It was New Year’s Day when I decided that I should finally sign up to yoga classes, after years of hearing how good they would be for me.
Maybe it was my attempt at a New Year’s resolution, or maybe it was just because I was sick of my sore shoulders, my achy low back and my general inflexibility.
I grew up feeling that my body was useless, that exercise was for other people, that people like me just didn’t do things like yoga. I had tried to fall in love with exercise – I had a go at running, spinning, cycling, badminton, even whip-cracking – but had come to the conclusion that I just wouldn’t ever love physical activity. Then I found Forrest Yoga.
Here are some of the reasons that I love yoga:
1. The phrase so often used by Forrest teachers: What part of this can you do? I loved that I could be an absolute beginner in a class full of experienced practitioners, but because of the options and assists given by the teacher, I could still take part in every pose, and every part of the class.
2. Yoga is non-competitive. I spent enough time feeling self-conscious in mirrored gyms to know that I couldn’t feel comfortable in that setting. I learned very quickly that no one else in a yoga class has the time or energy to be checking out what I’m doing. Although you’re in a group, your practice is entirely personal.
3. It makes me feel amazing. I vividly remember my first savasana. I couldn’t believe how relaxed and happy my body and mind felt. No matter how challenging the class or how sweaty the workout, I know that by the end of the practice I will feel relaxed, joyful and satisfied.
4. It deeply connects me to my body and my emotions. About a year into my practice I began to realise that there were parts of my body that had little or no sensation in them. I also began to realise that this habit of numbing out extended to my emotional as well as my physical life. My foundation teacher training in 2016 and my continued practice are helping me to reconnect to my numb spots, acknowledging them and using my increasing experience of yoga and movement to bring them back to life.
5. It has forever changed my mindset. I have become stronger than I ever imagined, and the idea that my body is useless now seems ridiculous. It has enabled me to face personal challenges and to make positive changes to my life and my way of thinking. I can’t wait to see what my yoga practice brings next!