Why I changed my mind about Yoga...
Updated: Jan 14, 2019
If you’d have told me two years ago that I would be writing an article about yoga I would have been ready to bet you a lot of money that you were wrong. And yet here I am. The thing is, I love sport, nearly all sports in fact, but I’ve always been into competitive sports and quite physical ones at that (tennis, rugby, etc.) so quite naturally I assumed that Yoga, being what I call a “soft sport”, definitely wasn’t for me.
However something changed that. Last summer I’d just come back from six months backpacking around South America, I was really struggling to slip back into the reality of living a “normal” life again. My sister came over to my parent’s house in the South of France for a week and she suggested I try using a routine to familiarize myself with the rules and regulations that are linked to integrating society again. I think her main concern was that I took a shower everyday but she also suggested Yoga in the mornings! I told her that I wasn’t flexible enough to do yoga and that I didn’t like exercise where you don’t sweat at the end. She brushed both comments off, telling me just to give it a try. That entire week she dragged both my Mum and I every morning into the living room for a 20 minute yoga session. I absolutely hated the first few days. I felt like an idiot bent over with my hands barely past me knees whilst my sister, next to me, had her hands flat out on the floor. I found the positions frustrating, I was never sure if I was doing it right and in all honesty I didn’t like the feeling of not being good at something. My sister explained that yoga wasn’t about being good or bad, it was just about being the best of yourself, giving your all and being content that that’s enough. I didn’t understand what she meant initially but by day 4 I was definitely looking over to her mat less frequently as I was focusing more on my own progress, however small. I guess sport for me has always been about winning or losing, or if competing against yourself then going faster, higher, further. However after 7 days I was beginning to see that there might just be some truth behind all the good things I’d heard about yoga. For one I felt more focused when heading to the next task in my day. I also felt less judgmental and less on edge, fairly useful as I was staying with my parents at this point!
A couple of weeks later I went off to join two of my best friends on holiday in Corsica. On a whim I decided to take my yoga mat with me, just in case! The place we were staying was in the unspoilt hills of the southern tip of Corsica, a beautiful place with gorgeous sunrises so before I knew it I was up every morning between 6 and 6.30 perched on top of a rock following my sisters simple yoga routine. After 3 weeks of doing it religiously every morning I felt on top of the world, quite literally! I don’t think I’d every felt that toned, focused or enjoyed so much living in the moment.
Yoga has helped me to connect with my body, to better understand how my body is feeling about certain injuries, tweaks or tiredness. I definitely listen to my body more now and I am more aware of it’s limits and how I can stretch them.
Yoga has also taught me how to focus my mind a lot better too. Simply holding a position and thinking about about nothing but your breathing is a very basic yet very effective form of meditation. Indeed, a short session in the morning helps me start the day in style by connecting my body, mind and soul as one.
If you’re interested in giving it a go I would suggest checking out Maris Aylward on YouTube, she has some really great videos ranging from 10 minutes to over an hour and she accommodates for all levels: beginners and experts alike.
This short video is one of my favourites to start the day!