Wednesday, 9 December 2015

Yoga is for life — not just for January!

According to published surveys of the British population, each New Year’s Eve, nineteen percent of Brits (that’s at least 9.5 million people and rising) vow to do more exercise and improve their fitness levels in the coming year. Added to that, about 6 million people decide they will take up a new hobby or learn a new skill. So, that’s why, come January, yoga studios up and down the country are swamped with newcomers! (And you are all most welcome!)

I do notice there is bit of a peak in numbers of new students at my classes in January, and then again in September (back to school mentality?), though often I can tell if a new student will accept the challenge and stay for a few classes, or run back to the sofa! (Or stay in bed an hour longer if it’s an early morning class!)

It would be ideal if having braved the first class or two, new students could keep up the habit and let yoga grow on them, or let their body grow to appreciate the benefits of classes — welcoming the extra space in the body and mind! Then at the end of 2016, they might be looking back amazed at the differences in their posture, breathing, health and general outlook as they have taken their lessons on board gradually over the months!

It can take a while to feel and observe the changes yoga makes, and it can take trying out a few classes and styles to find something you are truly comfortable with. I wasn’t at all enamoured with my first class. Lured there by the promise of drinks and supper afterwards, I found it a bit boring and the teacher a bit sharp. (To be fair, I did start with an intermediate group to be with my friend rather than the beginners!) That was about 25 years ago…. I stayed with that teacher and class for about three years, and then moved venues and teachers a couple of times before discovering Ashtanga. Since then I have experimented with styles, studios and teachers and there are some I adore and others which don’t gel as well for me. But I have learned that it is my practice, and my attitude to the class that will make it a good experience… or otherwise.

And if you are a seasoned yogi, don't allow yourself to be put out by the busier studios and increase in beginners at your regular class (you were new once!) just make space for them and if you have a momentary lapse in concentration on your practice, look up and you'll bound to notice a newbie or two copying your moves and aspiring to perfect their postures inspired by you!

Happy experimenting and discovering in 2016!

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