My Yoga Experience

I’ve had a few conversations with friends recently about yoga. I don’t know whether it’s because it’s the new year, the dark days or just our age! 

We’ve been talking about the benefits, how to fit it into our lives, how to get started with it and then making it a habit, and I think most importantly, how it can make us feel. 

Before I gave it a try, it felt like something difficult and alien. It was like nothing I’d tried before, as my exercise had always come in the form of walking, sport as a kid, or the gym. Yoga was daunting. 

We’ve all seen it, people stood on their heads, manoeuvring their bodies into seemingly impossible positions, contorting themselves in the name of exercise. It’s a bit off-putting!

But I was always curious, so when a friend asked me to go to a session with her, that was the push I needed. 

I went along to a class once a week with her, a few years ago. It was a reason to catch up with my friend each week and I enjoyed the class. But with one thing and another, it eventually fell be the wayside and I slowly drifted away from it. Until last year.

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I found myself gravitating back to yoga last summer as I was looking for ways to support my body and mind and make them stronger during and after my breast cancer treatment. 

I read up on the many benefits of yoga, from building full body strength to reducing stress and improving sleep, and I saw it as something that I could easily fit into my life. 

I started slowly and carefully, post-op, and it was a great way to keep my body moving and flexible. As my strength grew, I found myself being able to do more and more and the habit formed and stuck. 

I practice yoga several times a week now, all at home. 

The majority of the time I follow along with one of Yoga with Adriene’s videos on YouTube.  I find her easy to understand and I like the way that she runs her sessions. She has so many videos to choose from, there’s plenty for me to try and there’s always one to suit my mood. 

I also have a great stack of yoga cards that I had for Christmas. They show many moves along with a QR code to scan to be taken to a short demo of how to carry out the pose. They are a fun way to practice as they can make it more like a game and they prompt you to create your own practice. They can take you from beginner’s poses all through to more advanced poses. 

I’m at a stage with it now where I miss it if I don’t practice for a couple of days. I do what I can to fit it into my days, it’s a priority for me. 

It’s great to feel myself growing stronger from it. It’s a tricky one to measure progress, as you would with other forms of exercise. With other things I might have looked to speed up, go further, score more points etc. With this, it slowly becomes apparent that with consistent practice, you get better at the poses. 

I’m finding that things I couldn’t do a few months ago now come more easily to me, my core is strengthening and my balance has hugely improved in just a few months. 

I am more aware of my body when it’s tense, more aware of stretching it out when it needs it and of course along with the physical aspects of yoga there is a sense of mindfulness and relaxation. 

I need to do this regularly, I feel better for it and I know my joints are going to be thanking me for it over the longer term.

For me, going along to a weekly class wasn’t the right fit. It did the job of getting me interested, but not enough to keep me going. Practicing in my own home, when I have the time, works perfectly.

The sessions I choose are also shorter than a weekly class, so instead of an hour once a week, I’m doing twenty minutes four or five times a week. Twenty minutes is manageable, even on the busiest of days, so it doesn’t slip. I think this builds the habit more consistently and I suspect that as time goes on, I’ll practice for longer. 

Give Adriene a try if you’re tempted and need a starting point, just take it gently. I have this mat which I find to be comfortable, non slip and long enough for me, these are the yoga cards I’m using and you might want to grab yourself some blocks but you can use other props if you feel you need them.

If you want to give it a try, I would highly recommend it. And don’t be put off if there are things you can’t do, with time you might just find that you can. Yoga is definitely a marathon not a sprint.

Is yoga something you enjoy?

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5 thoughts on “My Yoga Experience”

  1. I go to the gym 5 days a week and have wanted to try Yoga and was looking for classes that fit my schedule. The videos might be what I need. I will look into it since I can’t seem to find a class that will work with my schedule. Thank you!

  2. Thanks for this interesting insight Jocelyn. Can you tell me if the yoga cards have illustrations of men or women or both on them? I am thinking of getting some for a male.

    1. I’ve just had a look through and they’re all women. I’m quite sure the yoga poses are universal and non gender specific, so I’m not sure why they’ve illustrated them like that. You’d think they’d mix it up a bit!

      1. I definitely saw some men models on the cards on the Amazon link to the product, so that’s why I was wondering. Thanks for checking yours too!

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