(Note, none of these photos are me, they’re from Pexels, partially because my yoga is a no-phone-zone, but also because I do not look that graceful when I do yoga!)
It’s no secret that I love yoga, and in 2020, I’ve promised myself that I’m going to get on my mat more often. It’s not always easy to carve out that time for myself, especially between being a mum, working part-time, running a business and general life, but I always find I feel so much better after a class, so this year, I’m making yoga a priority, and I think you should too.
It’s good for your body
I think when you watch someone do yoga, it seems so gentle and chilled, but when you’re in the postures yourself, you can really feel those muscles working! Yoga can make you more flexible, stronger and more toned as well as working on your posture – something that you can benefit from all day. Yoga is one of the only workouts that I can really feel the difference each time I’m on the mat. Because it’s all about how your body feels, not how much it can lift, or how fast it can run, you can feel the difference yourself in how your body is in the positions and that’s pretty amazing.
…Even if you have a chronic illness
As someone with CFS and Fibro, I know exercise can be good for me, but at the same time, I really suffer from exercise-induced fatigue and general body-not-working syndrome. This means that there are a lot of physical things that my body just simply cannot do, or which make me feel quite useless. Yoga is amazing because I know I can take it at my own pace and only do what’s available to my body – sometimes that means I spend a lot of a class chilling in Child’s Pose, but I don’t feel judged.
There’s no room for competitiveness
A yoga studio is not the place for ego or competitiveness, which is so refreshing. If someone manages to find Crow’s Pose for the first time, there’s a collective cheer and excitement, rather than everyone else trying to outdo them. Although I love a bit of friendly competition in a lot of aspects of my life (no one will play Monopoly with me anymore…), my yoga practise isn’t one of them.
It’s great for your mental health
I know, I know, it’s a total cliche that anyone who is depressed or anxious is told to do yoga, and I’m certainly not here to tell you it will “fix” you, but I know that taking an hour out of the day to move my body and relax my mind does wonders for my mental health (alongside my prescribed medication and therapy, of course). There is something about yoga which can be really empowering and a great way to clear your mind and honour your body.
You don’t have to be good at it
This is something I bloody love about yoga. I have really rubbish balance and very tight hamstrings. I wobble like anything in the Warrior postures and I can’t do a forward fold. But I don’t care. As someone who puts a lot of pressure on herself, this is a fun novelty to me. I’m not usually one for enjoying stuff that I’m not good at, but with yoga, I like seeing my progress, week on week. I also know that it’s not linear so one week you might be able to get into a posture and the next week, it might not be available. Bodies are weird like that. My point is, no one cares if you’re good or not. Everyone is so focused inwards on themselves that you barely even notice how anyone else is doing. I love that.
I enjoy the spiritual side
I’ve always been a little bit woo, and over the past few months, I’ve really started to embrace that. I’ve been to yoga classes in gyms before, where it’s the same person teaching you yoga as leads spinning, and it just doesn’t have the same vibe as someone who is a dedicated yogi. I want the whole experience. I want the names I’ll never remember. I want the asana breathing. I want to be told about my chakras, why some people cry doing a hip-opening sequence, taken on a guided meditation at the end. I want crystals, candles and twinkly music.
Yoga is the perfect workout for my messy mind and always-exhausted body. I love that you don’t necessarily need any equipment and you can even do it on the beach at sunrise if that’s the kinda rock ’n’ roll life you live. I tend to go to my favourite studio Khya in Southport, where I’ve been practising on-and-off (pregnancy and uni-related) for around 6 years, where I am always made to feel super welcome and supported, but also feel as though I’m living some super cool, LA yoga studio dream. If you’re local, I’d deffo recommend checking it out, and for those of you who sadly don’t live close enough, give yoga a try in 2020 and let me know how you get on!