. Tight shoulders? Migraines? Anxiety? We've got a pose for that, if we don't have three.
10. The many places and ways to do yoga make it more accessible. Choices range from looking up a pose on the Internet or getting a video from the library to joining a yoga studio. Although lots of fancy yoga equipment is available, almost none of it is necessary.
Okay, kids, confession time. I have actually done yoga six times in the past week.
It started innocently enough. On Thursday, I was feeling very stressed out, so I decided to do both the Gentle Yoga class and the Restorative Yoga class that evening. Then, Sunday morning, I went to the gym for a strength training class, and yoga was happening in the very same room right afterward. Coincidence? I didn't think so. I stayed for that. But later in the day - okay, fine, a few hours later - I felt like it hadn't been enough, so I went back to the gym and did a restorative session on my own.
Yesterday I attended the adorable Helene's Hatha Flow class. ("So this pose is just like skiing, and those of you that do not ski are now in agony. Just a few more breaths.") The focus was on the hips - she focuses on a different part of the body for every class - and I had to modify for a lot of the poses that involved lunges. Afterward I said, "I tried to keep my variations on the theme," and she said, "I know! You did great!" So yay for that.
This morning I attended a brand-new Restorative Yoga session, which is not being taught by the Elemental Yoga folks like the other section. This is with a teacher who does Amsara (sp?) yoga. It was kind of in between the regular Restorative class and the stretching class, except that the teacher didn't bug me the way that stretching teacher did.
I'm so happy that I've gotten back into yoga. I'm also so glad that my gym has so many activity choices that I can do a lot of different things in my membership. I used to use the cardio machines all the time; I haven't used one in months.
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