Tag Archives: benefits

Yoga gives me

People’s most common response to me when I tell them I am teaching yoga now is that they are not flexible. I have noticed that a lot of people believe they are not suited to yoga.

Yoga takes you exactly as you are.

  • I don’t need to be flexible to do yoga. But if I practice yoga my mind and body is more flexible.
  • I don’t need to be strong, but if I practice yoga I feel physically and mentally strong and I slowly gain strength.
  • I don’t need to be good at meditating, but if I practice yoga I learn to slip into the pure clean and clear place where I feel my breath floating up and down my spine and I am truly present and I have arrived in my body.
  • Often I think I don’t have time to go to yoga on Tuesday morning to do a yin yoga practice where the poses are held for many minutes. I go anyway and I slow down and enter a deep state of relaxation and I carry that with me through the rest of the week.

I am naturally flexible, so I have focused on strengthening my muscles and mind in my practice. Sometimes I have held so much tension in my body that everywhere feels tight and bound up and yoga has helped to lengthen, twist and release the tension in my muscles. I have often felt anxious and flustered and unable to meditate and I have learnt to stay with my breathing when the urge is to scratch or fidget or fall out of the posture.

I have come to understand that when I go to a yoga class I can expect to find people just like me who are flustered, stressed, anxious, worried, distracted and caught up or smiling too much when deep down they are feeling sad or anger is bubbling just below the surface. And I expect to see these people experiencing what it is to be human there next week.

A close friend of mine works in a stressful workplace where mistakes have great consequences. And the conflict that arises is often not about the actual technical issues at hand, but rather the tone of voice with which someone has spoken to someone or someone feels that their thoughts are not valued or someone is making light of another’s concerns. It always comes down to how the people feel they are being treated. And the energy of the workplace becomes so heavy with the conflict and there is not time and space to process and resolve what has happened because the important caring work must continue.

My friend asked me how to get out of a funk on a day like this in the workplace.

I answered that I understood her dilemma because I had had a similar experience on my birthday. My family was at my house for my birthday dinner. Everyone was helping to prepare the meal and I was being particularly bossy. I felt compelled to tell people what they were doing wrong. I could feel that my energy was off but was too tied up in getting everyone fed to slow down and feel what I was feeling. I knew I was hurtling along and hurting my loved ones in the process but I felt powerless to stop it. In the moment I was so wound up I didn’t have the capacity to breathe and slow down and feel.

When I met one of the Okido yoga teachers from Family Yoga in Japan, Mr Iishi, on a recent visit of his to Brisbane one of my friends asked Mr Iishi how one can change their energy when you know it is off or low. And Mr Iishi had a couple of great suggestions. First, he suggested that if it was an immediate situation like you had to work straight away, one way to switch things up would be to change your breathing. He suggested going somewhere quiet like a cupboard and doing some lion breaths. This is where on your exhale breath you poke out your tongue and stretch your face make a silent roar or growl like a lion. A few lion breaths and you are on your way.

The second suggestion for a longer funk that is hanging around is to go on a holiday. Or maybe just go shopping. How funny that even yoga teachers believe there is a t time and a place for retail therapy!!

I first came to yoga because of how it felt in my body. I explore more deeply because I know it helps with how I feel in my body and heart/mind.

A dedication

Almost three years ago was  a turning point for me.

At the time, I was pretty much an empty cup. I had three beautiful children and a hardworking husband.

I was a breastfeeding counsellor to help other Mums as they became Mums.

I was grateful for all the blessings in my life but I can see now how depleted I was.

My youngest child was twelve months old and I finally felt I had some time for myself and I think deep down, I knew I had to do something. So I did what my friends  suggested. I joined the local gym. It was a nice gym. I joined and started doing the yoga and Body Balance classes. I thought the exercise would be good. It was. It is.

But it is so much more than the exercise.

Moving my body to music in a group of people is what I am meant to do! I love it.

The nice surrounds, the air con, the break from being a parent are all wonderful

BUT

the reason why I loved it so much is because I love to move my body to music with other people. It lights me up.

My yoga teacher at that gym, Lainie Jenkins was there every Saturday morning and this woman vibrates at a very positive level! Just the level that I needed.

Lainie now has a yoga studio far from my house but I still drive to practise with her.

These are the things I get from practising yoga with my teacher:

  • a deep sense that I can get past the awkward moments in my life
  • regular reminders to pause, recognise my thoughts and take another breath (even when I think I can’t)
  • determination
  • reminders to practise gratitude
  • courage to try things that seem hard
  • remembering to put one foot in front of the other.

About a year ago Lainie asked me if I could work on her website. I wrote some blog posts for Lainie’s site and even though I had no experience working on WordPress websites I also helped her to edit her site. I wanted to help and also see if I could do it. And it got me back onto the computer, challenging myself. I even made a youtube video when we all went on retreat together. This gave me a great boost of confidence.

My yoga practice has helped me to ask for what I need in my relationship. It has helped me to give away all my baby clothes that I was hording in the shed. This cleared the space in my life for me to start my own business Studio China.

And now I am moving on again to more unchartered waters to teach family yoga in my local community. I love this.

I want to say a big Thank You to my yoga teacher, Lainie.

This flower is for you!

love

Sally

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