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Why I practise yoga

Why I practise yoga

I went to my first yoga class about 15 years ago, find out more about my yoga journey and what keeps me coming back.

I’m sure you’ve all read about the benefits of yoga:

  • improves strength, balance & flexibility,
  • helps manage stress,
  • improves sleep,
  • increases energy, focus & vitality.

But I think this still undersells all that yoga has to offer. Yoga is about turning inward and connecting to your innermost self, “yoga” meaning to unite, connecting the mind, body and breath.

For me, I love the profound sense of calm after savasana. Even if my mind has been endlessly wandering during those moments of stillness, simply slowing down and “being” instead of “doing” ripples out into the rest of my day. A yoga practice is not just making shapes on the mat, it can be pranayama (breath work), meditation, and living in accordance with yoga philosophy. These practices all contribute to being more aware and in-tune with ourselves.

Taking a moment to pause, I notice that as I write this, I am clenching my jaw.

Are you holding onto any tension that you can release right now?

Welcome to yoga

I went to my first yoga class with my friends when I was at uni. We sat at the back of the sports hall and I got the giggles. That awkward uncontrollable and contagious laughter when you’re trying to be quiet and your shoulders are silently shrugging…

But I went back - we had a great time in those classes! Some weeks there were only a few of us and we’d pair up with friends for partner poses. I definitely saw it as more of a stretch class. After years of dancing I was fairly flexible and enjoyed relaxing into the long holds and pushing myself.

While I was a student, I carried on with occasional classes with friends at the gym, moving my body and coming away feeling calm and grounded. When I got into running, I kept up with yoga to help with my tight and tired legs - a post-run yoga always helps to release my hips and hamstrings! I by no means had a regular practice at this point and it wasn’t until I was totally lost and overwhelmed during my PhD that my practice developed.

Everyday I walked past a yoga studio on my way to uni but always felt intimidated with it being a dedicated yoga studio and a hot one at that! I’m not great in the heat when sitting still, let alone when moving around! One day I finally signed up for a 30-day Intro Pass, I hoped it would help me unwind when I was finding it hard to switch off.

Going to the studio I quickly realised that these classes were quite different to the gym classes I’d been to previously and a lot of the people seemed to know each other. In one class we sat in a circle and talked about our understanding of yoga for a while which I was totally unprepared for! It was a completely new experience and I was immediately inspired by the teachers, the paths that they had chosen and the community they had built. A few of the teachers had left academia for yoga and that gave me a lot of comfort and hope.

Around that time I also discovered Yoga with Adriene and began a regular home practice. Adriene is probably the reason I kept returning to yoga, I love her relaxed and gentle style of teaching and that I could hop on my mat in my pjs for a 5 minute practice, but that time could turn my day around.

With my experience at the studio and Yoga with Adriene, my perspective of yoga shifted from being a workout to a new world to explore with so much that I’d not heard of before. My passion for yoga grew and it was then that I knew I had to share this beautiful practice with others someday too.

Fast forward to the end of 2021 and I took the leap and started my Yoga Teacher Training. I’d been considering a few options for a while but wasn’t able to make it fit with taking time off work so I finally committed to an online training course. It took just over a year to complete and I started teaching morning zoom yoga a few months later.

I’ve always loved learning and I feel like I’ve only just scratched the surface 15 years after my first yoga class. I’m looking forward to delving deeper in to yoga and philosophy and excited to share what I learn. It’s important to me that I continue with a consistent self-practice to keep working on the connection with myself, for my mental health and so that I can show up for others. After years of mostly practicing yoga following videos at home, I found brilliant teachers and classes in Liverpool, I discovered Ashtanga yoga and I can’t wait to see where my journey takes me next!

If you’re thinking of giving yoga a try but don’t know where to start, I am always happy to help. Yoga really is a personal journey and I’d love to guide you to a practice that works for you.

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