Yoga is the biggest growing health, sport, and wellbeing activity in Australia according to Australian Market Research company Roy Morgan. It is a fact that there are currently more than 4 million Australians, who practice yoga at least once per week. Multiple yoga groups are now running in virtually any gym, sport studios and other health and wellbeing centres. Saying that you might want to know if Yoga is for everyone? How to practice its techniques if you are overweight, or not so young, or not flexible? What if you had an injury and cannot do any sports? Are you missing out?
Originating in India more than 2500 years ago, Yoga is recognised as an ancient system of philosophies, principles, and practices. In our Western Society Yoga is used as “a means of maintaining health and wellbeing in an increasingly stressful society. Carefully selected yoga poses help in removing physical discomfort accumulated during a day at the office sitting in the chair, hunched over a desk. Relaxation techniques help to maximize the effectiveness of ever-diminishing time off. In an age of mobile phones, internet and twenty-four-hour shopping- yogic practices make great personal and even business sense.” – Swami Satyananda Saraswati “Asana Pranayama Mudra Bandha” 2013
A long time ago, I had a bad fall and sustained a back injury that left me with limited flexibility. I had no choice but to learn how to live with it – I wanted my flexibility back, at least some of it!
In the mid-90s a lot of my friends started doing yoga. Yoga was a buzz word- it was IT back then! Everybody talked about it. I though I’ll give it a go so I went to yoga studio. I was instructed to start with Sun Salutation flow – straight legs and heals attached to the ground while I was bending forward to reach my toes with my hands …I couldn’t do it … I could only reach my knees and looked like “a question mark”. It was not possible for me and by the end of the class I was so exhausted and out of breath – I was hyperventilating. I left the studio humiliated, frustrated, and discouraged to come back. I had many tries with the same result, and I gave up. My body and my mind felt totally disconnected.
I still wanted my flexibility back so I researched , I learnt , I studied – I took matters into my own hands!
These days I feel great! My flexibility is nearly back to the level it should be! I’m off painkillers for good! I feel empowered that I am able to share my knowledge with my clients, that I am able to assist them with their posture , limberness and pain managements concerns just to mention a few.
The other day I received a call and the voice on the other side asked: would you teach yoga to an elderly woman, who has never done any sport? – Yes. – But I am not flexible… And I said: when it comes to yoga you DON’T HAVE to be flexible. I offered her one free class session to try. So, she came. Lovely lady in her mid-60s. As she started her free lesson trial, I quickly noticed that she is not extremely comfortable with some poses on the yoga mat and offered her to try and do them on the chair. She managed to do that with a smile on her face! Since that day, her exercise routine divided between yoga mat and chair which makes her yoga experience enjoyable and discomfort free! She is my regular client now and one day she came a few minutes earlier and while preparing for a class she suddenly started to tell me how yoga changed her life and how she’s no longer struggles to get up from the bed in the morning because she doesn’t feel any pain in her back anymore , how she likes our relaxation after the session and how she is now doing it herself, and how she went shopping and escalator was not working and she managed to go up the stairs and was not puffed. I felt so happy and proud of her. Really happy, and really proud for her AND for myself.
Yoga is the perfect opportunity to be curious about who you are!
Six principles of good yoga are :
1. We are all different.
2. Yoga poses need to be adapted to the individual, not the individual to yoga poses.
3. Each yoga pose has its own purpose and to aim for the purpose is much more important than to aim for “correct” pose.
4. We all have our own limitations, and it is dangerous to ignore them.
5. If it is hurts – it is wrong.
6. Tensing and stretching are opposite actions. We cannot stretch while tensing.
And the MOST Important thing is once you are “friends with yoga” then the time will come when yoga will happen beyond the mat or chair: anything you will do with attention to how you feel is doing yoga!