If I told you that yoga is all about breath, perhaps you might react the same way that the man servicing my Rayburn did last winter. He laughed and thought me most peculiar since he was clearly breathing in that very moment without any help from yoga techniques.
Most of us are lucky enough to live from one day to the next without even thinking about the mechanics of breath. Yoga is not just breathing for breathing’s sake, it is about tuning consciously into the rhythm of the breath as we sit or move. I smiled when he later asked without irony “Can you hear the Rayburn breathing?”
What normally springs to mind when you think about a yoga class? A room full of people wearing brightly coloured lycra clothing? Or perhaps you think only flexible people who can touch their toes or stand on their head with seemingly no effort take part?
Yoga can seem inaccessible on so many levels. Our idea of how flexible we are and what we look like can often stop us from trying something new. After all, a friend of mine once remarked that ‘normal’ people do not do yoga so sharp was the image of people sitting around in loose clothing chanting strangely or meditating for hours on end!
Would you change your mind if I told you yoga is so many different things to different people that there is a style out there for you? Lycra or loose clothing optional!
Yoga encourages us to tune into our body. Have you ever noticed that when you do something you love, your body responds better?
Take a moment to think about how you feel after a walk along the coastal path, whether alone or with your 2 or 4 legged friends. You do not return home having counted your steps, when the focus has been on sea and sky merging at the horizon or the change in landscape and terrain underfoot.
Perhaps your sanctuary is your garden where you are transported into a different state, your hands working with the soil, listening to the birdsong. We find a rhythm, become more aware of our breathing and enjoy just being in our body in that moment.
By doing something you love, you are consciously tuned into your body and the benefits are reaped at every energy level. Not just physically, but mentally and emotionally too. That is yoga and you have not even rolled out a mat!
Of course, a good stretch after the walks or the gardening keep us healthy so we can continue to do the things that put a spring in our step and a smile on our face.
Sarah teaches yoga at the HealthHub on a Wednesday, (Hatha Yoga) and a Friday (Yin Yoga). Stay tuned for next week’s blog where Sarah demystifies more about the different types of yoga! In the meantime, you can read more about Sarah and her lovely classes here at the Hub by clicking here.